A New Orleans Bourbon Street Blow Out

How to spend a day on one of America's most storied party strips

By Kristopher Neild,

Bachelor(ette) parties, divorce parties, no-reason ragers and spontaneous trips to New Orleans often begin and end on Bourbon Street. Known throughout history for its air of debauchery, loose morals and pension for late nights, the strip is perfect for hosting evenings that you never want to end, or remember. 

You don't need to worry about getting a hotel right on the strip, but if you can afford to stay at the Royal Sonesta, it will make things a lot easier (you can literally step out of your hotel and be in the middle of the party). Lodging anywhere on Canal will put you in short walking distance of Bourbon at more reasonable prices. 

Photo courtesy of Pat O'Brien's

Early in the day, get the touristy thing out of the way and head over to Pat O'Brien's courtyard. If your party is large enough, it could be cost effective, if not exorbitant and flashy to order one of the 3-gallon hurricanes. Everyone will stare in awe as you and your posse work to take down this mammoth drink. 

Photo courtesy of The Swamp

Hurricanes are worth it, hand grenades and jesters, not so much. Walking up and down the street, numerous solicitors will be working to gain your attention and money. Most of their offerings aren't worth it..one is. Make sure to always hydrate from vendors selling "huge ass beers". You can walk around with these and most venues will let you take them inside. Beer prices inside bars can be pricey. 

For a little bump and grind, try checking out The Swamp and The Beach. These themed bars have excellent DJs, attractive crowds and some good open-air courtyards for when you need a breather. Be on the look-out for the mechanical killer whale at The Beach. 

Photo courtesy of The Beach on Bourbon

Feeling drunk enough and looking to make a statement. Sign your group up to do karaoke at Cats Meow. While you are waiting, head up to the balcony and participate in the throwing of the beads to revelers below. Have your camera/photographic memory ready, as you will undoubtedly see flesh. When it's time to do karaoke, send a text to your friends/family back home who couldn't make it, as your performance will be live-streamed on their website. 

At around this time of night, parts of your friend group are falling off; either from tiredness, alcohol related sickness or you've actually just lost them. Bourbon Street doesn't care about any of this, the party must go on. 


Depending on the type of party you're on, head over to Larry Flynt's Barely Legal club. Girls and guys alike will enjoy the myriad of performance types that go on here. They range from risque to flat out borderline illegal (illegal outside the limits of Bourbon Street that is).