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Dear Old Dad: Father’s Day, New Orleans Style

Celebrate pops with decadent food, live local music, a swamp tour adventure, and so much more.

Cafe Negril on Frenchmen Street. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

When you were born, you made your dad, well, a dad (whether for the first, second, third, or more time). Dads come in all shapes and sizes, from the history buff to the outdoor enthusiast to the avid sports fan, and everything in between. This year, show dear old dad you appreciate him by treating him to some dad-approved activities in New Orleans, and he just might forget the time you threw a tantrum during the big game (note: I never did this, however I did lock myself in my bedroom at the age of two causing a huge raucous with the fire department and dad needing to come home from work).

Father’s Day: Things to Do with Dad

Eat

They say the way to a man’s heart is his appetite, so let’s start with food. Bursting at the seams with restaurants, dining options for Father’s Day are essentially endless.

Steak fresh off the grill at Crescent City Steaks. (Photo: Christopher Garland.)

Steak is a favorite meal for many dads, and many local restaurants make a mean one. Crescent City Steaks on North Broad Street has more than 80 years of solid steak-making experience. Take dad a bit off the beaten path for a big piece of juicy goodness.

Doris Metropolitan, in the heart of the French Quarter, was voted best restaurant in 2013. Its extensive wine and liquors list and meat dishes are perfect for a fine dining meal with dad. Menu items include Mediterranean-inspired lamb chops and a short rib that has been cooked for 24 hours.

The shrimp po-boy from Crabby Jack’s overflows with Gulf seafood goodness. (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

The good, old sandwich — and not just any sandwich — the po-boy (or as my dad still calls it, the “poor boy”) is a simple meal that all dads can enjoy. Crabby Jack’s, on the fringe of New Orleans, was opened by Jacques Leonardi of Jacques-Imo’s fame. Try the cochon de lait (pulled pork) po-boy or the fried green tomato with shrimp remoulade po-boy. There are po-boy spots aplenty around the city, including Killer Po-Boys, Mahoney’s, Gene’s, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Parasol’s, and so many more.

Drink

Sometimes, all dads want to do is kick back and relax with a cold beverage or a glass of good liquor.

Barrel Proof in the Lower Garden District. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

For the dad who gets his entertainment from the athletically inclined segment of society, local sports bars are a fun and low-key place to spend time together. Cooter Brown’s Tavern & Oyster Bar (known as Cooter Brown’s for short) is a no-frills sports bar. With big screen TVs as far as the eye can see, plenty of seating, and tried-and-true bar food (buffalo wings, fried seafood platters), you and dad can while away a whole afternoon.

For post-dinner drinks, take him to Barrel Proof, a dimly lit whiskey bar in the Lower Garden District. The bar has a sort of rustic, Louisiana vibe with mounted animals on the walls, animal skin rugs, and lots of wooden elements. The drink menu features a wide selection of Kentucky-made whiskeys as well as other spirits, beer, and cocktails. Bonus: Courtyard Brewery is right across the street if you’d like to get some fresh air (and craft beer).

A beer flight on the balcony at NOLA Brewing. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Speaking of beer, take dad to NOLA Brewing Company’s Tap Room for locally brewed beers and patio-sitting (plus mouthwateringly delicious barbecue from the on-site McClure’s Barbecue). Sample some of the diverse beers currently on tap, like NOLA Peanut Butter Cup Stout and NOLA Spicy Mango Wheat before ordering a full glass of your favorite. New Orleans has plenty other great spots for beer, too: consult our guide to good beer here.

See

Dads like a little culture too, from museums to live music.

Snug Harbor, one of the iconic music venues on Frenchmen Street (Photo by Elizabeth Heideman)

One of the best characteristics of spending an evening on Frenchmen Street is the ability to club hop to experience a wide variety of musical talents in one night. Catch a full set by a local musician, and enjoy a full meal at Snug Harbor or Dat Dog before bouncing from d.b.a., to Maison, Café Negril, Spotted Cat, and Apple Barrel.

Do

Make more memories with dad by taking him to experience more of the local landscape.

A kayak swamp tour through Shell Bank Bayou. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Swamp tours are a fun chance to escape the city limits and immerse yourself in the beautiful South Louisiana natural environment. During the summer in particular, wildlife like alligators, wild pigs, and birds are more plentiful, which makes swamp tours like a game of “Where’s Waldo.” Cajun Encounters and Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tours are two local companies with knowledgeable guides who discuss the wildlife, the environment, and the history of the area. Dads with a soft spot for the environment will love the Lost Lands tour, a kayak tour through Shell Bank Bayou.

Sometimes dads like to go shopping, and New Orleans has several men’s clothing and accessory stores that suit that need. Take him to Aidan Gill, and buy him a new tie and some swag socks. Then, get him a nice beard trim or hair cut at the old-fashioned barbershop at the back of the store (services include a drink on the house). He’ll leave feeling like a new man.

Audubon Park hosts a Father’s Day Race on Sunday, June 19. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Get an early start on June 18with the Richard Newcomb Memorial Father’s Day Race at 8 a.m. for a scenic half-mile or two-mile trek through Audubon Park. Open to everyone — runners or walkers — this race lets you pair up for father/son teams, father/daughter teams, grandfather/grandchild teams, and more. Sign up on race day at 7 a.m. for $30 for adults and $15 for youth ages 20 and under. Keep on enjoying the outdoors after the race is over by renting a kayak from City Park, Kayak-iti-Yat, or Bayou Paddlesports. Rent single kayaks or attempt a two-man kayak to build teamwork. Views from the water of birds, trees, and the occasional jumping fish, as well as the breeze, make paddling on a summer day worthwhile. A long day in the sunshine will almost guarantee dad will be sleeping soundly when Father’s Day is said and done.

Happy Father’s Day, all you dads!

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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