Enjoy Thanksgiving in New Orleans, escape Uptown

Frenchmen+Street+in+the+Daylight%2C+a+rare+sight+for+Tulane+Students.+Marigny%2C+New+Orleans%2C+October+11%2C+2014

Frenchmen Street in the Daylight, a rare sight for Tulane Students. Marigny, New Orleans, October 11, 2014

David Preda, Online Arcade Editor

If you’re staying in New Orleans for Thanksgiving break, you probably won’t get the traditional holiday, but The Arcade is here to reassure you that New Orleans still offers plenty of fun while most of your friends are elsewhere.

There’s really not a better time of the year to finally venture off campus and explore New Orleans. Uptown, especially around Tulane, turns into a near ghost town as students leave. While Uptown still has plenty of great places, college hotspots such as Dat Dog, The Milk Bar and even The Boot lose their appeal without their typical Tulane crowd.

The mass exodus of Tulanians, however, opens up new areas of the city for students who hardly see it without a university presence. For example, Frenchmen Street, Halloween’s hotspot, is a completely different place in the light of day. Faubourg Marigny Art and Books, a quaint and charming shop on the street, offers a wide variety of reading materials, including an extensive selection of old and antique books, and The Orange Couch coffee shop provides the perfect environment for reading your new purchases. Some of New Orleans’ best architecture can be found in the Marigny around Frenchmen, and while the college bar scene becomes lackluster over break, some of the city’s best venues are located there.

If your parents are coming to town for the break, there’s ample reason to take advantage of New Orleans’ food culture on turkey day. Restaurants around the city offer multi-course Thanksgiving Day lunches and dinner. The Irish House, like most of the city’s restaurants, puts its own twist on the traditional Thanksgiving feast, allowing guests to pair the fall flavors of America — like the roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup — with Irish-inspired dishes ranging from braised beef and whiskey mashed potatoes to a dessert of brandy-soaked Irish brack, a rich and sweet raisin bread. Plenty of restaurants around the city offer Thanksgiving Day meals, but plan ahead because many of them require reservations.

For those on college budgets, however, New Orleans’ considerably nicer restaurants are a little high-priced, but Thanksgiving still stands as a reason to splurge. And why not spend your money on one of Popeyes’ famous deep-fried Cajun turkeys? While customers still have to cook the turkey themselves, Popeyes does the hard work, spicing it with Cajun seasoning, roasting it and flash frying it to crisp the skin and seal in the flavor. At around $40 for a 9- to 13-pound bird, it’s worth the money.

While not going home for Thanksgiving may sound like a drag, The Arcade promises it’s not. Spend a day in City Park or laugh at the tourists on Bourbon Street. We are not here to judge. Even if you don’t feel like leaving the house this Thanksgiving, the lack of school combined with the food-centric mindset of the holiday and the city forms the perfect excuse to stay in bed and eat all day with your Netflix binge of the moment.