Reintroduce your family to a new New Orleans tradition.

The French Market has been a part of the New Orleans cityscape for 300 hundred years. It might seem like the standard tourist trap for out-of-towners, but a facelift in recent years make it the perfect opportunity for locals to reacquaint themselves.

Getting Fit

Thought you could only get fat off all the good food? Think again. The French Market District offers family-friendly exercise classes three days a week, all free. Move Ya Brass, presented by the Make Your Move Foundation, is a dance fitness class under the Mandeville Shed in Crescent Park every Tuesday from 5:45 pm-6:45 pm.

The Jazz Yoga class offers live jazz music for a unique yoga experience. It’s held Saturdays, 10:30-11:30 am, at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.

Also presented by the Make Your Move Foundation, Twerk Ya Brass is a funkier, more aerobic workout class. Its offered every Thursday, 5:45-6:45 pm at the Mandeville Wharf. All classes are first come first serve.

Music

In a music city like New Orleans it seems ludicrous for such a recognizable place as the French Market not to take its own plunge into the scene. For about 30 years, award winning children’s musician and author Johnette Downing has been entertaining French Market patrons. But did you know that the Market also offers a variety of other concerts?

Its Holiday Break Concert Series happens every December offering almost two weeks of live music from various bands and musicians. Other musical events include the free weekly indoor Piano Hour and the Winter Concert Series, which concluded last month.

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Gift Shopping

The French Market’s Flea Market might be the most touristy tourist trap around, other than Bourbon Street, but new vendors are added all the time. There’s always something new to discover, either locally-made wares or worldwide-sourced goods.

With six blocks of vendors offering everything from cheap sunglasses to alligator skin luggage and from Chinese puzzle boxes to vintage toys and furniture, the French Market’s Flea Market is the perfect place to let the kids run amok searching for unique, and cheap, christmas gifts for the grandparents or for teacher appreciation week.  

Fresh Food

Want to impress family or friends from out of town with a homemade dinner created with local fare? Start by taking them to one of the two farmers markets in the Farmers Market Pavilion to shop for local produce, then take them home to cook up a truly New Orleans-made meal.

The Artisan Saturday Market and the Wednesday Crescent City Farmers Market (weekly 1-5pm, October-June) is full of local food, art, and crafts, as well as daily farmers market vendors with fresh local foods.

Not only does French Market offer the farmers markets, but its French Market Fare stage has also presented cooking demos or other food presentations from local chefs and restaurants.

Bonus

Did you know: The French Market District encompasses six blocks from the Upper Pontalba on Jackson Square to the Flea Market on Barracks and N. Peters Street. Included in these blocks are: Washington Artillery Park (across from Jackson Square), all the riverside retail stores and restaurants on Decatur Street from Café du Monde to the Gazebo Café at 1016 Decatur Street.

Dutch Alley, LaTrobe Park, New Place de France, and the Farmers and Flea Markets make up the rest of the French Market District. It has recently adopted the Bienville Park at Conti and Decatur Streets and oversees the maintenance and upkeep of the park and its statue. It also operate three parking lots: along the river, off Esplanade, and off Elysian Fields.

 

Tim Meyer is the Managing Editor of Nola Family and Nola Boomers.

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