A few months after our Creole Tour we returned to New Orleans for a staff birthday party featuring (among other merriment), Confederacy of Cruisers’ Cocktails in New Orleans Tour. Our group of six was led by the inestimable Lara, who arrived a few moments late, pedaling fast, fresh from being released from jury duty. A relieved Jeff had been prepared to lead us and we ended up with the good fortune of having not one, but two, tour leaders. Lara also tends bar at the Marigny’s R Bar and knows her stuff.
This tour rides spends much of its time riding in the French Quarter and CofC suggests “This tour is recommended to advanced riders. Through much of this tour we will be sharing old, narrow city streets with motor vehicles and high volume pedestrian traffic, so an appropriate skill level is important to your ability to comfortably enjoy this tour.” Definitely good advice, but our group was mostly anything but advanced and we had no problems, other than perhaps a spilt cocktail or two.
The ride kicked off with a fresh, classic Daiquiri (non-frozen) supplied by CofC. Public drinking is, of course, completely legal in New Orleans. Our Daiquiris went into our bike mounted drink holders and we pedaled off for the Napoleon House for their famous Pimm’s Cup. We’d incidentally just visited the night before, but that didn’t deter our enjoyment and Lara and Jeff added historical tidbits.
We next pedaled through the Quarter to the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, located just at the edge of the CBD. Our cocktail choices at the Roosevelt was the Sazerac itself, or a Ramos Gin Fizz. Pro tip: Split your orders up and try them both. The Sazerac Bar itself is plush, elegant, and historic. You can only imagine the politics, intrigue, and tête-à-têtes here over the years.
The Erin Rose Bar on Conti was next. The Erin Rose is somewhat of a local’s bar, although only a half block from Bourbon Street. They’re only open 21 hours per day, so if you visit on your own, plan accordingly. Drinks of choice here were Bloody Marys (secret recipe), traditional hot Irish coffees, and their famous Frozen Irish Coffee. After our grueling ride (not) from the Roosevelt, our group mostly went with the Frozen Irish coffee.
The final bar stop was at Finnegan’s Easy for mostly beers, mostly Abita, and mostly to go. The group rode on with beers in hand/drink holder past the French Market and checked out the Mississippi River from atop the levee before returning to the shop:
Lara and Jeff certainly regaled us with more history and perhaps stories of how rum was once transported up the river to the city of New Orleans. This review is being written three years after our tour and details may be a bit fuzzy. But the memories are nothing but fun and a good time had by all. Highly recommended!
In 2012, we took Confederacy of Cruiser’s Creole Tour with a small group of eight riders. They ride on comfortable cruiser bikes (thus, Confederacy of Dunces becomes Confederacy of Cruisers). It was our first foray into the neighborhoods east of the CBD and French Quarter. Focusing on Faubourg Marigny and the Bywater areas, our tour was led by Jeff, one of the company’s founders. CofC’s T-shirts say “Not Even Close to Exercise” and this tour epitomized that. Starting in Washington Square Park, we rode a block or three between each stop and eventually rode as far east as Vaughn’s (featured in HBO’s Treme series). At each stop, Jeff told us about local restaurants and neighborhood haunts, New Orleans history and cultural development, Katrina and its aftermath, and the bits of local color from someone who knows and loves his town.
We visited a “Country Club” of a different sort, rode the biggest hill around (a good 20 foot climb) to the Mississippi levee, talked about the food at Elizabeth’s (go there for breakfast, don’t tell anyone else), and….talked…..about shotgun and double shotgun houses, the Great War Memorial, land barons, Creole history and food, quadroons and plaçage, A Street Car Named Desire, what the symbols painted on houses after Katrina meant, about gentrification, the HBO Treme series and what it meant to the neighborhoods.
We stopped for a beer at a neighborhood spot that I can no longer find on the map. Finally, it began to rain and we rode just a bit more quickly back to the shop. Jeff knocked a few bucks off our tours for the rain and made dinner suggestions, bar recommendations, and called a cab for the couple headed to the airport.
We’ve recommended Confederacy of Cruisers to many friends visiting New Orleans and HIGHLY recommend them to you.