Red beans and rice, trad jazz, and second lines are the Big Easy’s calling cards, but beyond where the carriage rides take you is a city brimming with genre-defying music, transnational cuisine, and pockets of wild, artistic locals that challenge preconceived notions of what it means to be New Orleans.
With a respectful nod to the traditional and a full embrace of the obscure, New Orleans: The Underground Guide is a resource for discovering the city as it really is—as much brass bands and boas as it is bounce and bicycle tours. From a speakeasy in the Bywater neighborhood to the delightfully sketchy vibe of St. Roch Tavern, lead author Michael Patrick Welch uncovers an unexpected tableau of musicians, venues, and novel ways to pass the bon temps.
Contents include but are not limited to: where to get naked, how to make the most of Mardi Gras according to banjo player Geoff Douville, what to order from the delicious Slavic menu at Siberia, where to find the New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival, how to catch a performance by the New Movement comedy troupe, where to rent a kayak, and how to get in on the “bed and beverage” experience at the Royal Street Inn.
Michael Patrick Welch is the author of several books. His writing has appeared in New Orleans rags like Gambit Weekly and OffBeat, and his freelance work has appeared in Salon, Columbia Journalism Review, McSweeney’s, Oxford American, and Vice magazine. On the side, Welch teaches a music writing class for kids and is the leader of electro-rock-n-R&B band the White Beach.
Brian Boyles is creative director of The People Say Project and program director at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. His work has been featured in Oxford American, Vice, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, and other publications.
Zack Smith is an editorial and fine art portrait photographer. He is the drummer for Rotary Downs and an instructor of photography at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Oxford American, and Filter.
Jonathan Traviesa has been photographing New Orleans since 1997. His prints are collected privately around the United States and held in the collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Praise for Michael Patrick Welch
“I’ve been friends with Michael Patrick Welch for a number of years, and in New Orleans he seems to have really found his place. On my first visit from New York, before the flood, he took me on an epic bike ride tour of the city. We saw everything from grand mansions to beautiful bombed-out neighborhoods, and no matter where we went that day, Michael knew someone. Michael obviously loves New Orleans very much, and on my visits there, he has shown me so much that I never expected, and would have not seen otherwise.”—Jonathan Ames, creator of HBO’s Bored to Death and author of The Extra Man and The Double Life Is Twice as Good
“Michael Patrick Welch is a true community light.”—Chuck D, Public Enemy
“New Orleans has turned out another pathos-filled comic genius.”—Andrei Codrescu, author of The Blood Countess and Wakefield
“Your boyfriend is very, very talented.”—Ray Davies of The Kinks to Michael Patrick Welch’s girlfriend, Jazz Fest 2003
Praise for New Orleans: The Underground Guide
“In this wonderfully quirky music- and art-focused book, Welch concentrates on his New Orleans—the New Orleans that he and his friends know. There is plenty of information on many aspects of artsy New Orleans: Mardi Gras festivities, literary New Orleans, art galleries, burlesque clubs, theater, comedy clubs, thrift stores and costume shops, record stores as well as a discussion of the Mardi Gras Indians, profiles of local musicians, and even a chapter on family fun.”—Chicago Tribune