Robert Indiana's "LOVE" found in City Park's Sculpture Garden

[Photo Credit Steve Harrington]

NOLA Dating: Broke but not Broken-Hearted

Whether you’re a new graduate, just laid off, new to the city or you’re just broke as hell, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a date and have a good time. Guys, don’t believe the old adage that all girls like guys with money. All it takes a little creativity and you could have a girl telling all her friends about “the most amazing date I’ve ever been on.” And ladies, if you find yourself on one of these dates, do not suddenly fake a stomach bug and bail. Because you’re about to find out about the fun you’re going to miss out on (you big meanie).

1. A Fly Date

If you are low on funds, relax. There are so many fun and special ways to enjoy a date night in NOLA. I have to admit my

Nothing like a day at the Fly
Photo Courtesy of Morgan Bachemin

favorite kind of date is a day date. If your someone special has a day off or the weekend weather is gorgeous, ask them to come with you for a date at the Fly. Named for the Butterfly research facility built in the 1960s, the Fly is located inside Uptown’s Audubon Park. It offers a long stretch of seating and picnic areas along the Mississippi River and has baseball fields, playgrounds, the Zoo and the Tree of Life. Bring a nice picnic of some homemade favorites with a big blanket, some wine or beer, bring the dogs, a Frisbee or soccer ball and just enjoy the day in the sun. There is usually food grilling, crawfish boiling and booze flowing. Most people in New Orleans will agree that there is nothing better than a day spent at the Fly.

2. A City Park Date

[New Orleans City Park Date 1944. Told you it's a classic

New Orleans City Park Date 1944. Told you it’s a classic
Going with my suggestion to take it outside, I had to mention City Park. Located in between Mid-City, The East, Lakeview and Metairie, City Park is one of the most underrated parts of New Orleans. Whenever I see posts and articles about places to visit in NOLA they never seem mention City Park. Well that’s fine, more park for us. But it is a great place to have a nice outdoor date. You could bring a blanket and picnic, or just take a wonderful walk throughout the park. Bring your dog to City bark or adventure through everything the park has to offer, like soccer fields, walking trails, lagoons, lakes and artwork throughout the area. If you want a more cultured date, stroll to the Museum of Art right at the entrance of the Park and wax poetic about the Impressionists. Feeling more romantic? Set up in the botanical garden and gaze into each other’s eyes like it’s a Rachel McAdams’ movie. Want to really surprise them? Sculpture Garden. Take them around and ask what they think of each piece, take funny pictures or just hang in the soft grass. Feeling childish? Go to Storyville or the Carousel Garden Amusement Park and let loose and get silly. Get some coffee and ice cream at the cafe and enjoy yourself. You can’t go wrong with a City Park Date.

3. A Live Music Date

In a town like NOLA there is no better place to get steady, great live music. If you are a little strapped for cash, going to see some live music could be just the ticket. Depending on the show, the tickets

[Any night can be date night in NOLA]

[Any night can be date night in NOLA]
or cover should be no more than $20 (If someone asks for more than that for a cover then you ask them if the band is Jesus’s personal choir because that’s the only way you should pay so much). Too much for you? No problem, there’s always a free show somewhere in the city (Free-Show Fridays at Tipitinas is a must). Once you’re inside, it just becomes a matter of buying drinks. Besides bringing your own booze into an establishment (BIG, HUGE NO-NO) just be sure to pace yourself. If you’re worried about dancing, don’t worry, a lot of people can’t dance either. You can just do the sway thing that a most people do. It’s about trying to have a good time, remember? Ask some friends to meet you out if you want to dispel some awkwardness. Unless it is a first date, because then you might be kind of a lame-ass.

[If there's a festival, there's a good time]

If there’s a festival, there’s a good time

4. A Festival Date

Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest, Voodoo Fest, Po-boy Fest, Irish-Italian Fest, Tennessee Williams Fest, and Faubourg Fest are just a few of the yearly festivals that NOLA holds. Each one has their own unique way of having a good time but all are fun. This is a great budget-friendly date because you can walk, try all the different vendors, listen to great music and eat amazing food. This type of atmosphere will make it hard for lulls to find their way into your conversations. There might be a cover-charge to enter the festivals (Jazz and Voodoo Fest especially) but if you purchase your tickets early enough, you can avoid that highway robbery. Get a souvenir shirt and enjoy the day. There aren’t other cities in the world where you can have entertainment like this all year round.

5. A Quarter Date

[You're never alone in Nola.]

You’re never alone in Nola.
The Quarter is known for being a pricey part of town but stick with me, it’s not my first rodeo. Take your date to dinner at some of the lower-cost restaurants like Mona Lisa on Royal Street or Angeli’s on Decatur (amazing food and stellar prices). Take a stroll though Armstrong Park or along the Riverfront. Avoid Bourbon at all costs if you want to get a second date. Take a nice walk around Jackson Square, get them a little something from the French Market, stop in somewhere on Frenchmen Street and listen to some music, and then finish off the date at Cafe du Monde for hot chocolates and beignets. It just doesn’t get more New Orleans than that and you won’t have spent more than $50 all day.

Those are just a few of my personal suggestions but I’m a professional and wouldn’t recommend something without trying it first. Except bungee jumping. I haven’t done it but that shit looks awesome. But let us here at Red Beans and Life know about fun, budget-friendly ideas you have or places you think we should visit in our Comments section!

About Morgan

Morgan was born in Georgia, raised in Louisiana, a Southern gal through and through. A graduate of the University of New Orleans, she loves her Saints, her city and inserting thinly veiled sarcasm throughout all her writing.

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