Antoine's, the oldest continuous gourmet restaurant in town, was founded in 1840 in the quaint French Quarter—where antique shops are bumper to bumper. Antoine's, Arnaud's, Galatoire's, Brennan's, Broussard's, Manale's, Masson's and Commander's Palace are the main restaurants, serving better food than is available in most other cities today.
New Orleans is not now as big a spectator-sports town—except for horse racing—as it once was. There is a midwinter Carnival of Sports during the week from Christmas to New Year's, culminating in the 32-year-old annual Sugar Bowl football game. During that week there are also tennis, basketball and track championships as well as yacht racing. One of the biggest local events is the $100,000 Greater New Orleans Open golf tournament each May.
New Orleans is avid to obtain a National Football League franchise. Both Governor John J. McKeithen and Mayor Victor Hugo Schiro are promising the NFL a $30-million domed stadium to house football.
Local pride is hurt when outsiders downgrade New Orleans athletic prowess, but local critics wish their fellow citizens were more generous in their patronage and less defensive. People spend so much time and money on fishing, hunting, sailing, bowling, golf and, above all, on the razzle-dazzle of Mardi Gras each Shrove Tuesday and the innumerable carnival balls and parades preceding and accompanying it that they have little energy or resources left for full support of spectator sports, according to some impartial natives. Some sportswriters and other enthusiasts feel that New Orleans has a legacy of losers—especially Tulane's football teams—and that poor quality makes for public lethargy.
In the past New Orleans was a big fight town, the scene of Corbett's defeat of John L. Sullivan in 1892 and other great events, but with the decline of prizefighting nationally it has become negligible locally. The local minor league baseball team, the Pelicans, once well supported, died when television and major-league expansion developed.
But there is general enthusiasm for their town among natives, who seldom migrate. Perhaps it is because of the money that is flowing in from petroleum, natural gas, chemicals, a missile site and the busy port, second only in volume of trade to New York's.
Despite busy construction of tall chromium-and-glass palaces of business and government, New Orleans respects its French, Spanish and Greek Revival architecture. It has much to offer tourists seeking a change from the drab, especially if they are interested not only in hoopla but in sports and recreation.