Bowled Over by Zydeco

We asked a local what to do in New Orleans and he immediately said, “If you like music, go to the Rock ‘n Bowl. It’s the most happening place on a Thursday night.” So we left the French Quarter and headed to S. Carrollton Avenue, where we spotted the bowling alley and a parking lot packed with cars.


You know this isn’t your typical bowling alley the minute you step inside. For one thing, we had to stand in line and pay a cover charge. We could already hear the raucous sounds of zydeco rattling through the place.

For those unfamiliar with zydeco, think jazz meets polka band, meets Louisiana Cajun. The music is zippy and toe-tapping, yet oddly hard to dance to. That didn’t stop the locals, though. The Rock ‘n Bowl obviously draws a regular crowd and the dance floor was packed with people of all ages dancing in pairs to the jiggy accordian-washboard-bass guitar-drum band.

We weaved our way through the dancers to get to the equally crowded full-service bar. Naturally, we ordered hurricanes since we were in New Orleans, and then put our names on the waiting list for a bowling lane.

Anthony Bourdain was taken here during one of the No Reservations episodes. He was a little hesitant about going to a bowling alley for a night out in N’awlins, too. But like me, Anthony soon discovered that this is the place for local flavor.

Music, drinking, Fried Bread Pudding Po’boys and bowling? Let’s put it this way: if you can’t entertain yourselves here, there’s no hope for you. This is a place to come and have fun. If you’re not feeling festive, stay home.

What do you think? Would you let this place bowl you over?


7 responses to “Bowled Over by Zydeco

  1. With a hurricane or two, what does it matter where you are? 🙂 I am trying to recall what it is like to drink a couple of hurricanes but I can’t remember. Just kidding. It sounds like a great place full of local flavor. –Curt

  2. Um, this sounds amazing and I would totally hang out here! I’ve watched every Bourdain episode at some point, but I don’t remember this joint. There are a lot of episodes and places, so things do run together.

    When we were in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago we went to one of his “Layover” spots—the Tonga Room in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel. Have you been? Tiki theme, live band floating on a pool, and an indoor “hurricane” with wicked tropical drinks right in the heart of the city. So fun!

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