Big Freedia’s rap music is a part of the ether of modern New Orleans. So what better authentic travel guide to the city that so many tourists love to visit?
If the next time you are in New Orleans, you find yourself wondering who will make you dance during your visit, the local rapper Big Freedia has your answer. “I’m that queen that’ll make you bounce!” she crows on one of her best known songs. You can hear Big Freedia’s music playing in cars as they pass beneath the live oaks, or in French Quarter corner stores when you’re picking up a drink, or in darkened neighborhood bars between the band’s sets. Her version of bounce music, a New Orleans genre of hip-hop, is hypnotic, and her dance parties are some of the rowdiest party scenes in this rowdy party city.
The success of Big Freedia (birth name Freddie Ross Jr.) in the Deep South might seem surprising: She is a 40-year-old gay black man who dresses in regal wigs and dangly earrings and uses the pronoun “she.” For many people here, Freedia represents the new New Orleans, the real New Orleans, where what matters most is not what you look like, but how funky you get down when the music turns up. We asked her to share five favorite places in New Orleans.
“Morrow’s is a new spot in New Orleans, run by a young black entrepreneur who used to be a club promoter. His mom is the chef. It’s another place with authentic cuisine, with a menu really off the chain. My favorite is their crawfish pasta. It comes with fried fish on top and garlic bread — scrumptious!”
2. Neyow’s Creole Cafe
“Neyow’s has got real good soul food. It’s a black-owned business I support quite a bit. If people want to come to New Orleans and taste authentic New Orleans food, it is the place to go. It’s just really great food and reasonably priced. My favorite dish is the red beans and rice and fried chicken. Oh, the red beans are so creamy! And the cornbread is so buttery and fluffy! Oh, and they have some bomb chargrilled oysters, too!”