Born and raised in New Orleans, Stanton Moore embodies the soul of New Orleans. A Grammy Award-winning drummer, Moore is a founding member of the New Orleans-based funk band Galactic. And it was with those bandmates that Moore purchased the legendary Uptown music club Tipitina’s in late 2018, further cementing his indelible legacy as part of the city’s rich musical tapestry. Moore resides in the Lower Garden District with his wife Lauren, and when he's not performing, you can find him dining around town, supporting his fellow musicians, and relishing in the beauty and distinct culture of New Orleans. Read on for some of his favorite things to eat, drink, see, and do.
*editor’s note: this interview initially took place in August 2022 and has been edited for length and clarity.
Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Wow. I mean, right off the top of my head, I’d have to say Johnny Vidocovich. I mean, just because he’s such a character and such a street philosopher and has his toes in so many different worlds…he’s very interesting, never dull, and full of great stories.
What first brought you to New Orleans? You were born here, correct?
Born in Metairie, yes.
What is the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
In my opinion, right now, the Lower Garden District. That’s where I live now, and I just adore it for so many reasons. The walkability–if we go to Magazine Street, do we want to go left? Do we want to go right? Do we want food? Do we want beverages? Do we want music? And it’s all within walking distance. It’s a short drive downtown, it’s a short drive to Tip’s (Tipitina’s) or anywhere Uptown, but the Lower Garden District now has so many restaurants, shops, and bars.
It's a beautiful day in New Orleans – where are you going to spend it?
It’s a beautiful day in New Orleans… I might go sit outside of Parasol’s and have a firecracker shrimp po-boy, chili-cheese debris fries, and a Barq’s with a friend for lunch. And then go sit outside on the front patio of (Hotel) Saint Vincent and have beverages there for a while. By that point, it might be 5 o’clock, and we go to Pres Hall and hear Shannon Powell and then figure out where the night takes you from there.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
One that jumps out at me is one night we went to Commander’s Palace with my good friend Keith Carlock (the drummer from Steely Dan). I really wanted to show him a good night in New Orleans. So, we went to Commander’s and my good friend (former Commander’s Executive Chef) Tory McPhail presented a chef’s tasting and he just went all out. There were probably eight of us, so it was a big table, and Tory just went above and beyond. He came to the table at every course, and everything was just fresh and amazing. And the soft-shell crab that we had? He came out and was like, “Alright fellas, these soft-shell crabs were literally flapping seven minutes ago. Now they’re on your plate!
You’ve got a friend visiting and it’s their first trip to New Orleans – where are you taking them?
I would go have lunch at Turkey and the Wolf, go have some beverages at The Chloe, maybe go to dinner at Atchafalaya, then go to Preservation Hall, go to the Maple Leaf, and then we might go back downtown and see who’s playing at Snug Harbor, or d.b.a., or Blue Nile. And then from there, it would still be early, so we could go and see who’s playing at Tipitina’s.
What’s your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I could come up with many, but a classic is a Sazerac at The Sazerac Bar. I mean, especially if you’re hosting somebody and you wanna bring them somewhere that just oozes of vibe and history and instant stories, you know you could just tell stories for days about Huey Long and all of that. So that’s great. And it’s also got a soft spot in my heart because that’s where my wife and I went and had a drink on our first date.
Speaking of which – what’s your ideal New Orleans date night?
She tells everyone, “Stanton brought me to Pres Hall on our first date, and that was pretty epic.” So that seems to have worked for me–we’ve been married for over four years. So that was a pretty good first date night.
Where’s your favorite place to see live music in New Orleans?
Well, not to be biased, but… a little place called Tipitina’s.
But you know, we (music venue owners) are all friends, and we all support each other because it’s a venue industry. And if the live music industry isn’t healthy, then no one club is healthy. So, the other places that I love to see shows are The Maple Leaf, d.b.a., Blue Nile, Preservation Hall, Toulouse Theater, and Snug Harbor. They all take great pride in presenting an experience that’s very down-to-earth, very organic, and very genuine.
And Bayou Bar! The Bayou Bar has become very important in that it’s hosted by Peter Harris four nights a week, and he’ll have maybe Herlin Riley on one night, Jamison Ross playing drums on another night, David Torkanowsky or Nicholas Peyton on piano… He has some of the best musicians in town and it’s four nights a week and a great setting to hear music.
What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
That’s a tough one to say, but a unifying thread would be when Galactic plays Jazz Fest, they always make a point to put us in a slot, usually on the main stage before one of the major rock acts. And that’s a slot that we’ve always appreciated and we’re very grateful for, and it’s a slot that we look forward to. It’s usually something that for years afterward we’ll hear people say, “Oh, I was at that show!” We’ve played right before Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, The Who, Lenny Kravitz, No Doubt… it’s just always super high energy and a fun, big crowd–and maybe we win over some new fans, too.
Describe New Orleans in one word.
…Can I elaborate? What’s great about New Orleans is that everyone will have a different answer to these questions. But if you pick a perfect day in New Orleans, and you ask maybe Jelly (Anjelika Joseph)–our singer with Galactic–she’s gonna have a bunch of different answers. But if I went along with all her answers, I would have the time of my life. And if she came along with me on all my answers, she’d have the time of her life. Just about anybody who lives here or comes to visit could design that perfect day in New Orleans, and they’d pretty much all be different, and they’d all be amazing. So that’s what’s so wonderful about New Orleans–there are so many different things to experience and live–from high-brow to low-brow and everything in between–and they’re all unique and fun and interesting and wonderful.
When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
Not to sound patronizing, but almost every time I walk out of my door. I mean, literally, we sit on our porch and I’m just like “Oh my god, I live in the greatest place in the world.” No matter where you are in New Orleans, if you look close enough, you’ll find beauty. And it’s hard not to fall in love with that. So, I fall in love with New Orleans every time I walk outside my door.