29 December 2011
Shrine on Airline
Just outside of New Orleans in the suburb of Metairie you will find what’s known as the "Shrine on Airline," Zephyr Field. Zephyr Field features 10,000 chair-backed seats with cup-holders, plus seating for nearly 1,000 on The Levee in center field. Most people when they think of New Orleans think of Mardi Gras, parties and good Cajun cooking. Well all of this and more can be found at and around Zephyr Field. The ballpark currently is the home of the New Orleans Zephyrs who are the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Zephyr Field is a great to place to catch a game, offering wonderful food, affordable prices, and plenty of entertainment for the baseball fan and his/her family.
Food & Beverage 4/5
The Zephyrs offer typical ballpark staples including hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, nachos, and popcorn. There are a few more interesting items like cheese enchiladas, tri-color supreme nachos as well as BBQ pork and beef, and pig nachos. The prices are all within minor league standards and you should definitely have no problems finding something to please the palate.
I found the atmosphere to be pretty average. Nothing blew me away, but the atmosphere wasn't any less than you would see at any other basic minor league venue. The fans were decent, but the crowd was definitely on the small side especially for a AAA team.
Even though Zephyr Field has a couple of neat extras that you won't find at most ballparks like 16 VIP luxury suites, a swimming pool, two hot tubs in right field, the Coors Light Party Shack located in the right field corner and the Metairie Bank Home Run Porch located behind the left field wall, I still found it to be lacking that extra spark. The team has done a great job to provide a great ballpark and atmosphere for the fans. I'm sure on some nights it's a pretty great atmosphere as it definitely has the recipe to be good, but the night I attended I found it to be nothing more than mediocre.
Since Zephyr Field is a good ten minutes from downtown New Orleans, I'll start by saying I won't include any of that as local stuff in the area to do. On the other hand I will recommend if you are attending Zephyr Field to definitely make the trip into New Orleans. It is one of the best cities in the United States with endless dining and entertainment options.
As far as in Metairie I would recommend a couple of places. One good place is Jaeger's Seafood & Beergarden located off Clearview Parkway. Jaeger's offers some of the area's freshest seafood and provides some enormous servings. Jaeger's seafood platter feast includes fried fish, oysters, shrimp, stuffed crab, fries, onion rings, jambalaya and garlic bread. If that's not enough to fill your belly then there is no help for you.
Another place I have grown to like in Metairie is New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company. It’s a Louisiana chain restaurant, but I have found it to be quite appetizing. Serving everything from burgers and po’boys to oysters and crawfish pasta, they definitely have plenty of options and you should have an easy time finding something to quench your appetite.
I have attended a Zephyrs game on more than one occasion, and I have yet to see a great turnout. The fans that do attend seem to be knowledgeable and love keeping score and having great baseball chit chat but there is just not enough fans, especially for a AAA ballpark and for as big as the New Orleans area is.
Access to the ballpark is about as easy as you can find. Parking will run you $3 so that’s never a plus for me, but it is cheaper than most AAA ballparks I have attended. The ballpark does recover in score with the huge concourses that it has, making for easy access around the ballpark. Bathrooms were plentiful and due to the less than average crowd I never saw a line. Overall easy access in and out of the ballpark and the Zephyrs also do a great job of making easy access around the park.
Return on Investment 3/5
Tickets range anywhere from $9-$12 for fixed seats or $6 to get a seat on the levee. Overall with decent ticket, parking and concession prices the Zephyrs are on point as an average minor league experience. If you are in or around New Orleans I would say to check out the Zephyrs schedule. It’s worth the investment.
A couple of extra points to distribute out - one going for the pool and hot tubs out in right field. With Louisiana hot summers being able to take a cool dip is always a plus. The last extra point goes to Boudreaux the Zephyr mascot. He’s very energized and keeps the kids very well entertained.
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