This crooner and actor shares all the ways to let the good times roll in his swinging hometown.
Hey, Harry Jr.! We're going to have Harry Jr. come up and play a tune with us!" These words play endlessly in Harry Connick Jr.'s memory. For the young New Orleans musical prodigy, the words were a siren's call from the bandstand of the Maison Bourbon, a French Quarter club where Connick's parents took him from age 5 to 14 to listen to - and eventually play with - the greats. "I would go up and play a couple of numbers and then sit back down," he remembers. "It was the greatest feeling in the world." Educated on the city's bandstands, Connick would eventually introduce a new generation to the glories of jazz. The son of two lawyers who also owned a record store - his late mother was a judge; his father served as district attorney - Connick was sitting at a piano by age 3, performing professionally at 6, and recording at 10. At 19, he released his first major-label album. Two years later, in 1989, he contributed to the soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally, a hit comedy starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Connick was proclaimed "the new Frank Sinatra." When he decided to try acting, Connick became a movie star almost overnight, debuting at 22 in the film Memphis Belle, then starring opposite Jodie Foster in Little Man Tate, Will Smith in Independence Day, and Sandra Bullock in Hope Floats. While swimming in a Hollywood hotel pool, he first spotted his future wife, former Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre, and dashed after her, soaking wet, to convince her to have dinner with him. Now, when Connick's not touring, he's filming (catch him in a remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic South Pacific on ABC this month and opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the dark romantic comedy Life Without Dick later this year). However, his veins are forever filled with the gumbo of his hometown, where he hopes to return someday to live with his wife and their two daughters. "The whole point of going to New Orleans is to realize that you sleep when you're dead," he instructs. "Eat as much as you possibly can, and then go out and eat some more. If you're going to visit for a week or a weekend, forget your diets, forget getting your beauty sleep, because it's not going to happen." Here's a weekend without restraint in Harry Connick Jr.'s New Orleans.