I thought I'd share our recent experiences. For anyone looking for a casual place for a rehearsal dinner I'd highly recommend Rock and Bowl in Mid City. There was an open bar and the food was quite good. We had New Orleans fare- gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and a pasta I don't remember. For those not into that type of food there was pizza and a selection of fried finger foods. Some bowled and some danced to the live zydeco music. The perfect place to meet and visit with guests.
The wedding and reception were at City Park- the ceremony at the peristyle and the reception at Parkview Terrace. City Park Catering provided the food. We had a large selection of passed appetizers, open bar, and a cake by Haydels as the standard package. The apps were very good - mini muffalettas, shrimp, crabcakes, and stuffed artichokes were some of my favorites. The standard cake was not elaborate, but moist and tasty. We opted not to upgrade.
The catering staff was easy to work with once we realized that they really didn't want to get into details until a month before the wedding. They have their standard checklist and thought of
things that we didn't.
Hope this is useful for anyone looking for venues.