Travel

City Guide: New Orleans

City Guide: New Orleans

Our city guide series continues today with New Orleans, a vibrant city known for its live jazz, colorful streets and authentic po’ boys. We enlisted cookbook writer Rémy Robert, who grew up in New Orleans, to share her insider tips for making the most of this exciting place…

City Guide: New Orleans

Rémy Robert: The best way I can explain New Orleans is that it’s like a long-lost family member — as soon as you arrive, you feel that kinship, like you speak the same language. I hear about people who come on vacation and never show up for their return flight. And I get it. As locals, we’ll welcome anyone into the fold.

City Guide: New Orleans

City Guide: New Orleans

Shaya

WHERE TO EAT

Po’ boys — sandwiches made on chewy, New Orleans-style French bread — are all over, but Parkway Bakery in Mid-City has my favorite. (It’s also the place Obama stopped by when visiting New Orleans.) Get the Surf n’ Turf, which has fried shrimp, tender roast beef ‘debris’ and gravy. It may sound strange, but it’s become a gold standard for po’ boys. Get sweet potato fries and take your order across the street to eat on the banks of the Bayou St. John.

Pagoda Café in the Seventh Ward always hits the spot for breakfast. Order your food inside the tiny house and pick your seat in the shaded outdoor area — it feels like you’re on vacation in a corner of the Caribbean. They make the best iced coffee around, and I always end up agonizing between the breakfast tacos and the kale and chickpea puff pastry turnovers. If you have a hearty appetite, take a slice of rum cake, with its super soft buttery center, for the road.

In a city known for po’ boys and red beans, it’s a little funny that Shaya, an Israeli restaurant in Touro, struck a chord from the moment it opened last year. You’ll want to bathe in the hummus and baba ganoush, and if veggies always tasted as good as theirs, we’d all go vegan. It’s refreshing, thoughtful, elegant and so easy to eat. Plan ahead for reservations, or walk in and cross your fingers for a seat at the bar or on the back patio.

Compère Lapin in the Central Business District is my go-to place for when I want to feel festive. It’s has a Caribbean flair and French roots that echo so much of this city’s cultural heritage. You could close your eyes and pick any one of their salads or seafood appetizers at random, like smoked tuna tartare with fried banana chips or heirloom tomatoes with buttermilk dressing. Don’t miss the curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi and the spinach cavatelli.

One thing that’s worth the lines: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. A married couple opened it in 1939 and got a patent for their ice shaving machine, which makes ice like freshly fallen snow. Their motto, “There are no shortcuts to quality,” holds true (as does their other tagline, “Air-conditioning for your belly”). Rather than commit to one, I double my options by getting two snowballs in the smallest size: Nectar Cream in one; Satsuma and Ginger in the other.

City Guide: New Orleans

WHERE TO HANG

Bayou St. John is my very favorite thing about New Orleans. It’s not a bayou like the one you might imagine, with murky lagoons and chomping alligators. It runs right through the middle of the city, almost like a canal, and is open to the public. You can rent kayaks and paddle boards, or just enjoy a beer on the banks.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and there’s no greater city for live music in any genre. Music has a way of just oozing everywhere here, and you’re likely to encounter impromptu brass bands (and their ensuing dance parties) on street corners. Even if you haven’t heard of the band, head to a good venue and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. WWOZ, our local radio station, has a detailed calendar with the events around town. My top picks include Bacchanal Wine (for backyard vibes), Gasa Gasa (an intimate venue with art and more unusual acts), Maple Leaf (Rebirth Brass Band plays every Tuesday) and Hi-Ho Lounge (DJ Soul Sister has a dance party every Saturday). Frenchmen Street has several blocks of venues too, like d.b.a. and Blue Nile, a tourist destination that locals still love.

City Park is huge — 50% larger than Central Park! — so it’s got something for everyone. The botanical gardens ($6), sculpture garden (free!) and meandering paths feel like a sanctuary from the city, with centuries-old oak trees whose branches are covered with moss and stretch to the ground. There’s an amusement park, putt-putt, horse stables, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the “Big Lake,” where you can rent bikes and paddle boats. My preferred way to enjoy it all: with beignets and café au lait from Morning Call‘s deep outdoor porch.

The Bywater neighborhood is one of New Orleans’ oldest and most colorful artist communities. There’s been a huge influx of newcomers since Hurricane Katrina, and plenty of new hip restaurants and bars have join the old favorites. Spend an afternoon just walking around. Crescent Park runs alongside the river from Bywater to the French Quarter, and it’s a gorgeous oasis. You can access it via the “Rusty Rainbow,” a giant footbridge on the corner of Piety and Chartres, that takes you over the old train tracks.

City Guide: New Orleans

Defend New Orleans

WHERE TO SHOP

If you can’t pick up and move here, the next best thing is to head to Defend New Orleans. They have awesome (not cheesy) NOLA-inspired prints, clothes and décor; and they carry great local brands and magazines. With locations in the Garden District and Warehouse District, it’s easy to work into your itinerary.

During New Orleans parades, the wig game is STRONG. Fifi Mahony’s in the French Quarter is a really fun place for them. If you can dream it, they’ve got it (or can custom-make it): all colors and styles, decked out with bits and bobs like unicorn horns, flowers and tiny hats. It’s the ideal spot for window-shopping or snagging something one-of-a-kind to make your next costume (and always remind you of NOLA).

If you’re looking for antiques, hit up Secondline Arts and Antiques in the French Quarter. Their sprawling market features over 150 local vendors; chat with them as you sift through their wares and wander around the fairy-lit courtyard. Then, walk a couple blocks over to Royal Street for a string of upscale antique shops that could double as museums — M.S. Rau has jewelry, fine art and furniture from around the world.

City Guide: New Orleans

City Guide: New Orleans

Hotel Catahoula

WHERE TO STAY

Rent a house in Mid-City, because it feels like a real neighborhood — with Bayou St. John, City Park and arguably more good dive bars and casual hangouts per capita than anywhere else. (Shoutout to Bayou Beer Garden, Bayou Wine Garden, Mid-City Yacht Club and Twelve Mile Limit!) It’s the spot to be for music festivals and you can hop on the Canal Street streetcar to go directly to the French Quarter.

If you want to be in the middle of the action, the French Quarter is where it’s at. Try the Roosevelt hotel, which is fabulous, especially during the holidays. While you’re there, you can hit the Sazerac Bar for drinks (the Sazerac is the oldest American cocktail) and Domenica for dinner. Or stay at Hotel Monteleone, which has the historic Carousel Bar that rotates very, very slowly.

The Warehouse District is a short walk from the French Quarter and a quick car ride almost anywhere else you’d want to go — but with just enough separation from the crowds. The Ace (their rooftop pool overlooks the city), Catahoula (with pretty rooms and a tiki bar on the terrace) and Old No. 77 (filled with local art) are boutique hotels with lots of charm.

City Guide: New Orleans

FINAL TIP

I like to compare Bourbon Street and its ghost tours to Times Square: perhaps worth seeing for the spectacle, but otherwise, not a great representation of this vibrant city. Take your time, don’t plan a crazy itinerary and bring comfy walking shoes. The magic of NOLA is the way it kind of lulls you — the best parts are often the things you stumble upon by happenstance, like the lush courtyards of the French Quarter or the band that spills onto the sidewalk. Let it happen!

Thank you so much for the tour, Rémy! Have you been to New Orleans (or do you live there)? What else would you add?

P.S. Where to eat, hang, shop and stay in Seattle, Minneapolis, Nashville, Los Angeles and Austin.

(Graphic design by Miss Moss. Tree photo by Rebecca Ann Photography. Balcony photo by Nicole Franzen. First Shaya photo via Esquire. Second Shaya photo by Graham Blackall for Bon Appétit. Street music scene and Hotel Catahoula photos via their website. Defend New Orleans photo from via Instagram. Streetcar photo by Christina Lau. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Oh, dear. I love NOLA so much! I’m from Louisiana and New Orleans is my most favorite place EVER. Still. One of my favorite places to eat is Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, just left of the far end of the French Market. And Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait, of course! <3

  2. Carlie says...

    I literally JUST came back from New Orleans for work, and it’s killing me that I didn’t see this guide beforehand! Frenchmen Street was a lot of fun, so much more than Bourbon St.

    The sculpture garden at the Museum of Art is amazing–and it’s free! No ticket to the museum required.

  3. This post is perfect timing for me! My immediate family lives in every corner of the states (and a sister in India), and with so much going on in our own lives it’s hard to see everyone. I decided last year to make plans for a casual family reunion–one with no set agenda because most of us are pretty independent and like to have things “our way.” So instead of, “come here, do these activities,” I’m hoping it can be, “Today we’re doing this, you’re welcome to come or we’ll catch you later for dinner.”

    Anyway, after going back and forth on an area everyone would be happy, NOLA has come as the top contender. I’ve been gathering advice from friends who have been and looking through Trip Advisor, but this post is a good one! One thing that I didn’t se mentioned on here that a friend suggested was to drive through Gulfport–nice beaches and pretty houses to peek at… We’ll be going with a baby, and half of my family has older children, so I am looking for more child-friendly places, but this post is a good starter. I’m excited to explore for ourselves soon!
    https://eemmllee.wordpress.com/

  4. My husband and I live in Canada, but we loooooooove New Orleans. That and New York are our two favourite places we’ve visited. NOLA is amazing.

  5. Janis says...

    My husband and I spent our 42nd anniversary in NOLA last August. Our whole trip was during a tropical storm and it poured rain every day! We didn’t let that ruin our trip. We donned our raincoats and boots and had the best time ever! One thing I wanted to add to the list of things to see there is the WWII Museum. We enjoyed it so much. (I’m a big history buff) We met a couple of veterans there, which brought me to tears since my Daddy was also a WWII Vet.

  6. My husband and I honeymooned in New Orleans in October 2014, and fell completely in love with the city. Neither of us had ever been to the American South before — I’m from VT, he’s from NJ, and we live in OH — so it felt extra exotic.

    Out of all of the things mentioned in this guide, I think Sazerac Bar, Carousel Bar and the sculpture park are the only things we saw — but we discovered so many incredible restaurants and streets and parks, too! Such a magical city, I daydream about returning all the time.

  7. Celeste says...

    I went to NOLA in college with my university newspaper for a SPJ conference and I’ve always wanted to go back! I need to take my husband and keep this little guide on-hand.

  8. Great tip on renting a house! I’ve read so many travel guides that suggest going with an Airbnb type, but not really giving specifics as to where in the city, so I appreciate that tip!

    xo, Sofia
    http://www.thecozie.co

  9. Kiley says...

    I love NOLA, my fiancé and I are getting married there next fall. Thank you for the new places to try!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how exciting! xoxo

  10. I was just there for my 40th birthday and ate at Shaya and Compere Lapin. They were both fabulous!

  11. thanks for sharing

  12. This makes me want to go to New Orleans.

  13. attygreen13 says...

    Lived an hour from NO most of my life – incredible city. Two suggestions: Lola’s, a quaint little Spanish-grandma spot. Incredible food. Get the Garlic Shrimp – I dream about them weekly. My husband and I would drive an hour into the city just for date night at this little gem. And though it’s cliche, you have to visit Cafe du Monde for post-dinner beignets and cafe au lait.

    • Rémy Robert says...

      Oh my gosh Attygreen, NAILED IT with the garlic shrimp at Lola’s. I live so close to there and I love how I smell like garlic for dayyyyys after eating that shrimp (the mushrooms, too!).

    • attygreen13 says...

      Thanks, Remy! Gimme garlic shrimp/mushroom goodness and their perfect crusty bread for dipping any.dang.day. Jealous you live nearby – we’re in Dallas now and rarely get to partake :(

  14. love love love NOLA- I have family there and am headed back in a few months. Thankfully having family there means we get taken off the beaten path, which is always so much better. Despite there best efforts though I still have a very intense love of Dat Dog…. never in my life did I expect a hot dog place to be a “must go to” for me. haha! Great guide, thank you!

  15. L says...

    So glad to see the NOLA love! It’s my eternal city – I don’t live there anymore but I always carry it in my heart and have to go back regularly for my fix. It is endlessly fascinating and seductive. So relieved to see its resurgence in the last decade after the hell strike of Katrina. And can I also say how freaking amazing it was that Beyonce shot her STUNNING Lemonade down there?! I don’t know that anyone has ever captured its magic better.

  16. Natalia says...

    I grew up visiting family in New Orleans, but my husband and I recently visited and we stayed at the Henry Howard Hotel. I highly recommend it! The decor is gorgeous- a mix of modern and tradition… delicious morning coffee, friendly and helpful staff with great recommendations. Usually we like to stay in Airbnb type lodgings, but for a weeknight stay, the price here was comparable to a home rental, and we felt like kings and queens! What a treat.

    http://henryhowardhotel.com/

  17. Kimberli Simon says...

    Such a great city and guide! I just visited New Orleans in August…if you love music and bowling make sure to visit the Rock n Bowl! I’d also recommend Snake and Jake’s Christmas Lounge (dive bar!) and eating at Cochon Butcher! Happy travels.

  18. Mollie says...

    Take the streetcar! It’s free and a beautiful ride!

    • Joe says...

      The streetcar is not free but is well worth the price, be sure to ride the St Charles line. Begin and end at Carrollton and S. Claireborne.

  19. Love your city guides! I went to New Orleans when I wasn’t quite 21, so I’d love to visit again now that I am. ;) Saving this guide!
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  20. Laura says...

    New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, so I’m glad to see it featured here!

    If you’re taking requests, could you also feature Charleston, SC, or Portland, OR? I’m planning to travel to these destinations soon and would love some tips!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for sure, laura!!!! please stay tuned, and thank you so much!

  21. My husband and I stayed at the Catahoula last time we were there for Art Walk. And we love Dominica and Peche! The BEST food I’ve ever had in Louisiana.

  22. rach says...

    Never ever thought I’d say I want to go to N.O.!! but I want to go to New Orleans! You make this sound like the PERFECT getaway! Almost tropical, kind of European, and a fun young hip artisan vibe! Sounds like a perfect couples retreat. My hubby and I are not huge fans of humidity, what time of year has the most beautiful weather?

    • L says...

      You should try to go in the latter part of the Fall or the earlier part of Spring!

    • Lauren says...

      Late October/early November is my favorite time to visit

    • Laura says...

      Hi Rach!
      I live here in New Orleans and was browsing all the fun comments! The absolute best time to visit is really right now until May. The weather can be a little chilly on random days, but mostly it’s 65-70 degrees, sunny, and blue skies that’ll make you want to pinch yourself that you’re actually in that kind of weather smack dab in the middle of January. After mid, May-ish, however, the weather resembles something like a taking a hot shower with all your not-so-closest NOLA neighbors. I don’t recommend it ;)

  23. Yay. So excited my city is featured. Great guide! Hard to add EVERYTHING great about Nola, but I would add Chef Ron’s in Metairie for gumbo and Mr. B’s Bistro (during lunch) for the best bbq shrimp + $1.50 Bloody Mary’s. And I wholeheartedly second the comment about Bourbon St. There are so many other spots to see. And the French Quarter is best during the day to soak in the beautiful architecture.

    -Rebecca | http://www.paperwhiskey.com

  24. We spent our 1st wedding anniversary in New Orleans in May. We stayed at this beautiful AirBnB https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5013084 and had our celebration dinner at The Franklin. It was dreamy and I’d recommend it to anyone.

    • Kelly says...

      Oh my gosh that house looks divine. I’m going on my honeymoon there in Oct and have added it to my favourites list on Air BnB. Thanks!

  25. New Orleans is officially now on my bucket list! It looks like the most beautiful city and I absolutely love Jazz ♥

    Amy // Snippets of Amy

  26. Libbynan says...

    We started taking our kids to NOLA for spring break back in 1982 when they were 8 and 13. My favorite photo of them ever is from that trip. We happened upon a St. Joseph’s Day parade and there they sit on the curb, laden with beads and coins and candy, grinning from ear to ear. NOLA is just magical! But you forgot the D-Day museum…..it’s the best. Even teens are fascinated by it and ask to stay longer.

  27. Jessie says...

    Agreed. As a local, this post is legit. I’d add 1000 Figs for lunch and dinner and Swirl Wines right next door. Both tiny and charming and walk-able from bayou, City Park, etc.

  28. S says...

    Thanks for this! My friends just moved to New Orleans and I’m so excited to visit!

  29. Megan says...

    New Orleanian here, just wanted to say that this post is so on point. I usually dread reading about our City on non-local platforms but enjoyed and totally agreed with this one. I’d also add The Backstreet Cultural Museum and Wednesday at the Square (spring series, free) or Jazz in the Park (Thursdays in the fall, free).

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yay, so great to hear! Thank you, Megan.

      Stella xoxoxo

  30. Anya says...

    I love this series and have been thinking about planning a trip to New Orleans for years now… I think you’ve pushed me from thinking about it to just going ahead and doing it! Might I suggest featuring a Canadian city or two this year? The New York Times ranked Canada as the top place to visit in 2017, focusing on the fact that it’s the country’s 150th birthday this year (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/travel/places-to-visit.html?_r=0). It makes a lot of hay about national parks, but our cities are pretty great too. I’m a Toronto native and, despite everything I thought when I was a teenager, it turns out to be a pretty cool and vibrant place. Montreal and Vancouver are, of course, the other heavy hitters, but I think Halifax (in Nova Scotia) could also be a great place to feature. It’s small, but super lively and interesting, too.

  31. I just came back from New Orleans!! What a fun city.
    Here are my highlights: Shaya, Willa Jean (lunch and brunch and chocolate chip cookie), Ogden Museum of Art, JW Marriott for the stay (I got a great rate on Priceline), La Boulangerie for almond chocolate croissant!!

    I instagrammed a zillion photos (@mangotomato) :)
    http://www.mangotomato.com

  32. Guillaume Philippe says...

    If someone tells you “I know where you got your shoes”, just say “I got my shoes on my feet”.

  33. Sheila says...

    I’ve been to NOLA three times, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back!

  34. Great suggestions! I wish I would have had this guide when I went there on a solo-trip a few years ago. It was a great city! I can’t wait to go back someday. Thanks for sharing : )

    http://hyggewellness.com/blog

  35. Lauren E. says...

    New Orleans has been on the top of my “to visit” list for forever. But then my husband and I fall down the rabbit hole of, “Well, if we’re in New Orleans we have to road trip to Nashville! And if we’re in Nashville then we HAVE to pop over to Memphis!” So many places to see, so little time…

  36. Caroline says...

    This post makes me want to go back to NOLA! It’s one of my family’s favorite vacation spots and we always make a night of going to Rock n’ Bowl on Zydeco night! You can bowl and they have live Zydeco music where everyone dances. It’s a magical place that no matter what your age or skill, you’ll want to dance (and if you reaaaallly aren’t into dancing you can watch the pros). It’s so welcoming that usually you end up dancing with a total stranger who is looking to teach a few moves. We recommend it to all our friends and everyone has said that it’s one of their favorite experiences in NOLA!

    https://www.rocknbowl.com/events/calendar/2

  37. Fayola says...

    Shout out to my sweet friend Rémy for her amazing guide to the city that I fell in love with when I moved here 6 years ago!! Proud to call it home!!!

  38. Nanne says...

    my favorite city! one of my favorite memories from my many visits to new orleans was giving myself a daylong walking tour of the garden district.

  39. Joey K’s has an amazing Eggplant Napoleon that I still lust for. While you’re there, you’re only a few steps from Sucre where the most phenomenal french macarons await you.

  40. Oktavia says...

    My boyfriend and I spent a week in NOLA in October and it has to be one of my top favorite places. We rented an airBNB in the treme neighborhood outside of the French Quarter, rented bikes and biked throughout the city, and kayaked Bayou St. John. I am trying to convince my boyfriend to move there! I miss it!

  41. So nostalgic from reading this. Lived there for 3 years and I haven’t been since 2014 (before baby was born). Thank you!!!

  42. New Orleans looks like such a beautiful and interesting place, its definitely on my bucket list to visit one day!

  43. Isabel says...

    I came to New Orleans for the first time 6 years ago. Fell in love immediately… and that is not hyperbole. Within 24 hours of landing I decided that I just had to live here, and lucky enough, it worked out. For anyone on the fence as to whether this should be your next vacation, rest assured that once you visit you won’t be disappointed. I can’t describe New Orleans adequately, “New Orleans is a state of mind.” Coming from Miami, it was a whole new experience being here. But that’s not an uncommon sentiment, NOLA is not like anywhere else in the US. Like Tennessee Williams said, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” (No hate on Cleveland <3). I love these recommendations because they showcase the abundant unique and beautiful things of this city. A really great guide! I especially love the Mid City shoutouts, since I now get to call Mid City home. Come and visit and fall in love with New Orleans. She'll love you back. Bon temps roule!

  44. A well portrayed overview of the magnificent city!

  45. Ali B says...

    If you ever do a travel guide to London, I would be happy to help! I’ve lived here for 4 years after moving from NYC for my job in the fashion industry. I send an impromptu guide to friends who come to visit and could share if you need!

  46. Elise says...

    Three Muses is a great restaurant/music club. Frenchmen St is where all locals hang out. Also, Marigny is a really nice neighborhood where to rent an AirBnB to really live like a local. The train ride from Atlanta to NOLA is definitely worth the trip if you have time on your hands. You see the South’s backyard, really impressive, swishing through the bayous towards the end of the journey. One of my best memories from my trip in the South.

  47. Brennan says...

    This was a very enjoyable read, especially being such a fan of New Orleans and being so familiar with the city. I agree with many of the points made and have checked out some of the places suggested on here.

    If ever this series considers featuring New York City, I’ll be glad to dish out some of the greatest and lesser known destinations in my hometown of the Bronx, as well as Upper Manhattan, seeing as how these are two increasingly popular areas and Mid- and Downtown Manhattan and even Brooklyn are much too redundant when it comes to tourism at this point.

  48. Ines says...

    Love this series ! If you ever do a mexico city one I would have a lot to offer, I love my hometown

    • Angela says...

      Seconding this! I would love to see a Mexico City guide. We visited a couple of years ago with an old friend who lived there as a kid, and having the guidance of a (former) local completely changed our perspective. Like this guide shows about NOLA, it’s so much more than the stereotypes!

  49. Lindsey B says...

    I LOVE Nola! Last time we visited we went to Bacchanal for wine, live music, and a cheese plate. It was all so good. It’s going to be a regular stop for future visits!

  50. Lisa says...

    Love this…I’m going to NOLA in a few weeks. I’m taking my 7 month old this time (and I will be working during the day) so if anyone has suggestions for places to get good food in the evening where a baby won’t be glared it, I would love to hear!

    • AmyB says...

      Babies are pretty common anywhere, outside of the crazy-posh eateries. Don’t sweat it. If you’re staying in a hotel, just ask the front desk where THEY like to go nearby…you’ll miss the tourist trap spots and get good local dives that expect and welcome families.

    • Kelly McCartney says...

      Kid friendly places…Theo’s Pizza is great, as well as Magazin, Mona’s Café, Arabella on St. Claude, Cake Café, French Truck, St. Roch Market. Just to name a few.

  51. I love these detailed, personal city guides! New Orleans has been on my bucket list for a long while and I really look forward to taking some of the tips into consideration for my eventual trip!

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  52. Gretchen says...

    Amazing timing! I’m going for the first time on a work trip next week!

  53. Leela says...

    This is great! And thank you for the vegetarian-friendly options!

  54. Una says...

    For any history buffs out there, the National World War II museum is nothing short of INCREDIBLE. We spent a solid 6 hours in there and didn’t even make it to the Eastern theater. Well worth a visit if you happen to find yourself in New Orleans!

  55. Carly Travis says...

    Lovely! You should explore my stomping ground: Chicago!

    • Gabby says...

      I second this! I would also love a Denver city guide :)

    • Helen says...

      Yes please! it has been on my bucket list for years. Maybe this is the year …

  56. Sofia says...

    my absolute fave!
    my husband’s family is from MS on the coast so we always go to NOLA when visiting home. i have been there so many times and i know none of these places, how is that possible?! now we have even more reasons to go back soon (even though we just went for Christmas) :)
    thank you!

    • My absolute FAVORITE restaurant in the COUNTRY is in Gulfport. I used to travel a lot for work and made it my point to try all kinds of places – The Half Shell Oyster House is still my #1!

  57. Anna says...

    D.J. Soul Sister is The. Shit. Seriously. Go. I second Shaya, and St. Roch Market is great for oysters (and everything else). Magasin is good for brown rice spring rolls, and Hey! Cafe has kombucha on tap. Breads on Oak has the best sourdough in the city, and 1000 Figs has killer mezze and falafel (and you can walk City Park and get beignets after)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg now i’m suddenly starving :)

  58. Alice says...

    I’ve always wanted to go! Thank you for this!

  59. Michelle says...

    I went to school at Tulane in New Orleans (Roll Wave!) and I have to say this list is spot on! I think my favorite time of year is definitely spring festival season. You don’t have to go to Mardi Gras to have a good time. French Quarter Festival is usually in April and has live music and local cuisine IN THE STREET! Usually around the same time is the Pontchatoula Strawberry Festival, and a few other smaller festivals that are a ton of fun. If you like beer I’d definitely hit up NOLA brewery, they have a tap room that is always full of interesting people. Cheers!

  60. Natasha says...

    Oh and what else would I add? Shopping uptown on Magazine Street, Taking a streetcar on St Charles Avenue, anything in the Garden District and University areas. Even though we are locals we love to park our car on the streetcar line and uptown and go out to eat with our children. (I know there’s a streetcar in this post, but it is on Canal St which is downtown.) Also I totally agree about Bourbon St. Go there and have one drink so you can have the experience but 30 minutes on Bourbon will be more than enough! If you are traveling with children, we have a great aquarium and also an insectarium.

  61. Paula says...

    Great article and organized fairly well. New orleans is the best and rich with culture.

  62. Some more restaurant suggestions from a local:
    Joey K’s, The Blue Crab (shrimp and girts OMG), New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. (thin cut catfish), Juan’s Flying Burrito, Angelo Bracato’s (world’s best canoli and gelato), Copeland’s Cheesecake Bistro for crawfish ravioli, and New Orleans School of Cooking for lessons from amazing chefs (especially Kevin Belton).

    Parkway is our very favorite for poboys, but Guy’s, Bear’s, and Sammy’s are all great. Domilise’s just ins’t the same since Ms. Dot passed away.

    • Jenny says...

      I love Juan’s.

    • I second Joey K’s! (And I’m not a local – Philly burbs girl here)

  63. So excited to see M.S. Rau mentioned. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite place in the world. I’ve been trying to snag a job there for years…which won’t work because I don’t live in NOLA. Ha. Seriously, though, it’s AMAZING.

  64. Lindsey says...

    Hi Joanna and team! I visited NOLA last year and it was one of my favorite US trips – so much unique culture and fun!

    I’m commenting today though because I’ve been thinking a lot about how to support WOC and minorities and how much representation matters when your blog popped into my head. I know you’re a small team, and I know you guys feature women of all colors and shapes (which I appreciate!) but may I suggest that your next hire be a WOC? You have a large audience and the perspective of a non-white person on the blog would be HUGE. I know your politics are in the right place, I just think that all of us should be committed to lifting up and amplifying the voices of women who have not been heard for so long. There are a million blogs written by cute white women in NYC – a fresh take would be more than welcome.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for thoughtful your comment, lindsey. we have been giving this a lot of thought, as well, and this will be absolutely front of mind when we are ready to hire again. thank you again.

    • Lizzie says...

      Mmm, I’m going to push back here. Lindsey, I admire your communication/ writing skill, and your apparent kindness and tactfulness. It’s your underlying social justice assumptions I’m questioning. Is it really wise to request to hire someone based on skin color? Even simply by making this request, I think if a POC is hired, then many will assume the person was chosen in part to meet a diversity preference. The person will no longer have been hired only because of her supreme skills. She also, apparently, won’t be entirely free to be a regular journalist but will also be expected to offer “a different perspective”, as developed by other people’s views of her skin pigment. :(

      You may ask “what about historical and institutional racism/ bias?” Well, OK. But I think this approach may hold some unintended consequences. As I see it, this request for special treatment for certain (historically oppressed, or not) groups often leads to resentment from, well, other folks who see themselves (rightly or wrongly) as less privileged themselves. They may feel in direct competition with POC, who they see as getting a leg up. (For more explanation of this phenomenon, check out the most recent Hidden Brain podcast- Strangers In Their Own Land”.)

      Further more, even acknowledging bias/ prejudice exists, should that overwhelm our understanding of advantages a POC may also hold? A women of color- of any origin- who happens to be intellectually brilliant, highly educated, rich, ambitious, and or/ physically beautiful may actually have a LOT more privilege than a poor, rural, white person with little education and no hope in life. Should we really view the WOC as someone who needs extra help, because, you know, racism? Another example- someone who grew up black and poor but with two loving, attentive parents may be much better off than a white person with lots of money, not much intellect, absent parents and a long history of abuse in her background. Who are we to judge?

      I do support diversity, but I think there’s a problem when diversity is only defined so narrowly as by skin pigment, and a victim status is assumed if someone is darker.

      So I request, Joanna, please don’t hire based on superficial qualities such as skin color . That practice, in addition to possibly leading others’ feelings of resentment, also belittles achievements of POC who were NOT hired based on their lovely dark skin.

    • Kelly L. says...

      Well said, Lindsey!! And well received, CoJ!

    • Mikaela says...

      You should check out LaTonya Yvette, I think she may have even been featured here, as well as on A Beautiful Mess, and a number of other sites. Her perspective is definitely worth exploring.

    • Ines says...

      Hi Lizzie. After reading your post I would like to point the following out, Lindsey’s original post suggested the hire of a WOC would be positive because of how enriching it would be to CoJ, and the readers, to have a WOC’s voice:

      “may I suggest that your next hire be a WOC? You have a large audience and the perspective of a non-white person on the blog would be HUGE”

      I don’t think you can deny that POCs have different life experiences than non-POCs, and they’re not all related to oppression. On the contrary, the enriching part about having diversity in writers is that they can share the different ways they experience similar things – topics like dating or work or stress or family, happily all topics already covered by this blog! And, they can also talk about life experiences the other writers might not share, some might include racism and some might include new recipes, all in all very interesting and valid I would say. Hence I do see why the recommendation was made, and I fully support it. CoJ will hire whoever they feel is best and its toooootally on them, but it is worth saying that a diverse readership would be happy to hear diverse voices.

      I totally get that individual women that fall within a marginalized category might actually have much more scope for action than supposedly more privileged women, that’s an undeniable fact. Yet, what is also an undeniable fact is that developed nations, that happen to be the countries where a majority of white people live, hold a much greater percentage of wealth than the developing world, who happen to mostly be occupied by non-white people. This has many explanations, some of which are in any non “alternative fact” history book: colonisation, slavery, war, genocide, etc. Skin color is a big deal because it carries a lot of that history for many people. It is a marker of identity and in Arizona, for example, you can get arrested because your skin tone makes the police suspect you’re undocumented, and if you have no offical IDs on you, you’ve committed a crime. Stop and frisk was not a policy that particularly incensed the white community because it did not seem to target them as much as it did POCs. I don’t think skin color is a minor issue. Neither is wealth distribution, which is mostly concentrated in white people; in diverse countries like the US and the UK (I know they are majority white but I use them as examples of places w/high diversity and social mobility), and even in mostly non-white countries like most of Latin America, white people hold the most wealth and, thus, often the most power. So, though individual cases vary, the truth is that a world that is mostly non-white is primarily controlled by that minority. This influences standards of beauty, racial hegemonies and the status quo – being a WOC, regardless of your beauty, intelligence, wealth or education, you know you’ll always be an ‘other’. I give you, Mobama:

      “My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before,” the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. “I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.” (from politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2008/02/michelle-obama-thesis-was-on-racial-divide-008642)

      You’ll say things have changed since then, and maybe they have. Maybe we could hear from some WOC, and see what they say. Do they still feel like Mobama, othered?

      “should we really view the WOC as someone who needs extra help?”

      No, not at all! We don’t want help, we just want a chair at the table you know? It’s just about saying, hey cool blog, would love to read different voices, and especially some that I can have a bit more in common with! No one’s asking for a hand out, just to remind the great women of this space that there’s a demand for that.

    • Jamila says...

      I agree that a perspective from a woman with a diverse background or upbringing would be interesting to read. However, the sentence “There are a million blogs written by cute white women in NYC ” kept bouncing around in my head last night. It’s not a nice thing to say. The implication is “Joanna, your perspective is a dime a dozen so you need to hire WOC.”

      CoJ is the only blog that I read from a white woman in NYC because Joanna has a talent at cultivating articles that I want to read. Don’t belittle that.

  65. Sarah says...

    Would love to do this for you for Asheville, NC! I’m a native :)

  66. Hannah says...

    If you have kids I would highly recommend the Louisiana Children’s Museum which is about a 15-20 min walk from the French Quarter. We were just there in December and loved it!

  67. kate says...

    As a native who just last year convinced my Hoosier husband to move back to NOLA, I love this list!

    To anyone considering a trip to New Orleans, I would almost suggest skipping Mardi Gras and coming down during the fall or winter (it never gets that cold here!). Mardi Gras is something all its own, and is not wholly reflective of the city. As much as our mayor might want us to become Disneyland, NOLA is just a city with a lot of amazing, diverse people living their lives every day.

    I would also add: Take the streetcar down St. Charles to look at all of the gorgeous homes. Walk the length of Magazine Street and stop in the boutiques, restaurants, and bars. If you’ve got an extra day or two, head out of the city to a swamp tour, hit up Jean Lafitte Park, or visit one of the plantations. Whitney Plantation opened up a slave museum last year—it’s an essential and tragic part of our history and should be talked about.

    • Shay says...

      Great feedback! I was going to ask the best season to go. It’s high on my US cities to visit list but I wasn’t sure what time of year is best (not too hot)!

    • Allie says...

      I second the St. Charles St. Car! It was my favorite part of the visit.

    • Natasha says...

      I agree, I was born and raised in NOLA and I wouldn’t recommend coming for Mardi Gras. Us locals do our best to leave for Mardi Gras anyway!

      Glad to see City Park mentioned too. I love our museum in City Park and having a picnic under the oaks.

    • Hi y’all! Kate, good call on *all the things.* Shay, I think March and November are our best weather months. NOLA is funny because we never settle into a season — there will be random hot snaps in spring and fall, and winter is mostly pretty agreeable with occasional freezing cold fronts, but March and November are generally most reliable :)