Destination Friday: NOLA

April 11, 2008 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

Surprise!  This week’s destination for Friday is right here in the U.S.  There are a ton of other places to cover in the U.K., but they’ll have to wait for a while.  This week I’m in the New Orleans groove.

 

Images from Wiki, Wiki, and Wiki.

Getting There
If you’re flying into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), you can rent a car or grab a taxi ($28) or bus into town.  Your bus options are the Airport Shuttle ($15ow) or the Airport-Downtown Express bus ($1.10ow).

Greyhound and Amtrak will drop you off at downtown if you travel via bus or train.

What to Do
Cafe du Monde is the number one must on my NOLA list.  I’m not a coffee drinker, but those who are absolutely must order a chicory-laced cafe au lait.  Everyone who likes sugar and carbs will love beignets.  Just remember to wear light colors; that powdered sugar gets everywhere.  Oh yeah – and go to the real deal off of Jackson Square.  Don’t settle for one of the cafes at the mall or any other beignet place.

Walking around Jackson Square is another must.  Check out the Andrew Jackson statue, visit the St. Louis Cathedral, have someone do a bone or tarot card reading for you, study the local artists’ work, have your portrait done, or get a free hug.  You never know quite what you’ll run into, but it’s guaranteed to be interesting.

Next up – having a hurricane (the drink, not the storm).  The original hurricane is served at Pat O’Brien’s, the bar of the fellow who created it in the 1940s.  If the weather is nice, you can enjoy your hurricane or other ridiculously heavy on the alcohol cocktail on the patio.  My favorite place to enjoy my POB cocktail is in the dueling piano bar.  It seems like the same two ladies are playing every time I go with my family – and they are fabulous.  Don’t forget that the glass your drink comes in is yours to keep.  The guy who checks IDs at the door will dump the ice and put it in a box for you.  Oh, just in case you hadn’t figured it out, NOLA is grand for a 21st birthday.

Poke around in the shops along Royal Street.  My family’s favorite game is to see who can find the most expensive item in each shop.  My brother won the overall cardboard cookie went to my brother, who found a $325k chandalier.  I found a gorgeous baby grand piano for about $225k.  Our favorite shops included: Rothschild’s Antiques (the vp/jewelry maker Michael Greenblatt showed us some of his amazing work), Ida Manheim Antiques (their custom dining room tables are incredible), Fleur de Paris (beautiful collection of hats and couture clothing), and Royal Cameo Glass (I especially coveted the paperweights by Daniel Salazar).

The St. Charles Streetcar is a fun way to check out the town.  It’s a good way to get from the Quarter to the Garden District, Tulane, and Loyola.

If you’re really into art, check out Julia Street.  There are thirteen mid-19th century townhouses which are home to some of the city’s best art galleries.  The area is sometimes referred to as the SoHo of the South.

If you want a nice walk to check out a neighborhood quite different from the Quarter, check out the Garden District.  I love checking out the different styles, from Greek revval at 1407 First Street to a French Second Empire style mansion at 2340 Prytania Street.

With kids in tow, a visit to the Audubon Zoo or Aquarium is in order.  The aquarium had a really rough time because of Katrina but, thanks to a lot of hard work, is back open and worth the visit.

Don’t forget about music!  NOLA is famous for jazz, blues, and zydeco.  In late April and early May, you can check out the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival.  Otherwise, see what’s on at Preservation Hall, Tipitina’s, or House of Blues.

Last, but only because I saved the best for last, is eating.  Yep, back to where I started.  Not only is NOLA home to beignets, it’s also home to a host of great restaurants.  The most famous ones include Commander’s Palace, Antoine’s, Brennan’s, Emeril’s, Galatoire’s, Gautreau’s, K-Paul’s.  Make sure you’re aware of the dress code before you show up.  Some of these places require a jacket for fellows and similarly dressy attire for ladies.  And don’t forget about pralines (prah-leenz, NOT pray-leenz).  We like Southern Candymakers, but there are plenty of other places; most offer free samples.

Where to Stay
I’m spoiled in a way – I have family near NOLA, so I don’t have to stay at a hotel.  This article has some good recommendations.  I think room 412 at the Hotel Provincial sounds especially fun.

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Entry filed under: Destinations, TheStates.

I’m glad I’m not flying anywhere this week/weekend… TTT: Become a tourist in your hometown

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rebekah at Elizabeth Anne  |  April 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I love love love New Orleans. Restaurants: I highly recommend Olivier’s on Decater. The pecan breaded oysters are AWESOME. Court of Two Sisters is also fantastic. I wasn’t impressed with Brennan’s brunch. Going to Central Grocery for a muffuletta is a must. Napoleon House is my absolute favorite for price and courtyard. The service is always slow. I’ve gone every time I’m in NOLA. Hotels: I’ve stayed at the JW Marriott (nice, but they gave us a smoking room), International Hotel (HIGHLY recommend it if you have the money), Dauphine Orleans (great courtyard, good location, small rooms). Bookstores: My favorite is the Faulkner House (yeah, that Faulkner) Books down on Pirate’s Alley (the secret place off of Jackson Square). Crescent City Books is also great. My goal is to make it to NOLA for the Tennessee Williams literary festival. And yeah, the galleries on Royal Street are worth the trip.

    Reply

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