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March 2015

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Out and About in New Orleans

Written by , Posted in Restaurants, Travel

Mike and I recently returned from a long weekend in New Orleans. It was my first visit to the city and even though I wasn’t feeling my best, we had a really great time. We were in New Orleans for 4 solid days and we did a TON of walking (10 miles in just one day!) because their public transit isn’t exactly the most reliable (I don’t think I can ever complain about the CTA again). This gave us plenty of time to do a lot of wandering and get to know this lively, colorful city.

New Orleans, Water Meter Cover

The Mardi Gras festivities had ended by the time we arrived, but remnants of a pretty awesome party still lingered on trees, balconies, and doors around town. With a great central starting point from our hotel in the Warehouse District, Hotel Modern, we were able to get a good feel for the city and many of it’s diverse, beautiful neighborhoods. There was so much more that we didn’t have a chance to see, but that just means that a return visit is in order!

New Orleans, Mardi Gras Beads

One of my favorite things we did on this visit to New Orleans was walking around the neighborhoods and checking out all of New Orleans’ famous architecture. Creole Cottages, gas lamps, large columns, Greek Revival houses, wrought-iron balconies, front porches, and Double Shotgun row houses in every color imaginable were quietly waiting for us around every corner. There was also the food (don’t worry, there’s a whole post devoted to that), the shopping, and the music – each neighborhood offering its own unique flavor. Here’s a rundown of the neighborhoods we loved, along with a few of the highlights.

French Quarter

New Orleans, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral

Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral

You can’t go to New Orleans without walking around the French Quarter. Start your morning early with beignets at the famous Café du Monde – order them to-go from the take-out window around back and grab a seat on a bench overlooking the Mississippi River and Jackson Square. Make your way down Decatur Street to the French Market (the oldest public market in the country) and get your shop on before heading back and grabbing a muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery.

Make your way over to Royal Street, the classy, refined neighbor of Bourbon Street, and take a leisurely stroll as you admire the flower-lined balconies, endless antique shops, and the talented street performers along the way. Stop for a Sazerac at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone before heading to Bourbon Street, because you can’t visit New Orleans and not at least see what it’s about.

Enjoy the last hours of daylight over a Hurricane on the patio of Pat O’Brien’s then walk down to the Funky Pirate for some blues and a hand grenade, if you’re brave enough. Take your pick from any number of great restaurants in the area for dinner (Restaurant R’evolution, NOLA, GW Fins…) and end your night by candlelight at the purportedly haunted Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde

New Orleans, Mississippi River

New Orleans, French Market

The French Market

New Orleans, French Market

oyster shucking in the French Market

New Orleans, Central Grocery

New Orleans, Bourbon Street

New Orleans, Royal Street, Band

The Slick Skillet Serenaders perform on Royal St

New Orleans, Royal Street, Band

Doreen’s Jazz performs on Royal St

New Orleans, Bourbon Street

New Orleans, Bourbon Street

New Orleans, French Quarter

IMG_7313_2

New Orleans, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

Garden District

There is definitely a lot to see and do in the French Quarter, but the Garden District wins my vote for favorite New Orleans neighborhood. The homes are gorgeous, there are tons of great coffee shops and restaurants, and the shopping on Magazine Street can’t be beat.

New Orleans,

Hop on the St. Charles Streetcar (the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world) in the French Quarter and hop off at Jackson, where you’ll find District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. a few blocks down. Enjoy a coffee and one of their simple, fancy, or extra fancy donuts (or a savory slider) before heading down Magazine Street to check out all the fantastic antique shops, art galleries, and boutiques like one of my favorites, Derby Pottery.

Head to Commander’s Palace (where you’ve made a reservation for lunch in advance) and enjoy their special 25¢ martinis and some of the best Creole and Louisiana cuisine you could ever ask for. After lunch take a stroll through Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, right across the street, to check out the above-ground tombs that fill the cemeteries of New Orleans. Continue walking off your martini buzz along the streets of the Garden District, checking out some of the iconic houses along the way.

If craft beer is your thing, stop in at The Bulldog for great patio seating or Avenue Pub, open 24-7-365 and offering over 40 beers on tap. If you could care less about IPAs and Imperial Stouts, venture a few blocks past Louisiana Ave. and grab a drink on the porch of the Columns Hotel during their happy hour everyday from 5p-7p. Although not “technically” in the Garden District, La Petite Grocery on Magazine Street is nearby and is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner, and afterwards you can grab a taxi and head up to Cure for some killer cocktails to end the night.

New Orleans, St. Charles Street Car

New Orleans Street Car

this is the streetcar that runs on Canal St, but you get the idea

IMG_7191

New Orleans, Derby Pottery

gorgeous goods at Derby Pottery

New Orleans, Derby Pottery, Clocks

water meter clocks at Derby Pottery

IMG_7220

New Orleans, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans, Garden District

New Orleans, The Bulldog, Beer Tap Fountain

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 Tremé

Tremé is the country’s oldest continuously inhabited African-American neighborhood and is full of rich Créole and African-American history. Take a walk through St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and see the tombs of several famous New Orleanians like Homer Plessy of Plessy v. Ferguson and Marie Laveau, the voodoo priestess. Louis Armstrong Park and the New Orleans African American Museum are just a few blocks down and from there you can walk to Henriette DeLille Street where you’ll find the Backstreet Cultural Museum as well as several bright examples of unique New Orleans architecture. Before you leave, grab some famous fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch House or Dooky Chase’s Restaurant.

New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery

New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery

New Orleans, Tremé

New Orleans, Tremé

Faubourg Marigny

Faubourg Marigny is a neighborhood just downriver from the French Quarter and it’s where you’ll find some of the best Creole architecture in the city. It’s also where you’ll find Frenchmen Street, the nightlife answer for those that aren’t into the beads and frozen daiquiris of Bourbon Street. Grab brunch at The Ruby Slipper Cafe and then take your time walking up and down the streets near Marigny and Dauphine to see the Marigny’s  bright and unique homes. In the evening, take a stroll down Frenchmen Street, stop in at The Spotted Cat Music Club for a set, then peruse the Frenchmen Art Market if they’re open. Spend the rest of the evening hopping from bar to bar on Frenchmen, listening for a tune that draws you in.

New Orleans, Faubourg Marigny

New Orleans, Faubourg Marigny

New Orleans, Faubourg Marigny

New Orleans, Faubourg Marigny

New Orleans Sunset

New Orleans, Frenchmen Street, Spotted Cat Music Club

New Orleans, Frenchmen Street

New Orleans, Frenchmen Street

Warehouse District

Our home base was in the Warehouse District at Hotel Modern, so by default this was the area where we always started and ended our days. If it’s a Friday, make a reservation for lunch at August (technically in the Central Business District) to take advantage of their $20.15 prix fixe – possibly one of the best kept secrets in New Orleans. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, start your day with brunch (and the Bloody Mary bar) at Tivoli & Lee. 

Afterwards, head over to the National WWII Museum for a healthy dose of history (skip the Final Mission experience unless you have kids in tow). Make a dinner reservation in advance at Cochon, Peche, or Root and end the night with fancy (and damn good) cocktails at Bellocq. If fancy cocktails aren’t your thing, check out one of the many other low-key bars in the area. If you’re a Kansas alum or just looking to hang with some friendly, interesting locals, Union Station is the perfect spot.

New Orleans, Tivoli & Lee, Bloody Mary Bar

New Orleans, National World War II Museum

New Orleans, National World War II Museum

Lion + Maven | Out and About in New Orleans

 

Wow, that was a long one! If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, I hope this post offered a few ideas to get you started. If you’re not currently planning a trip to New Orleans, I hope this post convinced you that you need to go! Any other New Orleans recs? Leave them in the comments below!

Mentioned in this post
  1. New Orleans
    City in Louisiana

    New Orleans Louisiana
  2. French Quarter
    Restaurant in New Orleans Louisiana

    121 Chartres St
    New Orleans Louisiana
    (504) 561-5171
  3. Café du Monde
    Restaurant in New Orleans Louisiana

    800 Decatur St
    New Orleans Louisiana
    (504) 525-4544
    http://www.cafedumonde.com
  4. Jackson Square
    Attraction in New Orleans Louisiana

    Chartres Street
    New Orleans Louisiana
    (504) 658-3200
    http://www.jackson-square.com
  5. French Market
    Attraction in Orleans Parish Louisiana

    1235 N Peters St
    Orleans Parish Louisiana
    (504) 596-3420
    http://www.frenchmarket.org/
  6. Central Grocery
    Attraction in New Orleans Louisiana

    923 Decatur St
    New Orleans Louisiana
    5045231620

  • Katie @ Live Half Full

    My husband is going to New Orleans next month- I’m so jealous! Random question- what type of camera do you have these days? Your pictures are always great!

    • Thanks Katie! I’m still using my trusty t3i with either a 50mm or 28mm prime lens. I would definitely be jealous too, New Orleans is a fun and beautiful city, he should take you with him!

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