We started going to New Orleans in college, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve and somehow it would be “on our way” to another destination and we would just stop in for the day/night. Back then Bourbon Street and Hurricanes were how I rolled. And I am so grateful that social media did not exist when my roommate shamelessly negotiated for whatever she desired with “five sets of titties” which was delivered in the classiest of voices of course.
My last trip to NOLA was right after Katrina. I helped my then boyfriend repair and clean his house after the storm. I discovered Uptown (which is ironic because I now know, the couch we crashed on in the old days was Uptown/Garden District). I also had a crash course in the “real” New Orleans, one man described it to me in the slowest southern drawl I’ve ever heard as “the real Banana Republic”. I wanted to believe he was a cynical old white man but there was a real crisis and no one seemed to be equipped or willing to fix it. A decade later, you can still see the damage she did.
This trip was for work but I flew in early to soak up the South and see an old friend. I tried to run as much of it as I could bare (combination of humidity and hangovers has never been kind to me). There were a few things I noted as the same – the French Quarter is the worst smelling place on earth. The locals have a real eye for color, a flamboyance that’s perfect, they make a mean bourbon drink and their food, albeit fried or covered in butter is on point. And there is music, good music, literally, everywhere. The woman below made that clarinet her bitch.
I stayed in the Warehouse District, which for me was perfect because I was close to the convention center for work, the French Quarter for obligatory work fun, Uptown/Magazine Street for what I really liked and then actually within the Warehouse District there are some phenomenal places. Which I had NO idea when we booked, just love when that happens.
I do usually try to hit the top places but this trip, I just ran out of time. I never hit Commander’s Palace or Galatoire’s or Willie May’s Scotch House…I have a two week list of places that I would like to hit on my next trip.
Wait. It seems as if all I do in new places is eat…
Revelator Coffee – Cold Brew.
The Butcher – killer sandwiches, GREAT atmosphere (like Star Wars meats butcher), fun staff, good beer. Add to the list Cochon, which is the dinner arm or maybe the Butcher is the lunch arm, they are related somehow and amazing. Remember that Cochon means pig, so if you are not into the swine, this is not your place to dine. Yes, I see what I did there.
Luke – Grilled shrimp on jalepeno cheese grits. That is all. Also, it is beautiful old school New Orleans inside.
Bon Ton Cafe – red & white checkered table clothes, beautiful chandeliers and the friendliest staff. I went with Debbie’s Salad so that I could enjoy their famous bread pudding for dessert and yes, you will get a buzz from it.
So much food, you could really eat your way through this city. You need to burn it off, head over to Frenchmen Street (where the locals go for live music). d.b.a, Blue Nile or The Spotted Cat. I just loved The Spotted Cat, cash only, killer music, dancing, flat out insanity.
Lastly, talk to the locals. They have amazing stories and are literally the nicest people on earth. New Orleans is such a great Southern city. I’ll be back…