New Orleans Parade

Three Memorable Days in New Orleans

We recently revisited our absolute favorite US city, New Orleans. We love New Orleans so much, we even got married there seven years ago. This was our fourth visit together to the Crescent City, and definitely one of the best. We decided to make New Orleans a stop on our annual winter poker road trip. This year we journeyed across the Florida panhandle and Gulf Coast to experience the Texas poker scene. While on the Gulf Coast, we spent a memorable three day weekend enjoying our fill of the food, fun, and festivities that New Orleans has to offer.

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Where to Stay in New Orleans

There are a thousand different places to stay in New Orleans. Previously when we visited, we have stayed in downtown and French Quarter hotels. Our favorite New Orleans hotel is the St. James on Magazine Street. The St. James is just far enough out of the French Quarter for peace and quiet, yet only a five minute walk to the heart of the district. It is modern, yet has a classic charm.

This year we decided to try a New Orleans AirBnB. We found the most perfect space right at the corner of the Treme and the French Quarter. The rental was on a nice quiet residential street just a block from all of the fun. We felt like we were staying in the middle of an Anne Rice novel and our visit felt all the more authentic for it. We strongly recommend checking out AirBnB for your New Orleans accommodations.

Where to Eat in New Orleans

You really need a month to make the most of New Orleans cuisine. It is hard to go wrong looking for food in the Big Easy. You can start your day with a hearty breakfast at Croissant D’Or on Ursulines Street. Or you can skip down to Jackson Square and have the ever-popular beignets at the world famous Café du Monde. Frankly, we prefer to save our Café du Monde stop for a late night snack. The place tends to be mobbed in the morning, but is open 24 hours a day. Service is much faster after dark and those beignets make the perfect post-parade treat.

Our favorite lunch spot in New Orleans is Coop’s Place down on Decatur Street. Coops has some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. The place also puts the “dive” in dive bar. When you eat at the bar, you feel like a local even if it’s only your first time in the city. We have been to Coop’s for lunch and we have been to Coop’s for dinner. Both are great.

Coop's Place New Orleans

If you’ve had your Coop’s meal, there are many other great lunch spots to try (again, hard to go wrong), but grabbing a muffuletta at the Central Grocery (just up the street from Coop’s) is another iconic choice. We have also found excellent lunch at the French Market down the road. The French Market is an outdoor flea market offering everything from t-shirts to artisan crafts to religious iconography. It is also host to a number of excellent food stalls where you can pick up anything from gumbo to pralines (try the pralines!).

At dinnertime New Orleans again offers a myriad of excellent options. On our most recent trip we enjoyed Habana Outpost on the corner of Rampart and Esplanade. Habana Outpost offers a blend of Mexican and Cuban cuisine in a very funky setting. They even have a Banksy painting on the wall!

Habana Outpost, New Orleans

In honor of our wedding dinner, we also spent an evening at Commander’s Palace, despite the hefty price tag. Commander’s is set in the middle of the Garden District and is the Grand Dame of New Orleans cuisine. You will get an incredible meal there accompanied by top service and an interesting and eclectic setting. Each of their many rooms has a different design. All of them charming. Commander’s is destination dining for sure. You may even find yourself seated near a celebrity. On a previous trip, we looked up to find we were next to Patrick Ewing.

Again, really, you can’t go wrong eating in New Orleans. From cheap to expensive, there are restaurants for everyone’s taste.

What to Do (during the day) in New Orleans

There are so many great things to do in New Orleans as well. Start with simply walking around the French Quarter. There are so many shops to check out that you could spend an entire day just wandering around in and out of stores. From pralines to voodoo dolls, you will find the best of New Orleans here.

We particularly recommend Royal Street where you can walk from art gallery to art gallery taking in incredible work by painters, sculptors, photographers, and more. The curators/ artists are very friendly and happy to discuss the work, their process, or even their hometown. We have found the general vibe to be very soft sell. So even socially anxious people like myself can walk in without fear of being talked into a $3,500 photograph.

Royal Street, New Orleans

Bourbon Street, of course, is a party all the time. If you are looking for that scene, you can go from bar to bar and daquiri window to daquiri window all day long.

Jackson Square down toward the river hosts artists of both the visual and performing type. You can walk around the square and find living statues, singers, painters, and artisans. The prices are lower than those you will see on Royal Street, but there is still quality art to be discovered.

Outside of the French Quarter, one of our favorite past-times is walking through the gorgeous Garden District, preferable accompanied by a self-guided walking tour. There are an incredible array of stately homes, and many of them boast fascinating histories. While you are there, Lafayette Cemetery Number 1 will give you a taste of the tombs and gravestones of New Orleans. Anne Rice even staged a funeral in the cemetery for the publication of one of her books.

Farther afield is the National World War II Museum. It is a must-visit. While I am not a WWII buff, the quality and interactive nature of this museum really brings this terrible war alive. Definitely worth the visit.

What to Do (at night) in New Orleans

Ah, nighttime in New Orleans. Is there anything more fun? After dinner, this is a city that really comes alive. There is, again, the insanity of Bourbon Street. However, we recommend heading down to the other end of the French Quarter to experience the music of Frenchman Street. Here you can wander from club to club and for the cost of a cheap beer experience the talented musicians who play there any given night of the week. If you’re lucky, you might even come across Trombone Shorty or one of his compatriots playing on a random Tuesday night. This area of town also contains artisan markets that stay open well into the evening.

Harrah’s New Orleans is also hopping in the late night hours. Harrah’s is a full-service casino with a quality poker room. Definitely worth a stop for any poker-playing traveler.

New Orleans Parade

And then there are the parades. The amazing parades. While there aren’t parades every night in New Orleans, it certainly can feel like there are. You may think that parades are only for Mardi Gras. But no. In New Orleans there are parades year-round. New Orleans hosts 130 festivals a year, and many of them involve parades. We have been lucky enough to catch a St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as two separate parades held in the months running up to Mardi Gras. Paul is the original Mr. I-Hate-a-Parade, but even he agrees that New Orleans parades are things to behold. If there are parades in town when you are there, make the effort to see one.

New Orleans Overall Assessment

Just say yes. To it all. The food, the wine, the music, and the art. You won’t find the kind joy of New Orleans offers anywhere else, and your life will be better for the time you spend here.

  • Comfort
  • Tournament Structures
  • Personnel

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply