I know, you came here to read about Beverly Hills, but…

Mardi Gras 2006, on my way the the Hermes Ball; Royal Orleans Hotel lobby

…I used to live in New Orleans and frequently I am asked about my recommendations. I recently compiled this list for a friend, and for those of you who may visit the Crescent City, please tell them I sent you!

Alexandra’s Do’s and Dont’s for New Orleans

DO – General

Good Neighborhood over view Map – you probably barely have time to explore the French Quarter (aka Vieux Carre’), The Central Business District (aka CBD or Warehouse District). the Garden District and Uptown. I have lists for other areas but no one ever has the time to do everything I want them to. You may find that you love one particular area and you can spend your whole vacation exploring it!

Great map of restaurants in French Quarter( see list of favorites below):

List of the best antique stores on Royal Street – my favorites are M.S. Rau and Ida Manheim – if antiques aren’t your thing, it’s fun to window shop them at night, too

Great map for walking in Garden District – try commander’s palace for lunch or Casamento’s before or after your walk – get off the streetcar at Washington Ave, and follow the map~if you see anybody coming or going from Colonel Short’s Villa – say hello – my friend owns that house now and it’s FABULOUS!

Good Listing and map for the Magazine Street galleries and shops, the most unique gifts, art and antiques will be here. A couple of my faves on the list are Cole Pratt Gallery, Mignon Faget, Blue Frog Chocolates, and Williamson Designs – links are on the list!

List of Cemeteries

Museums at Jackson Square with terrific exhibits including Mardi Gras

Listen to radio station 90.3 in your room and check listings for music around town.

Off the hook fabulous hats and perfumes way up at the end of the streetcar stop – the best milliner in the USA!

The Audubon Zoo and Park are wonderful too – you can see some ancient oak trees with Spanish moss

Best taxi – seriously, this matters – I took a ride down the freeway one night with a drunk and blind idiot from the airport – I should’ve taken a United

Best place to get a funky New Orleans costume or wig – well, I need them frequently whether or not you do:
Fifi Mahony my very favorite – for real girls and wanna be girls!
Little Shop of Fantasy – best masks you’ll ever see
The most counterculture clothing and shoes will be found at the end of Decatur Street near Esplanade –usually buy at least one thing around there each trip to treat my inner Goth

French Quarter Food:

Acme Oyster Bar great po boys, seafood baskets and shucked oysters

Bayona best gourmet cuisine -tell Regina and Susan I said hi : )

Galatoires – Best creole seafood – go for Friday lunch – they don’t take reservations; just get there as early as you can and wait for a table – try to get table downstairs

Cafe du Monde is the ONLY place to get a beignet, the creole donut, with café au lait – great site for people watching too.

Johnny’s Po Boy will deliver if you’re hung over

Central Grocery – have the original muffeletta sandwich and a Barq’s root beer; in fact, make sure you drink Barq’s with everything 🙂

Southern Candymaker Best pralines in town!

French Quarter Cocktails ( keep in mind you can get them in a “go cup” and walk around or stay and soak up some atmosphere):

The Carousel Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone – fun to sit and spin at the bar, or people watch from the windows

I always stop by Napoleon House for a Pimm’s cup cocktail which is very refreshing on a hot summer day

Pat O’ Brien’s Don’t have the hurricane – you might throw up, but it’s fun to sit in the courtyard by the flaming fountain and have a party pic made – they also have a great piano bar

Stop at any daiquiri joint you might pass – they help beat the heat – just keep in mind they are much more powerful than you think – It’s like Jamba Juice with 151 proof!

Central Business District Food:

Emeril’s Great restaurant from Emeril LaGasse eclectic –

The BonTon Cafe – definitely the best creole food in town with the best seafood – odd hours, but don’t miss it!

Mother’s Killer po boys and best gumbo in town (the ONLY gumbo in town, really)

Uptown / Garden District Food:

Casamento’s best po boys, fried crab claws and shucked oysters uptown

Commander’s Palace -a Nola institution – great brunch; try the turtle soup – great cemetery across the street

Franky and Johnny’s great juke joint WAY uptown – awesome poboys, onion rings, daily specials and alligator pie!


DO NOT EAT/SHOP HERE (tourist traps):
 Court of the Two Sisters
 Anywhere on Jackson Square or in the French Market, except for Café du Monde and Central Grocery
 Anywhere on Bourbon but Galatoire’s or Desire Oyster Bar
 Your hotel ;), unless you’re staying at the Windsor Court or The Omni Royal Orleans
 The Riverwalk
 Do not go off the beaten path in uptown – stay on or close to the mapped area above and on the main streets
 Do not engage in conversation with anyone who wants to guess where you got your shoes, who wants to show you a timeshare, or wants to tap dance for you.
 As a pedestrian stay on streets that are more crowded

Laissez les Bontemps Roulez!

7 Responses to “I know, you came here to read about Beverly Hills, but…”

  1. Donna Jolly Says:

    Visit Donna Jolly

    Great post. I’m so overdue for a trip to NOLA. I miss Commander’s Palace and Bayona especially.

  2. Richard Says:

    Visit Richard

    I think it’s a GREAT list! The only things I might add would be a few restaurants:

    * Cochon (www.cochonrestaurant.com) — in the Warehouse district, not for those who keep kosher

    * Luke (www.lukeneworleans.com) — in the CBD, amazing Alsatian cuisine by cutie John Besh

    * Eat (www.eatnola.com) — casual Creole and Cajun in the Quarter

    Also, the world’s best gelateria, IMHO:

    * Sucre (www.shopsucre.com) — on Magazine between Washington and Louisiana; do not miss the nectar creme gelato or the macaroons!

  3. alexandra Says:

    Visit alexandra

    Thanks for these, Richard! I know most of my recs are old school, so it’s nice to know about new places since I lived in the Crescent City.

    Richard knows what’s good, y’all.

  4. aunt bea Says:

    Visit aunt bea

    we head down in the spring and in the fall, and we found the perfect hotel a few months ago at the edge of the french quarter.

    the iberville suites – we call it “the ritz jr.” because it is connected to and i think it is owned by the ritz carlton… suites feature a den w/a surprisingly comfy foldout couch – a kitchenette leading to a master bedroom… two tele’s… and a roomy bath… our suite had a fabulous view of the quarter… very clean… very quiet… the perfect respite after a full day/night/into the next morning in nola.

    and has very attractive suite rates – our rate was $189 – can’t beat it for location, amenities, etc., imo… and lower rates are available depending on the season.

    it is by far the best hotel experience i’ve had other than the windsor court…(remember the mardi gras when your Mom and Christopher were at the windsor and we watched the parade from the balcony and on the street? they messed up the room somehow and Elizabeth wasn’t havin’ any of it, so Christopher ended up pimpin in his own suite – what year was that? so much fun.)


    i give the iberville my highest rating: 4 Tom Bodetts.

    the pics you see are what you get.

  5. liz Says:

    Visit liz

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    Visit Dorsey

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