…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!
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!
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
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!