New Orleans suggestions…?


I hope you all had a patriotic Memorial Day! On a bit of a whim my Englishman and I booked tickets to New Orleans next month (yes, we’ll be braving the heat…) and I’m rather excited for our little Louisiana getaway. It’s my first trip to NOLA and as usual, I’m eager to hear your suggestions. Who makes the tastiest beignets? Where can we hear some great jazz? Who owns the best boutiques? I can’t wait to hear your favorites. In the meantime, I’ll be rereading The House on First Street by Julia Reed to get in the mood. And of course, I’ll be reporting back with a full city guide upon my return!

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32 comments on “New Orleans suggestions…?

  1. julia

    goop just did a fabulous NOLA guide – i’ve been several times and they’ve captured all of my must see/do/eat/stays….

  2. Celeste

    As a local, let me tell you that everyone will say to get beignets from Cafe du Monde in Jackson Square (but you will wait for hours and then feel rushed at the table), but the beignets are just as good if not better (and there’s more selection and a quaint courtyard ambience) at Cafe Beignet on Royal Street in the French Quarter! The antique shopping on Royal is also world class. Try to grab dinner reservations at Sylvain, Peche, or Bayona. Stop in at Perch on Magazine Street, and don’t forget Leontine Linens!

  3. Katie

    The French Quarter is fun, but I love the Garden District. The homes are beautiful so it is great for a leisurely afternoon stroll. Stop by district donuts for a sweet treat and then have dinner at Commander’s Palace. If you’re interested in having a Po’ Boy Parasol’s has the best in the city. Have a great trip!

  4. Katie Armour Post author

    Katie – I saw District Donuts on instagram and just about died! I have a feeling we’ll be eating our way through the city :) Thanks for the tips!

  5. Jenna

    Totally second the Cafe Beignet recommendation! Cafe du Monde is always, always packed and feels like a zoo. The beignets at Cafe Beignet taste better and the atmosphere is, in my opinion, way more charming and relaxing than Cafe du Monde! Definitely go to the Garden District to admire the amazing mansions and while you’re there, have lunch or dinner at Lilette and/or La Petite Grocery, have a drink on the huge porch at the Columns Hotel and do some shopping on Magazine Street (Hazelnut, Leontine Linens, Pied Nu, Appartique and Shaun Smith Home are favs). In the French Quarter, don’t miss having a drink at the Hotel Monteleone – my favorite hotel bar in the whole country (besides Bemelman’s of course)! Skip sitting at the carousel bar (although it’s charming!) and walk past to the lounge. Order the Pimm’s Cup – it’s the best!!

  6. Jenna

    Also second the Sylvain recommendation! Had dinner there when I was in New Orleans about a month ago and it was fantastic – it’s in an old converted Creole-style house on the quiet end of the French Quarter. The food was delicious and the atmosphere is literally magical.

  7. Madeline

    katie, you will love staying in either the french quarter or garden district.
    elizabeth’s for brunch, praline bacon, and bloody marys.
    bourbon street is worth a visit, the cat’s meow is a riot.
    cafe du monde is wonderful, even though touristy.
    the ‘daq shacks’ are the best in the summer – drive through mudslides ha!

  8. Katie Armour Post author

    Jenna – If you love Bemelmans I know your recommendations are top-notch! Thank you for the list! Can’t wait to see this Sylvain…

    Madeline – Thank you for weighing in! ‘Daq shacks’ — learn something new every day! :)

  9. Jessie

    I visited New Orleans for the first time last October, it had been on my bucket list for year, and it is such a magical city! Of course all of my recommendations revolve around food – I made a list of popular NOLA cuisine and made sure to cross something off at every restaurant I tried. Po boys, red beans and rice, alligator meatballs, Pimm’s cups, beignets, muffalettas, etc. Napoleon House is lovely, Root was delicious. I loved just wandering through the French Quarter. I found the most adorable old used bookstore. Check out Upperlyne Co. and Joy the Baker for excellent city guides.

  10. Jenna

    Thanks! Bemelmans is truly special isn’t it? Sorry, I keep thinking of recommendations – the WWII Museum and the botanical gardens are also great and good ways to escape the heat for a couple of hours in the afternoon. :) Enjoy!

  11. Katie Armour Post author

    Jessie – Alligator meatballs?! This is going to be an adventure. Thanks for all the fun ideas!

    Jenna – My boyfriend is a history buff so the museum sounds like must! Thanks for stopping by again :)

  12. Alexandra

    My absolute favorite was Dante’s Kitchen in New Orleans. It’s off the beaten path, so you might have to cab it out there, but it is by far one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten anywhere!

  13. Hillary | Honey Hive Home

    Okay, so this might be an aggressively long comment, but we’re starting our cross-country road trip this Sunday and New Orleans is one of our first stops. I’ve been compiling ideas from various guides into a Google doc, and here’s what I’ve got so far for New Orleans. I’ll definitely be adding additional suggestions from these comments!

    -Audubon Park:
    One of New Orleans’s greatest treasures, Audubon Park, located in Uptown, is a favorite spot for recreation and picnics, boasting a tranquil 1.8 mile jogging path under astounding ancient live oak trees, a lagoon, picnic shelters, playgrounds, tennis courts, and soccer field. It also abuts “the Levee,” a spot locals visit to lay out and picnic by the Mississippi River.
    -Cafe du Monde (beignets):
    -The Garden District:
    This western subdistrict of New Orleans is well known for its beautiful ancient oak trees, which provide great shade on the city’s many hot days. The area is also considered one of the best-preserved collections of Southern mansions in the U.S., with opulent architecture at every turn.
    -Boucherie (lunch or dinner):
    -Cochon Butcher (bacon melt sandwich):
    -Liuzza’s by the Track (po boys):
    -Lower Ninth Ward:
    If you have a car, you can hire a guide ($10 to $30 per person depending on group size) from, a nonprofit rebuilding group (504-344-4884); all the proceeds go to their work in the neighborhood.
    -Satsuma Cafe (coffee + food):
    -Spotted Cat Music Club (swing music; usually one-drink minimum):
    -Bacchanal (bar; hibiscus old fashioned):
    -The Occasional Wife (organizing store!):
    -Hattie Sparks:

  14. Katie Armour Post author

    Alexandra – Adding Dante’s Kitchen to our list. Thank you!

    Hillary – SO awesome! I can’t wait to pour over your list. Copying and pasting to our New Orleans Google Doc :) Thanks so much!

  15. CV

    I second the recommendations for Cafe Beignet on Royal St. The courtyard setting is lovely and the beignets and cafe au lait are outstanding. Much better atmosphere than the touristy Cafe du Monde, IMHO.

    One of my favorite stops in the French Quarter is Hove perfumes on Chartes St. This tiny shop has an old world atmosphere and very special scents. I brought home a travel size, solid version of Carnavale, which was probably my favorite souvenir of the trip.

    I had a fabulous cocktail (a Sazerac, of course!) at Kingfish at the corner of Chartes and Conte Streets, and loved window shopping fedoras at Meyer the Hatter on St. Charles Ave. in the Central Business District. Take a spin on the St. Charles streetcar if you are in that area.

    To get in the mood for your visit, listen to anything by the incredible John Boutte:

    Before I went, I binge-watched every episode of the excellent HBO series Treme, which is set in the era just after Katrina and is like a crash course in NOLA culture. Here’s the final scene, with another magical song by Boutte:

    New Orleans is an intoxicating blend of music, architecture, food and culture. Have a great trip!

  16. Katie Armour Post author

    CV – Loving your recs! I am going to have to watch Treme before we leave. And now, off to watch the YouTube links you posted! Thanks so much!

  17. Chesa

    I live an hour away, and Herbsaint is my favorite restaurant. So many great places. Check out the menu for Cafe Degas on Esplanade too. Go to the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone for a Pimm’s Cup or the Napoleon House has great Pimm’s too. District Donuts is great, but I would still wait in line for Cafe Du Monde to get the traditional beignet and cafe au lait. There are always street performers and it’s an institution. Check to see what live music might be playing on Frenchman street- great acts come through the Republic, the Civic, the Saenger, HOB, etc. So fun! Don’t stand in line at Mothers. The end. :)

  18. Jess

    My top recommendations are Peche for seafood, Maurepas for a boozy lunch or great dinner, Shaya for something a bit lighter, and Bachanal for some casual entertainment while sipping on cocktails or wine.

    Spending an afternoon on Royal Street with a cocktail is a must. They have some insane high-end furniture and jewelry shops. Then plan another day to explore Magazine Street between Louisiana Avenue and Jackson Street. There are tons of reasonably priced boutiques and restaurants.

    These are where all the locals go!

  19. Cortney

    Please share your secrets . . where do you find all these eligible men waiting in the wings? I’ve just about given up after 3 years living in NYC. Many congrats to you – and you’re making me consider a move to the Midwest!

  20. Megan

    Faulkner House Books on Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter is well, well, well worth a visit.

  21. Claire

    I grew up in NOLA and my parents still live there. I won’t visit between June and September so you are braver than I.
    I’ll second Napoleon House for a Pimms cup, shopping on Magazine uptown (Hazelnut, of course) and Royal in the French Quarter (all of the antiques). Take the streetcar down St. Charles to ogle the mansions. Get out of the city and go to Laura Plantation for a tour of a Creole plantation that has the slaves’ quarters intact. Go to the Ogden for Southern art. Listen to live music on Frenchman St or at Tipitina’s or Preservation Hall or anywhere really.
    Restaurants to add to the above, in no particular order: Coquette (if duck, scallops, or soft shell crab are on the menu that night you cannot go wrong), R’evolution (house gumbo beats my dad’s but don’t tell him I said that!), Carollton Market, Patois, Domenica (start with a sazerac at the Sazerac Bar in the same hotel lobby and then order all of the vegetables on the menu at Domenica), Mariza, Elizabeth’s, Satsuma, St. Jame’s Cheese (Gruyere sandwich), Croissant D’or for pastries. Have a drink at the Carousel Bar, the Columns hotel, and the Golden Lantern really does have the best Bloody Mary in town. Skip Bourbon St.

  22. Meredith

    Sounds like so much fun! We visited New Orleans in 2013 and had one delicious meal after the other. Feel free to check out our post –

    I would also download the free Find.Eat.Drink app if you don’t already have it for recommendations for chefs and other food industry professionals. This was super helpful to us in New Orleans.

    I think you’d also love the Hattie Sparks boutique and Loomed for the best Turkish towels. Have fun!

  23. WKWR

    Looks like suggestions are on point so far! Would second Commander’s Palace (saw James Carville there when I visited last — and he’s a local!) and shopping on Magazine. Definitely try some fried alligator or cochon de lait (don’t look it up, just eat it!) if you see it on a menu somewhere. Since it’s your first time, you just have to do Bourbon Street, a least for a little bit. My all-time favorite spot is Pat O’ Brien’s – their dueling pianos are a blast!! Have fun! xx.

  24. Alli Eagan

    Definitely go to Bevolo’s French Quarter Studio and shop – You will seriously want to design a house around a gas lamp! The craftsmen are working in the back – sit with a pimm’s cup and watch the magic. It is truly one of a kind! They are famed throughout the world for the most exquisite lighting.

    I posted a pic there last summer on instagram: @francophiledallas

    Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  25. Lorina Binning

    I just got back from NOLA! I was soo blown away from this beautiful city. The good was soo amazing. I loved Jacques-imos by the Garden district. The alligator cheesecake sounds scary but was surprisingly delicious! I seriously did not have one bad meal at all- also check out the gumbo shop in French quarter. We also had beignets at cafe du monde which was delicious, but I heard that cafe beignet and morning call in City Park is better. Morning call is less touristy and more authentic according to a l

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