Start off the day right with one of the best coffees in town. Stumptown has several branches all over America. Once you have your coffee in hand take a look around the lobby of the ACE Hotel. It has a bar with cozy lounge seats and sofas and rugs.
If you get up early enough head down with a friend to the Riverwalk, the best way to access it is around Canal Street. I got down there at 6.30am just in time to see the awesome sunrise with the famous Steamboat the Natchez in the foreground.
Love this Mardi Gras jester too. I did not take a ride on the steamboat, but I know you can do two-hour cruises on the Mississipi.
Remember to look up when you are walking around this area. I walked straight down Julia street, and there are so many amazing old buildings signs and warehouses which make great photos.
When I was researching New Orleans, the focus is usually on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. There is still lots to see in this area like the St Louis Cathedral which is located just opposite Jackson Square. This square used to be where public executions would take place, of criminals and disobedient slaves. The building next door to the Cathedral is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Thank you to my friend Jacqui Phillips for putting up with me bossing her around. I lined up the shots and she snapped the ones which I am in.
Buildings in this area are stunningly beautiful with many festooned with plants, mardi gras beads, flowers and the trademark ornate balconies. This one on Royal Street was my favourite.
There are lots of places to eat Beignets in New Orleans with the Cafe Du Monde being very popular. But I found this cute cafe called Cafe Beignet (one of its sister cafe) which was quieter and therefore easier to get a table. Beignets are square doughnuts covered in lots and lots of powder sugar (icing sugar).
And then in the Hotel Monteleone, you will find the carousel bar in the Carousel room. This bar goes round and round in a circle, albeit it slowly, thank goodness. The bar gets quite busy, so head there when it opens around 11 am. Preferably not on the weekend.
Go for the Hotel’s signature New Orleans drink the Vieux Carre. Whiskey, Cognac, Vermouth. Benedictine, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura bitters. I managed to drink one before the spinning Carousel bar became a little bit too much 🙂
I mentioned that Bourbon Street et al. in the French Quarter is the area which gets all the attention. There’s lots of history there which is a must-see for sure. However, Faubourg Marigny and Bywater are two areas which need to be on your list. Bywater is predominantly a residential area, but the candy coloured houses are beyond cute.
And eclectic pop-up thrifts shops.
Bakeries, bookstores and super cool walls galore.
Found this bakery.. and my dress was the same colour. RESULT.
The Bywater bakery is full of the usual delicious treats. But I ate something there, that I had never had before…. Unicorn Poop! A meringue in pretty unicorn colours.
A short Uber ride away from the Bywater area is City Park. We spent an age gazing at the 600-year-old oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss.
And watching the boaters on the river.
After you have bonded with mother nature jump a Streetcar.
And head up to Commander’s Palace for traditional food and cocktails in traditional surroundings (smart attire required). We did not make it inside but hovered around outside in awe of the candy coloured building against the ocean coloured sky.
Seaworthy does some interesting dishes and has a cool bar for cocktails
For your nighttime music fix, Faubourg Marigny’s main street is lined with many bars screaming jazz music. I highly recommend a bar crawl, and time spent watching the brilliant street musicians too. I did try Bourbon Street at night, but it was not for me.
To get the best out of this New Orleans go (safely) off the beaten track. Put on your Louisiana tinted glasses and enjoy this gem of the south.