New Orleans

We don’t travel every year for Christmas, but occasionally we like to get out of town and experience a new place for the holiday. This year we chose New Orleans because my parents hadn’t been there since the seventies and my sister and I had never been. Parts of it are very charming (Garden District, Magazine St., Audubon Park), there’s obviously great food and it’s a very easy city to walk. There were some surprises, like how the French Quarter is so so touristy and quite seedy in some areas – read Bourbon Street; but overall I would recommend a visit to New Orleans to see the diversity, history and charm of the city. I know there’s more to see and eat, than I had the chance to do, so no doubt I’ll be back!

What exactly did we do, you may ask? Here’s a list of recommendations and considerations:

  • Garden District – one of my favorite parts of town. Old homes with the columns and porches. Home to Lafayette Cemetery no. 1.
  • Magazine Street – a popular street with shops and restaurants. It’s pretty long, with three main stretches of commercial businesses. I recommend all of them. Extends from the Garden District east, all the way to Audubon Park.
  • Rue Royal (French Quarter) – while I wasn’t in love with the French Quarter, it is a place to be and worth a visit. Make sure to check out Rue Royal with the galleries and antique stores.
  • Ride a street car – I recommend the St. Charles line out to the Garden District and Audubon Park, easy access to Magazine St. too.
  • Frenchman St. – the real nightlife area. Live music clubs and restaurants abound. We had dinner at Three Muses, which was delicious food and great entertainment.
  • Cooking Demonstration and lunch – we spent a morning at The New Orleans School of Cooking watching Chef Kevin make some southern/creole classics including shrimp&artichoke cream soup, crayfish etouffee, bread pudding and pralines. He’s a charismatic guy with a wealth of knowledge. Definitely entertaining, informational and fun!
  • Swamp Tour – it was actually really cool. We did this one, which had smaller covered boats, and a guide with loads of information.
  • Doris Metropolitan (dinner restaurant) – I believe it opened in June or July 2014; we had some Christmas magic happen and ate here on Christmas night. It was AMAZING. It’s a steak house that dry ages all of their meat – a big windowed room is on the corner of their location with easy viewing of their dry aging meats. Highly recommended.
  • Toast (breakfast/lunch restaurant) – cute place, and tasty food! Recommended by Eater and was worth the further trip out because it’s close to magazine street so we were able to walk around a bit after.
  • Cafe du Monde – Obviously. Just go. It’s good. Tip: tables are first come first serve, so while you may see a long line at one of the entrances, you can walk around to any door and grab an open table.
  • Books read – I like to read books that take place in, or have to do with places that I visit. I had already read a couple, but picked out a few more for the trip. I think I liked The Awakening the best, but also finally read A Streetcar Named Desire and Interview with the Vampire.