With its fabulous food, colorful architecture and joie de vivre attitude, New Orleans is one of America’s best cities to visit. While the population did not fully return after the devastating Hurricane Katrina and some of Downtown’s office buildings remain unoccupied, The Crescent City’s culinary and cultural scene is as rich as ever. When you visit New Orleans, it feels like a true escape, as Amanda Lobell and Neil Roach found during their week in The Big Easy in March. They found plenty to explore beyond and indulge in beyond the famous Bourbon Street!
Where They Stayed: We stayed at the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel — our room was huge! My father, who came with us on the trip, chose it, as he had stayed there on past trips to New Orleans and liked the the traditional feel and the location. It’s very near but not actually in the French Quarter, which is great because the atmosphere is calmer and quieter. We could still walk to the French Quarter and also to the Warehouse District, which has cool restaurants and galleries. If you’re looking for something a bit younger and hipper, there’s a W right next door to the Windsor. You can also find plenty of hotel deals in New Orleans.
What They Ate: New Orleans is known for its food, and it did not disappoint! We had a fun dinner complete with a tour of the private rooms used by Mardi Gras krewes at Antoine’s, one of the oldest restaurants in New Orleans.
We also had an amazing dinner at Emeril’s, where we were lucky enough to sit right in the kitchen at the chef’s table. We watched all the action as the chefs prepared the food and eat a delicious tasting menu.
And of course we also loved our beignets and chicory coffee at the famous Cafe du Monde!
We also visited some restaurants that are part of New Orleans’s newer dining scene. Of these, our favorite was our lunch at Cochon Butcher in the Warehouse District— the sandwiches were all amazing.
Neil had heard about Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which is famous for sno-balls (shaved ice with syrup — a New Orleans favorite), and was determined to visit. Hansen’s is said to have the best sno-balls in the city and has been around for decades, and has changed very little!. You can create all sorts of fancy flavor combinations with toppings like whipped cream, condensed milk, etc. We kept things pretty simple with two basic flavors: lemonade and satsuma (like clementine or tangerine). It was indeed delicious!
Outdoor Activities: We had a fun swamplands tour outside of the city with Airboat Adventures. We saw lots of alligators on our airboat ride, and I was happy that the Louisiana swamp was actually very different in vegetation and feel than the swamps we saw in the Everglades earlier this year.
We also enjoyed our visits to City Park and Audubon Park, and a lovely walk though the Garden District. Just walking around in the warm New Orleans weather was a treat for us after a freezing Boston winter.