New Orleans: Taking It Easy in The Big Easy

new orleans

New Orleans' French Quarter; photos by Neil Roach

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!

pink building, New Orleans

Garden District, New Orleans

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.

New Orleans snow balls

Hansen's Sno-Bliz has been serving these delicious snow balls since 1939; photo by Infrogmation/flickr

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!

Airboat Adventure Tours

Louisiana Swamplands

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.

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10 Responses to New Orleans: Taking It Easy in The Big Easy

  1. Angela
    Twitter: angelacorrias
    April 19, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    Very nice, New Orleans is indeed one of the cities that most intrigue me in the US.
    Angela recently posted..Shanghai Museum- an exquisite sample of China

  2. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    April 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Yum! I’ve only been there for work — time to revisit on a foodie vacation.
    Abby recently posted..Why I traveled 5070 miles to go to TBU

  3. Don Faust
    Twitter: DonFaustPhoto
    April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    We used to live in Louisiana at different times (Baton Rouge and New Orleans) and we always love to go back, especially to participate in Mardi Gras. You MUST go to Commmander’s Palace in the Garden District for their jazz brunch. For me, it better than almost anything in NOLA.
    Don Faust recently posted..Nobu Sushi on the Crystal Symphony

  4. Marsha April 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I really enjoyed traveling to New Orleans. It’s been way too long since I’ve been back. Hopefully soon!
    Marsha recently posted..Weekend Intelligence- April 17-18- 2011

  5. Nicole @ WomanSeeksWorld
    Twitter: WomanSeeksWorld
    April 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks fab – I want to visit the Garden District!
    Nicole @ WomanSeeksWorld recently posted..5 Super Relaxing Summer Holiday Destinations

  6. Raymond @manonthelam
    Twitter: manonthelam1
    April 20, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    More alligators? I’m thinking they tend to follow you… :)
    Raymond @manonthelam recently posted..Life and Death in Peru — The Plight of the Humble Guinea Pig

  7. Sabrina
    Twitter: countryskipper
    April 21, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    How fun!! Sounds like an amazing weekend. I wish I had read this before I went last September. Still had fun, but I would have loved to try the snowball/ice cream from your picture :) Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a swamp tour and had to opt for the zoo instead where they have a fairly large swamp exhibit. Did you see crocodiles??
    Sabrina recently posted..Let’s Hang Out Sometime… or German Directness in Texas

  8. Laura
    Twitter: gomexicoguide
    April 21, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. I traveled there a few times for Mardi Gras and returned a few years later to help with the reconstruction efforts after Katrina, but it’s been a long time since my last visit. The airboat sounds like a cool experience. Great tips! :)
    Laura recently posted..Your Tours Featured on the Friday Explorer

  9. Cailin
    Twitter: cailinoneil
    April 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    I’ve been dying to go there for a long time! :)
    Cailin recently posted..Favorite Film Friday 013

  10. sofia - as we travel May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I’d love to visit New Orleans some time. Those snow balls seem delicious!

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