A Local’s Guide to New Orleans in 2023

Written by: Alexa Pulitzer


Published on: April 13, 2023


Photo courtesy of Hotel Peter and Paul

Alexa Pulitzer is a New Orleans native and a designer.

Greetings from the best place on earth: New Orleans! No one lives in New Orleans passively. People make an active choice to be here, as the living is not easy, but the locals will tell you exactly why and when they made the decision to move here. Though it has always been rich in culture, the revitalization after the Katrina devastation and debacle has meant a tremendous influx of new inhabitants, businesses, renovations, buildings, and schools. It’s a fascinating time to be here to watch the city reach new potentials while keeping itself firmly grounded in its culinary and historic roots.

The key to understanding New Orleans is getting out of the French Quarter and experiencing what the rest of us simply call day-to-day life in other neighborhoods such as Uptown, Mid-City, the West Bank, the Lower Garden District, the Marigny, the Bywater, Tremé, and the 7th Ward. Although we primarily spend time living life to the fullest at our restaurants, music clubs, and parks, we also eat beignets and suck crawfish, listen to music in every gritty crevice, and take our kids to the swamp to feed marshmallows to the gators.

So here is a list that will make your trip worthwhile and keep you coming back for more. Scroll for a seven-day itinerary and my best recommendations for what to do, where to see live music, where to eat, where to drink, where to stay, and more.

And when you need a new list—one with realtors and contractors—hit me up. I’ll send you that, too.

Before you come, watch:

5h3aqQTQdis5Indqf6UQgk" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">New Orleans playlist, which is worth listening to.)

  • Down by Law
    A 1986 cult film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. A pimp, a DJ (Tom Waits), and an Italian immigrant (Roberto Benigni) are arrested in New Orleans and find themselves housed in the same jail cell.

  • The Princess and the Frog
    Disney’s love letter to New Orleans is set in New Orleans during the 1920s and happens to be my favorite Disney film.

  • Treme
    Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, this drama series from The Wire executive producers David Simon and Eric Overmyer follows the lives of ordinary residents as they struggle with the aftereffects of the 2005 hurricane.

  • Before you come, read:

    • The World That Made New Orleans by Ned Sublette
      A good historical reference for anyone who wants to know how New Orleans came to be the most northern Caribbean city.

    • Gambit Weekly
      Music, politics, and food. What else is there?

    • | The New Orleans Advocate
      Daily news.

    • Louisiana Cookin’
      Not super slick but a good compilation of recipes by local chefs and local cooks.

    A Week in New Orleans: What I Do

    New Orleans is a city full of inherent tourist draws to keep any visitor enamored for a long stay. But when I travel, I like to have an inside scoop on what locals like to do. As a native of my beloved city, please allow me to introduce you to some of my favorite things to do in New Orleans.


    New Orleans has a peerless cocktail pedigree (the Sazerac, the old-fashioned, the grasshopper, the Ramos gin fizz, and the Pimm’s cup are all local specialties). My favorite spots to try these cocktails include N7, the Napoleon House, the French 75 Bar, the Elysian Bar, and Cure. At the Hermes Bar in the annex of Antoine’s Restaurant, you can order from the oldest menu in town. My favorites are oysters Rockefeller, oysters à la Foch, shrimp remoulade, crabmeat ravigote, and baked Alaska (a dessert, which you must order when you order your cocktails, as it takes time to prepare). Afterward, listen to my dear friend Ben Jaffe blow his tuba or play the upright bass with his band: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Preservation Hall, a legendary institution with live traditional jazz at 5 p.m., 6:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:45 p.m. Prepurchase your tickets to avoid the line at Preservation Hall does not serve alcohol, therefore children are welcome. Mine adore it! It’s our church.


    Photo courtesy of Preservation Hall


    Eat lunch at R’evolution, a John Folse fine-dining establishment in the French Quarter. After lunch, stroll down Royal Street to go antiquing and visit the New Orleans Historic Collection and A Gallery for Fine Photography. For dinner, enjoy a modern Creole meal at Brigtsen’s or Clancy’s before heading to the Maple Leaf to hear the Rebirth Brass Band. You never know who you’ll run into at this local haunt. I’ve hung with Radiohead and Jude Law at the Leaf. If you’re Downtown, shake your tail feather at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro or Preservation Hall.


    Photo courtesy of the Historic New Orleans Collection


    Enjoy lunch in the Warehouse District at Herbsaint, right by a cluster of captivating institutions including the Ogden Museum and the National WWII Museum (not to be missed). For dinner, enjoy an Ottolenghi-inspired menu with a sexy vibe and playlist at Doris Metropolitan. I enjoy eating at the bar when I can’t get a table. After dinner, check out my new music club, the Toulouse Theatre in the French Quarter, which presents the finest music talent as well as the swankiest rock and rollers passing through the Big Easy. If you’re Uptown, check out Peter Harris Trio at the Bayou Bar (in the Pontchartrain Hotel). It’s mind-blowing who ends up playing in that intimate room. Seriously, the Bayou Bar is a special jazz club, and the best nights are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Get there at 6 p.m. to secure a table, as they don’t take reservations.



    Enjoy lunch at Saba, where Israeli-born chef Alon Shaya will inspire you to hop the next plane to the Mediterranean Sea with his divine cuisine. Or Turkey and the Wolf, a tiny corner sandwich shop and bar that managed to make Bon Appétit magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2017 issue, topping the glossy’s Hot 10 list. Its mismatched plates and cutlery hold dreamy sandwiches made by two local chefs who have paid their dues in respected local kitchens. Sunny and crammed, it’s a true New Orleans experience worth the wait for a seat or barstool. Afterward, check out all the cool stores on Magazine Street.

    Thursday evening

    This is the night to head into the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Enjoy happy hour listening to Jon Cleary tickle the ivories at DBA on Frenchmen Street or whoever is playing in the garden at Bacchanal Wine. Enjoy dinner at Paladar 511 or N7. After dinner, head back to Frenchmen Street to check out the array of live music and move your dancing feet to the music of New Orleans street musicians.



    Every New Orleanian has had several eight-hour drunken lunches at Galatoire’s, the quintessential NOLA restaurant. Gents, wear your sport coat, and ladies, look your best. My favorite menu items include shrimp remoulade, oysters Rockefeller, crabmeat maison, stuffed eggplant, crabmeat Sardou, trout amandine, and café brûlot, to end. Ladies, watch your hair when they set the table on fire! When you finally stumble out of Galatoire’s, you must find music. Just a block away, Jeremy Davenport will be crooning on the third floor of the Ritz-Carlton. Walk another stone’s skip away to Mahogany Jazz Hall to catch whoever is kicking it up onstage or make your way to Snug Harbor Jazz and listen to living jazz legends. If you like burlesque, head to the Royal Sonesta hotel just before midnight to catch Trixie Minx’s Burlesque Ballroom.



    Hopefully you wake up, and when you do, check the local live music listings and then plan your evening around what you will listen to. Honestly, why else did you come to NOLA? Spend the day exploring boutiques and antique stores and grab lunch near Magazine Street. For lunch, there’s Lilette, La Petite Grocery, Coquette. Try the best fried seafood at Casamento’s. Or brunch at Atchafalaya, with do-it-yourself Bloody Marys, new bayou dishes, and a packed jazz brunch scene. If a food coma does not strike you down early, head back to Frenchmen Street to check out the live music at Snug Harbor, La Maison, the Spotted Cat, or DBA. PS: You could do this any day of the week; however, most retail stores are not open on Sundays.

    Saturday evening

    For dinner, enjoy a unique five-course tasting meal prepared by chef Ana Castro at Lengua Madre in the Lower Garden District. Chef Castro was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2022, and Lengua Madre was also recognized as a Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit last year. If you’re feeling frisky, pretend you’re in Paris and dine in the hip brasserie Justine and savor traditional French fare by James Beard Award–winning chef Justin Devillier. Nobody’s falling asleep in their soup here with a nightly DJ and a regular schedule of fangirls, drag queens, and dancers strolling through the most gorgeous restaurant in the French Quarter. This place delivers irreverent revelry and serves dinner till 2 a.m. Thank you very much!


    Photos courtesy of Denny Culbert


    Enjoy a lively jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace. Afterward, walk across the street and stroll through the second oldest cemetery in the city. Continue with an afternoon walk through the picturesque Garden District, where some of New Orleans’s most fantastic moody mansions are situated. Finish your day exploring the Music Box Village, my favorite haunt in the Bywater, or visit the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden in City Park. Should you crave an afternoon snack, indulge in beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde behind the sculpture garden. The WWII Museum, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art are also musts.


    Photos courtesy of Commander’s Palace

    What to Do and See

    Listen to live music wherever you can find it. Buy local music at the Louisiana Music Factory, Euclid Records, and Peaches. Check out my new music club, Toulouse Theatre, and Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. Catch live music on Frenchmen Street. My faves are Snug Harbor, DBA, Maison, the Blue Nile, and the Spotted Cat.

    Channel your inner child or rock star and visit the Music Box Village in the Bywater to play their musical houses or experience one of their curated concerts. Prepurchase tickets at Stroll down Magazine Street or through the French Quarter, but travel on Royal Street and Chartres Street instead of Bourbon Street. In fact, do not set foot on Bourbon. GAG!

    Spend the morning walking through City Park and Audubon Park. My favorite walk is Couturie Forest. In City Park, visit the Sculpture Garden, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, City Putt, Storyland, Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, the Botanical Garden, and Café du Monde (beignets!).

    Play golf at some of the public golf courses around the city: The City Park and Audubon Park courses are easy to access.

    Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art (in City Park) and make time to see the Sculpture Garden (which is free!).

    The World War II Museum exhibits cover the epic and global scale of the war that changed the world and is a national attraction.

    At Jean Lafitte National Park, walk through significant examples of the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta region. It’s a 30-minute drive from the Quarter.

    The Whitney Plantation is a newer museum an hour upriver exploring the history and legacy of enslavement in the South.

    At the Ogden Museum of Art on Thursday evenings, you can catch a concert with food, cocktails, art for the kids.

    The Sazerac House is free and has fantastic interactive exhibits that tell the story of how coffee houses and pharmacies in the French Quarter became the first bars and meeting places.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans. An incredible asset for research.

    The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a circa-1823 apothecary with exhibits of early medicines and superstitious cures.

    The Backstreet Cultural Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’s African American community-based masking and processional traditions, including Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, Baby Dolls, and Skull and Bone gangs.

    St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 is less visited than its more famous brothers, but this expanse of marble and stone showcases the raised graves that distinguish our local cemeteries.

    Scour through vintage and rare editions at Faulkner House Books next to St. Louis Cathedral in the Quarter.

    Check out contemporary art on Julia Street, aka Gallery Row, and enjoy lunch at Pêche or dinner at Emeril’s.


    Before you arrive, check out who is performing at these state-of-the-art venues: George and Joyce Wein Heritage Center, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the US Mint, and the New Orleans Jazz Market. And my favorites: Preservation Hall, the Bayou Bar, Tipitina’s, Toulouse Theatre, and the Music Box Village.

    As soon as you arrive in New Orleans, turn your radio dial to WWOZ 90.7. Go see and hear as much live music as possible while you are in town. My faves are below:

    • Galactic (funk)

    • George Porter Jr. (bassist/funk)

    • Cory Henry (trombonist/funk)

    • Donald Harrison (saxophonist)

    • Kermit Ruffins (trumpeter/vocals/rap)

    • James Andrews (Satchmo of the Ghetto)

    • Trumpet Mafia (it’s all in the name!)

    • Wendell Brunious (trumpeter)

    • Mark Braud (trumpeter)

    • Kevin Louis (trumpeter)

    • Ashlin Parker (trumpeter)

    • John Michael Bradford (trumpeter/vocals)

    • Peter Harris (bassist/bandleader)

    • Black Magic Drumline (pure joy in the streets)

    • Lost Bayou Ramblers (Grammy-winning Cajun band)

    • Tab Benoit (blues)

    • John Boutté (singer/jazz/gospel)

    • Tyrone Foster & the Arc Singers (gospel)

    • Joe Lastie’s New Orleans Sound (drummer)

    • Preservation Hall Jazz Band (traditional jazz)

    • Jon Cleary (R&B piano/vocals)

    • David Torkanowsky (my favorite pianist)

    • Stanton Moore Trio (New Orleans drummer)

    • Shannon Powell (New Orleans drummer)

    • Herlin Riley (neo-bop jazz drummer)

    • Trombone Shorty (one-man rock star!)

    • Nicholas Payton (pianist and trumpeter)

    • NOJO (New Orleans Jazz Orchestra)

    • 79rs Gang (New Orleans brass band)

    • The Soul Rebels (New Orleans brass band)

    • Rebirth Brass Band (New Orleans brass band)

    • The Treme Brass Band (New Orleans brass band)

    • Dee Dee Bridgewater (jazz vocalist)

    • Irma Thomas (queen of soul)

    • Boyfriend (rap cabaret)

    • Tank and the Bangas (R&B)

    • Helen Gillet (Belgian cello-playing chanteuse)

    • Judith Owen (Welsh piano-playing chanteuse)

    TO BOOK LIVE MUSICIANS: David Torkanowsky | 504.232.7464 | [email protected]


    • Zasu
      Superb fish restaurant in Mid-City for sophisticated cuisine, headed up by James Beard Award–winning chef Sue Zemanick.

    • N7
      Offbeat destination with seafood dishes, craft cocktails, and a stellar wine list in eclectic digs with a stunning garden to dine in.

    • Paladar 511
      Hip Italian restaurant in the Bywater. If they have the tuna crudo on the menu, order it. Heck, order two!

    • Lilette
      Chef John Harris’s sophisticated French fare in a sexy, sun-filled, stylish space. It’s next door to Bouligny Tavern, a stylish Uptown after-dinner scene.

    • Lengua Madre
      I can’t get enough of this refined eatery because it’s different from anything here. A modern Mexican restaurant in the Lower Garden District serving up the most divine five-course tasting menu.

    • Jack Rose
      Fun is the goal at this lively restaurant inside the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. The restaurant took its cues from the hotel’s popular and lively rooftop bar, Hot Tin, and looks like it was decorated with finds from estate sales—except for its portrait of Lil Wayne by local pop artist Ashley Longshore.

    • Brigtsen’s
      Modern Creole fare by acclaimed chef Frank Brigtsen, served in a cozy Victorian cottage. Order one of everything! Literally, try it all. Nobody does it better than Frank.

    • Clancy’s
      Old-school New Orleans. The best menu in Uptown hasn’t changed in decades.

    • Emeril’s
      If you’re going to have a blowout and eat New Orleans food, this is your best choice. Chef Emeril Lagasse’s first NOLA eatery is still tried-and-true after 25-plus years. Sit at the bar. You’ll see what I mean.

    • Coquette
      An Uptown neighborhood gathering place offering contemporary Southern cuisine with an emphasis on locally sourced products and international inspiration.

    • Mister Mao
      A tropical roadhouse in an Uptown cottage with a creative kitchen devoted to robust flavors.

    • Justine
      This hip Parisian-style brasserie in the French Quarter is headed up by James Beard Award–winning chef Justin Devillier and his wife, Mia. They serve traditional French fare till 2 a.m. (along with a DJ and burlesque).

    • Arnaud’s
      This Louisiana Creole fine-dining establishment is one of the city’s classics. The elegant early-19th-century main dining room, with its huge expanse of etched leaded glass, is where you want to sit. Guests routinely spend three hours at the table as if nothing else mattered. Swiftly moving tuxedo-clad waiters glide along the patterned ceramic-tile floors; they bear pots of café brûlot emitting blue flames and the aroma of citrus, liqueur, and spices. A must.

    • Doris Metropolitan
      It’s dubbed an Israeli steak house, but it has an überchic modern metropolitan feel. And it’s delicious. Being a vegetarian, I love the stuffed beet, tomato, and calamari salad. Reservations are required, but if not possible, the bar is a great alternative.

    • Galatoire’s
      I’ve celebrated countless birthdays at this historic quintessential New Orleans restaurant. We once had lunch and our beverage total was 10 times the cost of our food. Every local has their favorite waiter—I love Casey and Rachelle. Don’t even think about asking to see a menu, for you will look like a tourist. Just ask what’s fresh! Jackets required for gents (they’ll have one for you at the door if you forget).

    • Bouligny Tavern
      New Orleans is awesome because it’s cool to visit from New York and go out to dinner and see music in flip-flops and cargo shorts, but sometimes you want to dress up and have really nice drinks and outstanding small plates in a hip atmosphere. Amen, Bouligny! Super mid-century design inside a 100-plus-year-old New Orleans residence. Chef John Harris, the owner, really does wear that ’70s ’stache and spin vinyl.

    • Pêche
      Outstanding seafood restaurant by chef Donald Link of Cochon and Herbsaint. Great loftlike atmosphere, incredible whole fish, and a great Bloody Mary.

    • Luvi
      Luvi provides some of the best Japanese food in the city, and Han runs an outstanding restaurant.

    • Commander’s Palace
      The grande dame of New Orleans cuisine. Great for big groups or romantic dinners. Oh, and go for Sunday brunch and start drinking brandy milk punches at 11 a.m. Now you understand New Orleans.

    • Cochon
      Real Cajun/Creole/Southern food by James Beard Award–winning chef Donald Link (mentioned above). This is the only place in the city you should order gumbo.

    More-Affordable Places to Eat

    • El Pavo Real
      This traditional Mexican café in the Broadmoor neighborhood is low-key and affordable. Save room for dessert.

    • Butcher
      Awesome sandwich shop run by the Cochon folks (aka Donald Link). The cookies? Holy smokes! Hands down the best gumbo in town. I order it to take away when I’m hosting folks from out of town.

    • Casamento’s
      This third-generation oyster bar has some of the freshest local oysters in town, delicious raw, fried, or cooked. The French fries are fresh-cut, and the seafood is always cooked to order. Closed in the summer.

    • La Boulangerie
      French bakery with decadent pastries, breads, king cakes, and sandwiches. Operated by Donald Link.

    • Turkey and the Wolf
      Innovative sandwiches featuring local ingredients like chicken-fried Louisiana wagyu are served alongside shareable snacks and creative cocktails at this playful Irish Channel hangout helmed by two Coquette alumni.

    • Stein’s
      New Orleans’s best (only?) proper Jewish and Italian deli where you can get an awesome Reuben, BLT, or turkey on rye. Loads of beers by the bottle and fancy-schmancy soft drinks.

    • Café Degas
      A Faubourg St. John staple offering contemporary French fare in an outdoor setting.

    • Saba
      Alon Shaya’s Uptown bistro with family-style platters of locally sourced Middle Eastern fare and outdoor dining.

    • Mopho
      Mike Gulotta and his brother Jeff, the former executive chef and general manager of Restaurant August, opened a super cool, super hip restaurant in Mid-City where the staff wears hipster-chic mechanic’s shirts. It’s Southeast Asia meets New Orleans. Big outdoor patio, whole pig roast on Saturdays, alcoholic boba tea. It’s a hospitality-industry industry hangout and a delicious place to grab lunch, dinner, or a drink.

    • 1000 Figs
      Amazing Middle Eastern food (aka incredible falafel platter, and I lived in the Marais!).

    • St. James Cheese Company
      You can’t eat Creole food every day. Go here for a gourmet ploughman’s platter or the best sandwich Uptown.

    • Fritai
      In the Tremé, behind Armstrong Park. Not your typical Haitian restaurant. One of my favorite casual dining experiences, and William serves fabulous cocktails.

    • Elizabeth’s
      The graffiti on the outside of the building includes important information, such as opening hours. Get there early on Sundays. Try the brown-sugared bacon.


    • Bar Marilou (inside Maison de la Luz)
      Specialty cocktails with live music and stunning interior design.

    • Jewel of the South
      A New Orleans–feeling specialty cocktail bar and restaurant with amazing cocktails. Great way to start or end your evening because they serve divine food until midnight and have a lovely private courtyard.

    • The Columns
      Pretty Baby was filmed in this magical St. Charles Avenue manse, which has just been refurbished by my mates. Enjoy cocktails on the porch while listening to live music and the streetcars passing. I met Jude Law and Sean Penn here back in 2005. Just sayin’.

    • Hotel Saint Vincent
      Not just the coolest hotel in town, but a perfect place for cocktails alfresco.

    • The Chloe
      An Uptown boutique hotel where the local tastemakers flock. Grab a bite and a cocktail before heading off to other destinations. You can also enjoy breakfast and lunch here or savor a nightcap.

    • Bouligny Tavern
      A very chic space designed by Bockman + Forbes on Magazine Street, with fantastic food by John Harris.

    • The Tell Me Bar
      A cool and moody natural wine bar located in the Lower Garden District.

    • The Delachaise
      Fabulous wine bar on St. Charles Avenue with divine food. The owner, Evan Hayes, creates a stellar playlist and is a charming host.

    • Sazerac Bar
      Located in the Roosevelt Hotel, the Sazerac Bar has been lovingly restored and pays homage to the granddaddy of New Orleans cocktails: the Sazerac. It’s also a really sophisticated lounge and a nice place to kick back after a long day of walking around the city.

    • Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
      A classic cigar bar with bananas Foster and delightful cocktails.

    • Carousel Bar
      Some of the nicest bartenders in all of New Orleans, and there’s always live music.

    • Saint-Germain
      French wine bar in the Bywater with a separate dining room.

    • Bacchanal Wine
      Bohemian wine shop with food and live music in the Bywater with an enormous garden.

    • Manolito
      Cuban cuisine and frozen cocktails in an intimate house in the heart of the French Quarter.

    • The Country Club
      A hidden treasure in New Orleans’s charming Bywater neighborhood.

    • The Drifter
      Poolside hipster hangout with lots of topless perky tatas.

    • The Elysian Bar
      Located in the Hotel Peter and Paul and serving light fare—it’s both a bar and coffee shop.


    • Papier Plume
      If you’re looking for my work, pop into this charming paper and pen boutique at 842 Royal Street.

    • Dirty Coast
      New Orleanians love their self-referential T-shirts, and you can look just like one with a trip to Dirty Coast. Just make sure you understand what you are wearing. I license my designs to Dirty Coast, so go getcha one!

    • Perch
      Fun and funky home furnishings on Magazine Street. From rustic and primitive to gilded with some Kartell thrown in for good measure. The lovely Caroline Robert, a friend, is the proprietor and she sells Alexa Pulitzer papers.

    • Sparkle & Swag
      The best store for party supplies, including Alexa Pulitzer products.

    • The Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Museum of Art
      Both are museum gift shops stuffed with the most unique New Orleans books, gifts, and memorabilia.

    • Faulkner House Books
      My favorite bookstore is located in Pirate’s Alley by St. Louis Cathedral. Faulkner was living here when he wrote Soldiers’ Pay.

    • Hové Parfumeur
      Custom-blended fragrances since 1931. (Inspiration for Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume.)

    • George Bass
      Gentlemen, you should be dressed to the nines! A visit to George Bass can help you achieve that: English shoes, seersucker suits, and bespoke tailoring. Visit Meyer the Hatter around the corner.

    Angelique, Century Girl Vintage, Peony, Pied Nu, Pilot and Powell, Pippen Lane, Saint Claude Social Club, SOSUSU, Weinstein’s, and West London Boutique are all upscale boutiques featuring a curated collection of cool, feminine, stylish clothing and accessories along Magazine Street.

    Bambi DeVille Vintage, Broadway Bound Costumes, Fifi Mahoney’s, and Trashy Diva Lingerie are unique retailers featuring a curated collection of wigs, makeup, costumes, vintage, corsets, and headpieces.


    Ride the streetcar, which has been running for 188 years and is the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world. There are 34 olive-green now-electric cars, and the fare is just $1.25. Catch it at Canal and Royal and ride it up to Audubon Park.

    City Park: Ride the carousel or train in Storyland (an oasis for kids), rent a paddleboat or bike, play putt-putt at City Putt, visit NOMA and its amazing Sculpture Garden, and enjoy beignets and café au lait at the 24-hour Café du Monde behind the Sculpture Garden.

    The Louisiana Children’s Museum in City Park has a restaurant, Acorn (open for breakfast and lunch).

    Café du Monde: Beignets! 24/7! Don’t be a sucker and wait in line. Grab a seat inside.

    The Music Box Village: My kids love to play the musical houses in the Bywater. It’s an iconic venue.

    The Audubon Zoo is open every day except Monday, and includes an award-winning Louisiana swamp exhibit.

    During the summer, visit the water park and lazy river at Cool Zoo, located inside the zoo.

    Insecterium: Butterflies and buggies!

    Aquarium: Fishies! Walk along the Moonwalk from the Quarter to reach the aquarium.

    Snowballs: My favorite is Plum Street, but there’s also Hansen’s (Uptown) and Pandora’s (Mid-City).

    Commander’s Palace: Surprisingly fun with kids for Sunday brunch. Live music. Balloons. Brandy milk punch for the grown-ups. Reservations required. Dress up.


    • Massage: Mary Jefferson (504.376.4577) or Horn Hom (504.388.7744).

    • The Remedy Room: Mignonne Mary, MD, is a leader in innovative wellness (504.386.3851).

    • Sweat and exercise: New Orleans Boxing Club. The SPYRE, MVMT by Romney, Romney Pilates, Uptown Pilates, the New Orleans Athletic Club, Wild Lotus Yoga, Swan River Yoga.


    • Private security and bodyguard: Les Schmidt (310.975.9238).

    • Private driver: Jesse Quiet (504.931.4059) or Mohammed (504.258.8585).

    • Private tours: If you’re looking for a guided experience of New Orleans must-sees presented with historical accuracy and a true passion for our remarkable city, check out writer/documentarian/preservationist Rob Florence and his 25-year-old company, NOLA Historic Tours. Visit for the daily tours, including Cemetery and Voodoo, Scandalous Cocktail, French Quarter, Treme, Garden District, and Music and Haunted French Quarter. Or for a private custom experience, call 504.947.2120.



    • Urbania House
      Iconic raised center-hall villa in the Lower Garden District. Completely unique, even for New Orleans, and intoxicating from the moment you enter with its ethereal rooms, grounds, and pool. 5 beds, 3 baths.

    • Oddfellows Club
      On the edge of the Garden District with its storied streets and mysterious mansions, there is one 1840s grey lady that is hidden in plain sight but long forgotten: This manse and its secret gardens and pool loom behind tall mossy walls. 4 beds, 3.5 baths.

    • Teeming with architectural features, this 1855 Greek Revival townhouse apartment is luxuriously large and feels more like a private home with its own courtyard. 2 beds, 2 baths.

    • In the Lower Garden District, this historic Greek Revival townhouse with a balcony overlooking Magazine Street offers restaurants, museums, parks, and boutiques just steps from the front door. 2 beds, 2 baths.


    • A one-bedroom in Bayou Saint John—ideal for Jazz Fest.



    • Maison de la Luz
      A serene, upscale guesthouse of 67 suites in the Central Business District with its finger on the pulse of New Orleans. The most beautiful bar in town, Bar Marilou, is inside. It’s my favorite!

    • Hotel Saint Vincent
      A 19th-century orphanage reimagined as an überstylish Deco-disco playground in New Orleans’s Lower Garden District. It boasts an Italian restaurant, Vietnamese café, bar, pool, and more. It’s a local hot spot.

    • Soniat House
      Creatively reimagined by superstar designer Ken Fulk, Soniat House is an exclusive and refined French Quarter inn. It’s filled with antiques and serves you homemade biscuits in bed.

    • The Chloe
      A stylish boutique hotel, restaurant, lively bar, and pool. Housed in a 19th-century Uptown mansion on St. Charles Avenue. Great for Mardi Gras.

    • Four Seasons
      The only five-star hotel in New Orleans with a spa. (FYI: Five-star does not exist in NOLA.) The Chandelier Bar has live music and two amazing restaurants, Miss River and Chemin à la Mer.

    • Hotel Peter and Paul
      New yet feels like it’s been there for decades. It was a Catholic school in the Marigny. It boasts a restaurant, a café, the Elysian Bar, and the most incredible church for private events (think weddings and concerts). It’s a beloved local fave for the art crowd.

    And finally, if you’d like to print out my guide, a PDF version of it lives on my website.