City Guide: New Orleans

“She was born in New Orleans” Leon Bridges sang softly to himself as he passed us on Royal Street in the French Quarter.

He was led by two well-dressed women, both photographers, pausing under the best wrought iron doorways to shoot his portrait. In our two part series on New Orleans, we’re highlighting what you can discover when you’re willing to wander through the streets and swamps. In part 2, we stroll through the many neighborhoods, eateries and bars in New Orleans. You may not run into Leon Bridges – but you’re bound to have a good time.

French Quarter

Let’s start with the obvious: the French Quarter. Hand grenade drinks aside, there’s plenty to do in the French Quarter. Admire the unique architecture on a walking tour. Bonus, if you visit in October and you can visit all the haunted locations in the neighborhood like the mansion of serial-killer Madame Lalaurie on the corner of Royal St and Governor Nicholls St. Grab some off-the-beaten-path eats like the Gulf shrimp po-boy from Killer Po-Boys (hidden at the back of the Erin Rose Bar) or happy hour artisanal cocktails at the jazz lounge Bombay Club. Sober up anytime with an iced coffee and a beignet at Cafe Du Monde; they’re open 24 hours.

St. Roch Market & Cemetery

The crowds disperse as soon as you leave the Quarter, but that’s where the good stuff starts. On the border of the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods is St. Roch Market. There’s something for everyone here, including an oyster bar, juice stand, pour over coffee station and a cocktail bar. Buy a bottle of wine to drink on premises. Then sit anywhere, inside or on the patio, and send your dining partner to order. The person who takes your order will personally walk your food to your table.

Walk up the street from here to St. Roch Cemetery 1 & 2. In addition to the raised tomb dating back to the late 1800s, this unusual cemetery has a room filled with old prosthetics and note thank you notes tucked into the back of the Gothic Revival chapel. Again, super recommend visiting around Halloween for extra spookiness.

Garden District and the Bywater

To see the full gambit of architecture styles, visit both the Bywater and the Garden District. In the Bywater, stroll down streets of classic shotgun houses with brightly painted awnings. Take a street car down to the Garden District to see the opulence and granduer of their Gothic Revival mansions. We learned the history of the area with a self-guided walking tour from Frommers.

CBD and the Warehouse District

Adjacent to the French Quarter, the Central Business District (CBD) hosts some of the hottest and well-reviewed restaurants in town. Walking distance from the trendy Q&C Hotel, our home-base for this trip, is NOLA-classic Cochon Butcher, the deli/butcher/sandwich by James Beard winning chef Donald Link. A few blocks away in the Warehouse District, Compère Lapin serves up New Orleans flavors with a Caribbean twist. If one needed another reason to stop by, they’re renowned for their cocktails as much as their food. For healthier fare, head down to the Lower Garden District for smoothies with all the fixings—bee pollen, hemp protein, young coconut—at the Green Fork. Because you’ll need something lighter after all those beignets and po’ boys. ▲

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  • Mikaela

    Headed to NOLA in March, thanks for the tips! -@airundermyheels

    • Absolutely! Have a great time. Super fun city to visit.