We now “know what it means to miss New Orleans.” As I write this, I hear the famous Louis Armstrong tune in my head and I long to return to the Crescent City on the Big Muddy.
The REBIRTH of New Orleans
New Orleans is overflowing with history, music, food, art, culture, determination and soul. I admire everyone who fought to restore NOLA after Hurricane Katrina (and continue the effort to this day) and I’m grateful for their dedication. I know it hasn’t been easy in the Big Easy. A decade later, you can still see the high water mark on condemned buildings, empty lots where homes used to be, and reconstruction still in progress. In fact, we met a group of Habitat for Humanity volunteers from Canada while waiting in line for Preservation Hall. It warmed my heart to learn that people are still coming from many miles away to pitch in to help rebuild. Some might find the imperfections of this city unappealing, but I see hope and inspiration.
The people of New Orleans are fighters. They have moxie and they refuse to let their city wash away. They love their home and take pride in everything they do, from music, art, cuisine and beyond. They've put their blood, sweat and tears into resurrecting their city and NOLA is experiencing a magnificent rebirth. The energy of this city is intoxicating and it literally makes you want to sing and dance.
While honeymooning in NOLA, my grandparents visited this awesome diner located in the heart of City Park - right next to the grove of ancient oaks. Take in the view while enjoying some beignets and café au lait on the porch, or go inside for some live music. It's not just for mornings, open 24 hours.
Head Uptown for the BEST fried chicken - it's a huge portion, the two of us shared the entree. Order a watermelon mojito or sample seasonal beer from local brewers like Abita and NOLA.
[SHOP] Be sure to visit Moonshine Nettie's before or after your meal. This sassy boutique across the street and just a few doors down has a fabulous selection of funky vintage clothing and accessories. Look for the tutus.
This restaurant was perfect in every way, we felt like we were in a movie. We sat in the beautiful courtyard underneath the twinkling lights and sampled wonderful small plates like Shrimp and Grits, as well as Cajun Poutine. Save room for the Doberge Cake… it's to die for!
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
You can't leave without trying their fabulous chargrilled oysters. Unbelievable.
[DRINK] This bar has the best frozen Irish coffee and a sweet little window from which to people watch.
Awesome French café, we visited at both breakfast and lunch. Be sure to try the delicious brie mac and cheese, or their amazing sandwiches.
Acme Oyster House
Heavenly chargrilled oysters and all the local favorites like gumbo, red beans and rice, po' boys, and bread pudding. Don't worry, the line moves quickly!
Café Du Monde
A must in the French Quarter for beignets and café au lait. We enjoyed a midnight snack after an evening of bar hopping on Frenchmen Street. Great people watching between the French Market and Jackson Square. Open 24 hours.
Loretta's Authentic Pralines
Be sure to try some FRESH pralines from this little stand in the French Market. They are so good when they're still warm! We also bought one of their king cakes with a praline-cream cheese filling. It was still amazingly delicious a few days later when we shared it with our family back in Florida.
There are so many restaurants that we didn't have time to try... Commander's Palace, Dooky Chase, and Cochon Butcher, just to name a few. I guess that gives us yet another reason to return!
Faubourg Marigny: Frenchmen Street - legendary jazz clubs and bars like The Spotted Cat, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, The Blue Nile and so many more! Forget Bourbon Street, head to Frenchmen! While you're there, ditch the cheesy souvenirs, support local artists and shop the Frenchmen Art Market (Mon - Sun, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) for items that truly represent New Orleans.
Treme: Check out Congo Square in Armstrong Park, and go see the Treme Jazz Band on Wednesday nights at the Candlelight Lounge.
Garden District: Enjoy art, food, wine and retail therapy on Magazine Street.
City Park: One of the oldest urban parks in the nation and home to the oldest grove of live oaks in the world. Art, botanical gardens, recreation for all ages, amazing beignets at Morning Call, and more.
Be sure to take a trip outside of NOLA to visit the elaborate plantations along the Mississippi, like Oak Alley Plantation, pictured below.
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