New Orleans is that rare city where each guest can return home with their own collection of singular memories– varied, rich and not to be replicated– that somehow seem that much more golden because they happened in NOLA. Just a few of the many that I shall cherish…
~my hostess’ home in the Garden District with cozy interiors by Mario Buatta and a scrumptious dining room whose hand-painted walls have the most enchanting Oriental theme — and a new addition, the shelves, since I’d last been there.
Watching the ladies of the garden club putting the finishing touches on the chicest of centerpieces (inspired by the painted mirror at Brennan’s restaurant) for the fundraiser at which I was the guest speaker.
Enjoying a bit of personal Mardi Gras histoire over lunch at Antoine’s with a former Queen of Rex and her two “maids” in her court many years ago ( collecting the many pins given out each year at Mardi Gras and decorating a pillow with them is a long tradition).
Visiting gardens over my three days that provided such inspiration!
A rooftop book signing party with a rare view of the New Orleans skyline and a guest list of New Orleans names that each for their own reason are so identified with this city (Julia Reed, Angele Parlange, Jane Scott Hodges, Becky Vizzard, Karla Katz and Ann Koerner).
But the memory which I shall cherish the most is the graciousness, poise and abiding joie de vivre of Southern ladies.
Now here’s to inspiring your New Orleans memories!
Where to Stay
Galatoire’s: A fine-dining century-old institution serving French-Creole fare in upscale space.
Clancy’s: Cocktails and seafood-centric American fare served in a casual dining room with a riverfront patio.
Brennan’s: Recently remodeled and decorated by Richard Keith Langham, it is over the top fabulous in every aspect to include the offerings of Chef Slade Rushing! Bananna’s Foster was invented here and the Eggs Benedict are the best in town.
Antoine’s: “For special occasions”, with its depth of history and tradition (waiters are assigned to you and serve you for life).
Clancy’s: Located Uptown out of the French Quarter craziness, it has a very old-school local-New Orleans feel. The menu is fresh but consistent with favorite Creole standbys.
Gautreaus: Intimate, secluded spot for sophisticated New American-French cuisine, housed in a former pharmacy.
Lilette: Sophisticated French fare and many wines in a sunny, tiled space and patio that attract a stylish crowd.
La Petite Grocery: Made-from-scratch Louisiana fare, overseen by James Beard Chef Justin Devillier, in a quaint cottage that housed a grocery store in the 1800’s.
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar: Renowned for having the best cocktails in New Orleans, it’s safe to say that the French 75 is an iconic New Orleans Cocktail Bar that is not to be missed.
Casamento’s: Have a cold beer and the oyster loaf!
Surrey’s: American and Latin breakfast/lunch fare plus fresh-squeezed juices draw crowds at this quaint cafe.
Great for Lunch
Peche Seafood Grill: Seafood from a coal grill and raw bar, plus local brews, are found in rustic digs with weathered wood.
Cochon Butcher: Stylish renovated warehouse serving elevated, pork-focused Cajun fare in a group-friendly setting.
Strolling Magazine Street, where you’ll find:
Perch: Upscale shop offering antique and modern home furnishings, custom window treatments and design services.
Linens and Gifts
Pied Nu: Chic, chic shop selling a well-curated collection of women’s clothing plus candles, jewelry and furniture.
Leontine Linens: The celebrated source for exquisite bedding, bath and linens all finished with that elegant final statement…your personal monogram.
Dunn & Sonnier: Florist and designer specializing in wedding arrangements, with an adjoining European antiques store.
Aux Belle Choses: Cozy fixture known for its rustic French and English linens, soap, garden wares, vintage finds and more.
Hazelnut: A sophisticated mix of unique home goods and gifts presented in an intimate, stylish boutique.
Brave the crowds (lines move quickly) and indulge in an only-in-NOLA treat, Beignets, at Café du Monde in Jackson Square, then climb up the stairs to admire the mighty Mississippi River.
Sip and sup in the new wine room at Brennan’s.
Ride the streetcar on Saint Charles Avenue.
Eat a seafood po’boy.
Walk up, down and through the streets of the Garden District.
Visit Longue Vue House and Gardens, an historic house museum and associated gardens in the Lakewood neighborhood.
Brunch al fresco at Brennan’s under whimsical pink and green umbrellas in the courtyard.
WWII Museum: A military history museum located in the Central Business District of New Orleans.
The French Library: A mostly-French, mostly-children book store with a soon-to-be French Café.
Sign up for a treat…Mardi Gras World, where artisans spend the entire year crafting the beautiful floats for this New Orleans celebration. Get a behind the scenes look as well as the fascinating history.