Here’s what to do in New Orleans, Louisiana

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New Orleans is America’s Least American city, a slice of Europe in the hot and foggy south. Steeped in a rich (and haunted) history, it is a combination of French, Spanish, African and Caribbean cultures, creating a city teeming with dreamy architecture, unusual cuisine and southern charm.

If you ask Penny Francis, owner of the interior design agency Eclectic houseNew Orleans’ design aesthetic is bold, diverse and colorful, just like its culture. The arts and architecture of the city are linked to our design DNA.

So whether you’re heading to Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, or a number of parties throughout the year, add these places to your list. When in doubt, follow the sound of a thundering trumpet and it will not be difficult to let the good times roll—“let the good times roll”-on your next trip.


Where to stay

The Four Seasons New Orleans

On the banks of the mighty Mississippi, the new Four Seasons Hotel takes luxury to a new level. “It’s an elegance in its own right and in my opinion the most beautiful place in New Orleans. The scale and glamor are breathtaking, ”says Crescent City-based designer Hattie Sparks Collins. The bedrooms feature white walls with brass finishes, plantation shutters, and white Carrara marble throughout the bathroom. A Sazerac under the sparkling crystals of the Chandelier Bar is a must, as is dinner at beloved local chef Alon Shaya Mademoiselle Rivière.

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One11 Hotel

one11 hotel room

HOTEL ONE11

Part of the old sugar district, today it is the first new hotel in the French Quarter for half a century. The original wood and steel beams found throughout, along with exposed brickwork, take you back to the late 1800s. region of the past. Its industrial moments with a touch of glam create a very chic experience, ”explains Francis.

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The Chloe

The tinkle of the St. Charles Streetcar can be heard from the rocking chairs on the Chloe’s porch. This traditional Uptown mansion has 14 unique guest rooms and common areas with eclectic and vibrant touches. “My favorite element is art,” says hotel designer Sara Ruffin Costello. “We have collected so much art and photographs from big names as well as newcomers; it really brought antiques to life. Each bedroom has a crocodile door knocker, similar to the eye-catching crocodile carpet on the grand staircase, and a record player with a selection of vinyls to choose from. The large, antique wood cabinet is covered in skull wallpaper, and the bathroom has a Calacatta marble sink and shower with soft brown tiles with cushioned edges.

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Virgin Hotels New Orleans

hotel suite

VIRGIN HOTEL

This new Richard Branson hotel near the CBD and Bourbon Street is bursting with serious design. “They did a great job infusing the bold New Orleans flair into the design using awe-inspiring colors and patterns with tropical elements throughout,” says Francis. From the custom patterned tiles in the Picasso-esque lobby and hallway rug to the bunny-costumed mannequin playing chess in the Funny Library, there’s plenty of eye candy to devour.

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Where to eat and drink

Mosquito Supper Club

mosquito supper club bar

MOSQUITO DINNER CLUB

North of St. Charles Avenue, in a converted house on a residential street, is NOLA’s most exciting restaurant. Paying homage to the owner’s Cajun roots, the team here showcases local seafood in a community-style multi-course dinner. “The Mosquito Supper Club captivates with its authenticity. You are in Melissa Martin’s dining room. She’s like your mom who feeds you, ”says Ruffin Costello. “She cares deeply about the roots of food. It’s more than just a restaurant.

Gray-Gray

This Magazine Street neighborhood joint is always busy. Spread over two levels, there is a large counter for watching the chefs in action on the first floor and a bar and casual high table upstairs. Reclaimed wood paneling with hanging Edison bulbs decorates the space, but the food is the real star here. Some of the best shrimp and grits in town grace the menu, as does a nasty country okra.

Maypop

maypop restaurant

MAYPOP

Comfort food with an Asian twist is the star of this CBD favorite. “It’s an Asian and Italian fusion with New Orleans cuisine, but it works,” says Francis. “The warehouse space is warmed by murals and hanging wooden planters. It’s laid back but inviting. Come for the handmade pasta with fresh local seafood, stay for the Asian inspired cocktails.


Where to shop

Dop Antiques

Michiel Dop has been selling antiques in New Orleans for over 20 years. Its 15,000 square foot warehouse full of handpicked antiques in Europe would make any designer green. “It’s my go-to source for antiques, chandeliers, mirrors and decorative items,” says Sparks Collins. “The containers they receive from Europe are full of beautiful, quality pieces, and it’s nice to work with custom pieces as well. “

Sunday Shop

food

SUNDAY SHOP

Magazine Street has an impressive number of design stores to browse, including the Sunday Shop. Perfect for stylish gifts, it has everything from lighting to soaps. “Sunday Shop is an intimate little shopping experience. It offers a great mix of household items, from table tops to linens, as well as some unexpected vintage finds, ”says Francis.

Merchant’s house

In the shadow of the Pontchartrain motorway is a warehouse full of treasures. “Merchant House is such a wonderful resource for well-maintained vintage furniture and rugs,” says Sparks Collins. “The prices are incredible and the selection is constantly evolving. For Francis, nothing better than a good find. “You never know what surprises they’ll have, and they’re bought by New Orleans-based merchants,” she says. “The thrill of the hunt is what keeps me going back.”


Where to explore

The jazz scene

You can listen to live music any day of the week in New Orleans. “Go hear a marching band Sunday at Coliseum Square Park,” suggests Ruffin Costello. Or walk to Frenchmen Street and choose from a number of bars like Bamboula’s Where The Spotted Cat Music Club with bands playing everything from Big Band to Cool Jazz.

Coffee of the world

new orleans january 28 people walk past cafe du monde restaurant in the french quarter on january 28, 2013 in new orleans, louisiana photo by rob carrgetty images

Rob Carr / Getty Images

This New Orleans mainstay often has lines longer than the Mississippi. Best time to visit? Sparks Collins thinks very early in the morning. “When I worked in the French Quarter, I loved having coffee, reading the paper and watching the neighborhood come to life. »Avoid wearing black, you will be coated in white powdered sugar. But wow, it’s worth it.

Everywhere and everywhere

There is nothing better than spending a day walking or biking around New Orleans. The towering oak trees of Audubon Park provide the perfect shade on a hot New Orleans day, while the bustling French Quarter is made for people-watching. “The best thing to do is get on a bike and walk around the different neighborhoods,” says Ruffin Costello. “I live in the Garden District, and it’s just pure bliss to stroll and ogle. I recently worked in Treme, a terribly romantic and mysterious little corner of town.


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