this is the guide for the traveler who’s willing to go off the beaten path. the person who loves good food and hates tourist attractions. the explorer who can visit new orleans without stepping one foot onto bourbon street.
the ultimate guide to visiting new orleans
one of the best things about new orleans is the food. most people know the city for red beans and rice, po’boys and crawfish, but the cuisine is so much more. our favorite restaurant is a spot called willa jean (611 o’keefe ave) that has a farm to table flare. the deconstructed red velvet cake alone is enough to fly back to new orleans.
places to eat
- willa jean
- willa jean
- willa jean
i’m just kidding. it’s good as hell though, so i’m actually only halfway kidding. here’s the list aside from willa jean:
- acme’s oyster house (724 iberville st.): the best chargrilled oysters i’ve ever had. beware it gets packed with lines out the door.
- gene’s po’boy (1040 elysian fields ave): we jumped in a lyft late one night and said we wanted a good po’boy. the driver took us to gene’s and it didn’t disappoint. get the hot sausage and cheese po’boy then stop at the daiquiri bar next door.
- ruby slipper (several locations): they serve breakfast all day and the menu is full of mouth-watering benedict concoctions.
- maypop (611 o’keefe ave): it’s at the top of my list of places to visit on my next trip. it’s asian fusion with a bomb happy hour.
- meals from the heart (1100 n peters st #13): a vegan spot in the french market that’s black-owned with amazing gluten-free pancakes.
- cafe beignet (334 royal st): nobody has time to stand outside for hours to grab beignets at cafe du monde. cafe beignet is just as good, a little quieter and has a beautiful patio.
places to shop
i’m obsessed with a good sundry or boutique. actually, anyplace that has well-made goods and a succulent or two in the window is my jam. thankfully, my twin and travel partner kendra is the same so we spent lots of time shopping.
- saint claude social club (1933 sophie wright pl): do yourself a favor and stop here first. trust me, you’ll want everything you see and can budget for the rest of the trip. dope vibes, beautiful vintage clothes and lovely handmade pieces make this place pretty special. plus, the staff are soooooo sweet. southern hospitality is real.
- stonefree (611 o’keefe ave c): another local boutique with a lovely owner and staff. kendra and i grabbed our straw hats from here, and it’s been glued to my head ever since.
- freda (600 carondelet st #130): this shop is the sister store to the famous marfa, texas flagship. they carry brother vellies and other designers with a hip twist. it’s in the warehouse district next to the ace hotel and other cute shops and restaurants like willa jean.
- pilot & powell (3901 magazine st): i tried on a rachel comey jumpsuit here that brought tears to my eyes. too bad it wasn’t in my size. pilot & powell’s inventory is impeccable with excellent customer service. we oohed and awed over their pieces for over an hour.
- sunday shop (2025 magazine st): if you’re looking for home goods, this is your spot. home interior pieces are beautifully styled in this light and airy shop. the back looks like an apothecary with byredo fragrances neatly on display.
places to see
believe it or not, it’s lots to do in nola that doesn’t include the typical tourist attractions. we tried really hard to mix our trip with both so we weren’t inundated with drunk tourists. yes, that’s my mid-thirties talking.
- frenchmen street: frenchman street is bourban street’s, older, more mature sibling. at night, there’s live music and great vibes. the blue nile is a popular spot to visit.
- french quarter market: six blocks of shopping and restaurants, french quarter market is the perfect brunch spot. it’s all outdoors of course, and hot as hell so bring water.
- lower ninth ward: it’s the place where the levees broke during hurricane katrina. get a local tour guide to show you around this area, including the exact spot where the flood began.
- art, art, art: we were lucky enough to catch the dirty linen night which is an open house for art galleries on royal street. the event was packed with folks enjoying live music and dozens of galleries. we ran into actress lynn whitfield and i fanned allll the way out.
in my next post, i’ll give a full review of our stay at the ace hotel. just a quick preview — it was amazing.