“We wander through old streets, and pause before the age-stricken houses; and, strange to say, the magic past lights them up.” – Grace King
Happy June, everyone! Usually this is my favorite month of the summer, but this stormy Florida weather is getting in the way of my beach days! Luckily, I got to kick off the summer in New Orleans. I went with Nick and his family to celebrate his 21st birthday. This was our third time visiting NOLA, and each time it gets better and better. We’re able to find new things we like about the city while also returning to some of our favorite spots.
This time we stayed closer to Bourbon Street (perfect for the celebrations). The first day, we got some delicious dinner at The Old Coffee Pot. After that, we explored the French Quarter, got a tarot card reading (it was insanely accurate), stopped by Tableau, which is one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans, and then headed to Tipitina’s for the official celebrations at midnight. Tipitina’s has been a landmark for live music since ’77, and the bands that performed were great!
I highly encourage anyone going to New Orleans to check out Faulkner House Books. It’s the former home of William Faulkner, and it’s just such a captivating place. It’s one of Nick’s favorite places to explore. This trip was a little different than the previous travels because we were able to spend a little more time in Tremé, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. We attended the Tremé/7th Ward Arts and Culture Festival under I-10. The music was so fun and lively, as was the crowd. We then walked a little ways down to the perfect viewing spot for the Zulu Second Line. Watching the second line was such a cool experience. I could truly see the sense of community in the neighborhood as the participants danced and blasted their brass instruments. It was vibrant, fun and magical.
On the night of Nick’s birthday, we ate dinner at GW Fins. I’m not exaggerating when I say this was the best meal I’ve ever had. The staff was so kind, and they even decorated the table for Nick’s birthday. If you know me well, you know that I have many food allergies and intolerances. The chef was amazing and created a sauce from scratch so I could have the fish I wanted but also avoid my allergens. I wish the sauce he made was something on the menu so others could understand how delicious it was! I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re ever in New Orleans. (Shoutout to Susan for finding this place for us!) Later that night, Nick and I met up with some friends and had drinks at the Bar in the W Hotel, followed by the Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone. I definitely recommend stopping by to check it out! It’s super crowded but it’s fun to hang out with friends at the revolving bar.
Another one of our favorites is Elizabeth’s. If you’re looking for an amazing brunch place, this is it. It’s an eclectic, bustling restaurant with a bunch of local art hanging on the walls. They have great specials, awesome brunch cocktails and unbelievable praline bacon. A local told us about this place the last time we visited NOLA and we made it a priority to go back.
Another one of my go-to spots in NOLA is the French Market. It’s essentially a flea market full of locals selling trinkets, momentos and unique arts and crafts. They also have little posts where you can stop and get delicious food and drinks. There’s also live jazz music at one of the restaurants at the end of the market. It’s a great place to wander around, collect souvenirs or just get some shade or avoid the rain.
New Orleans will always have a place in my heart. If you ever visit, let me know what you think! Thank you to the D’Alessandro family for letting me tag along (as always). And happy belated birthday to Nick!