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I just returned from a fantastic trip to New Orleans…the weather was hot…the food was hotter…and the music was hottest! I would like to share some of my guilty pleasures from this wonderfully decadent city…

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NOLA CHILL

Relaxation is just a way of life down in the Big Easy, and I find the Garden District to be one of the most tranquil parts of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head north on Royal Street and cross over Canal Street – Royal becomes St Charles Ave. – and hop on the historic St. Charles Street Car. The most picturesque houses are located between Jackson and Washington Avenues. When finished your leisurely stroll, be sure to visit one of NOLA’s Cities of the Dead, Lafayette Cemetery #1, whose entrance is right on Washington Ave. One of the city’s oldest cemeteries, it is also featured in several movies, including Interview With a Vampire and Double Jeopardy. To finish a relaxing afternoon, stroll down Magazine Street for some of New Orleans’ best shopping.

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NOLA SPLURGE

These gorgeous earrings from ReStrung Jewelry are made from recycled guitar strings! They were an amazing and unique find at the French Market in the French Quarter. Owner Naomi Celestin creates these beauties from strings donated by local musicians and also donates a portion of her sales to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. Here is ReStrung’s website for more info or to purchase:

ReStrung Jewelry

If you are interested in local handicrafts, a great place to shop is Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op, on 912 N. Peters Street, just south of the famous Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. Another fun place to peruse the work of local artisans is the Frenchmen Art Market, on 619 Frenchmen Street – right next to The Spotted Cat – in the Marigny just south of the French Quarter. It is a wonderful outdoor grassroots evening market and is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 PM to 1 AM and on Sunday from 6 PM to midnight.

Dutch Alley
Frenchmen Art Market

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NOLA YUM

If you leave New Orleans hungry, shame on you! This city truly has some of the best food. My favorite breakfast spot is The Ruby Slipper Cafe on 200 Magazine Street in the CBD. Their Bananas Foster Pain Perdu is life changing! For dinner, I like Oceana on 739 Conti Street (between Royal and Bourbon) for their Crabcakes and Ralph & Kacoo’s on 519 Toulouse Street (between Decatur and Chartres) for their blackened shrimp.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe
Oceana
Ralph & Kacoo’s

If you happen to be walking by 334 Decatur Street and are completely overcome by the delicious wafting aroma of freshly made caramel, it is pointless to resist. Stop in Southern Candymakers and allow yourself to indulge in the best pralines and turtles the city has to offer!

Southern Candymakers

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NOLA JAM

The best place to listen to original music in New Orleans is Frenchmen Street in the very bohemian Marigny section of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head south on Decatur and you will run right into Frenchmen after you pass Esplanade Ave. This three block stretch of music clubs has a refreshingly mellow vibe and lacks any of the tackiness of Bourbon Street. I really liked both TheSpotted Cat and DBA. The Spotted Cat, on 623 Frenchmen Street, is an intimate music club that features funky jazz and roots music every night. I enjoyed a fun performance by the newly formed Dr. Sick & the Late Greats and some spontaneous swing dancing by some very talented locals. Shows start nightly at 6 PM and 10 PM. DBA, on 618 Frenchmen Street, is a larger club with a huge beer selection and large stage area, perfect for jamming to the fabulous Treme Brass Band.

The Spotted Cat
DBA

The best place to take home some local music is The Louisiana Music Factory on 210 Decatur St. They have an extensive collection of local jazz, blues, zydeco, and any other genre you can imagine. The staff is both knowledgable and friendly.

Louisiana Music Factory

I hope you have enjoyed my New Orleans wrap up. Please feel free to share a comment on anything you particularly love in the Crescent City. Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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