New Orleans, The Big Easy, Party Town – We want it all!
With voodoo vagrant in the air and a violaceous afternoon sky, you can see why this place became the inspiration for Jimmy Hendrix’s famed song, Purple Haze. The Big Easy is one of America’s most unique cultural cross sections when it comes to history, food and people. A colourful mix of Cajun, Creole and French makes this place a wonderland for your senses. Here are our top picks on the very best of New Orleans.
This funky district is a quite a different vibe from the neon noise of Bourbon Street. Made up of three blocks in the Marigny neighbourhood, this is where you will find local grass roots blues (The Spotted Cat is a favourite), fine dining, cocktail chateaus and dive bars. Check out All Ways Lounge for good live music and a fun dance scene. Hi Ho lounge across the road is a dive bar with comedy nights and a colourful dance floor on weekends. For small plates and delicious house cocktails, check out Three Muses. Fine dining at Franklins on Dauphine street is a real treat, you have to try the fried oysters.
Staying in mid city is a good move, you’re not far from the action of down town or uptown and you can experience the fun and bustle of the local vintage tram lines. The India house is one of the better hostels you’ll find across America. A pool, big kitchen and comfortable dorm beds attract a young and diverse crowd of travellers. Karma cafe is just around the corner serving delicious and healthy vegan food. You can also join in on daily yoga sessions in the upstairs space which is absolutely magic. Twelve mile limit is a funky new bar with a flavoursome bbq menu and signature house cocktails. On a cloudy day, head down Canal Street towards the cemeteries and feel the spooks.
There are loads of local cuisine you have to try from New Orleans. For the best Beignets and cafe, head to Cafe du Monde (an institution) or the lesser known Morning Call in City Park. For full flavoured, authentic Gumbo and Jambalaya try Jaque Imo’s Cafe or The Gumbo Shop. Willie Mae’s Scotch House heralded by locals as the best fried chicken in town, definitely worth your attention, however also check out Dooky Chase’s restaurant, where head chef Leah Chase takes charge as “The Queen of New Orleans Cuisine”. Po’Boys are ubiquitous in New Orleans, for a sample of some of the best head to Parkway Tavern, Killer Po’Boys or Guy’s PoBoys. Pizza Pirate’s is the best thin crust, gourmet pizza you’ll find on the back of a pirate ship in the world.
Magazine street is a hip and happening spot in the lower part of the Garden District. You’ll find a brilliant mess of thrift stores like No Fleas Market – a community thrift store that supports local animal shelters. You’ll be ready for a drink after traipsing around the leafy green parks and antique stores. Head to Ms. Mae’s for a brew or The Half Moon for a cold one and some great tasting pub grub in their awesome courtyard. Dat Dog wins best hot dog in New Orleans and Casamentos is a well loved dining spot for oysters and seafood.
Named after the 7th president, Andrew Jackson, This hub of activity is a must. Enjoy the late-18th century Spanish architecture and the St.Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in the U.S. The square also attracts street performers of all kinds, artists, fortune tellers, poets and of course incredible musicians playing all sorts of sounds from jazz, blues to hip hop and Neo funk.
So what do you think? Did we miss anything? Let us know your hot tips on where to visit in New Orleans.