New Orleans for all budgets


Mike Welch

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August 2017

A melting pot of culture, cuisine and curious sights, this soulful southern city is a treat for all the senses. Local writer Mike Welch has some advice on how to save money in New Orleans.

Hotels

Blow-out

Occupying a pleasantly quiet corner of the French Quarter, the W New Orleans pays tribute to the city’s jazz heritage in its room design, while the cabana-lined swimming pool brings a touch of the French Riviera with its wrought iron gates and overgrown foliage. Plump for a Fantastic Suite for a private balcony and a separate living room area.

Budget

American author Charles Bukowski long ago stayed at the Royal Street Inn above local watering hole the R Bar - there was once even a suite named after him. These days the inn provides bohemian digs, still at fair prices.

  • The outdoor courtyard at W New Orleans - French Quarter is the ideal spot for cocktails © Press Image.

    W for Wonderful

    Boutique hotel W New Orleans, in the heart of the French Quarter, is a mere stroll from bustling Bourbon Street with its shops, restaurants and jazz bars.£784 pp

    Book flights and five nights at W New Orleans

Restaurants

Blow-out

In the wilds of Bourbon Street, Restaurant R’evolution hosts an exclusive wine room, plus a luxurious suite of dining rooms serving a Creole fusion of foods from the many nations that have contributed to New Orleans’ history, from rotisserie pheasant with rice dressing and pea-shoot succotash to panéed veal chop topped with warm crab-meat salad and truffle aioli.

Budget

For 70 years, low-key Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar has served the French Quarter’s freshest raw bivalves and other Gulf South treats. Lacking any gimmick, Felix’s instead focuses on taste and freshness with its boiled, grilled and fried seafood - extra points for friendly southern banter with experienced oyster shuckers.

  • The Bienville Suite is one of seven unique dining spaces at Restaurant R’evolution © Press Image.

    Soul food

    Bag a table at this New Orleans dining institution, where chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto serve up Creole and Cajun cuisine with panache.

    Plan your trip to New Orleans

Nightlife

Blow-out

Every night is different at Eiffel Society, an iconic Lower Garden District venue built from pieces of a restaurant that was once perched atop the actual Eiffel Tower. The restaurant complements the St. Charles Avenue street-car line outside its windows with an ever-rotating display of art as fancy as Eiffel’s original drinks and savoury tapas plates.

Original paintings and murals by various neighbourhood legends call out behind video poker machines and fine examples of small-game taxidermy

Budget

Saturn Bar seems barely held together by the yellowed photos taped to its walls. Original paintings and murals by various neighbourhood legends call out behind video poker machines and fine examples of small-game taxidermy. The bar regularly hosts local and touring rock bands, and DJ nights that guarantee to get everyone on the dancefloor.

Shopping

Blow-out

Royal Street is known for its fine antique shops, which sell rare items once owned by royalty, so be prepared to spend big. M.S. Rau Antiques has specialised in jewellery, vases and chandeliers for more than 100 years, and for five generations James H. Cohen and Sons has offered a dizzying array of collectable guns, coins, swords and ancient maps.

Budget

You’ll struggle to find chain stores in New Orleans, especially on the vintage boutique haven that is Magazine Street. Seek out Miss Claudia’s Vintage Clothing and Costumes, Trashy Diva and Funky Monkey, all providing wigs and costumes along with cutting-edge retro clothing and accessories.

  • Marvel at the fine art, jewellery and antiques for sale at MS Rau Antiques © Press Image.

    State of the art

    Whether you’re after a rare diamond, Fabergé egg or an Impressionist painting, MS Rau Antiques is the go-to destination for art aficionados and collectors.

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Music

Blow-out

On happening Frenchmen Street, tickets for Snug Harbor’s top-notch modern jazz shows, featuring the likes of trumpeter Nicholas Payton or any of the many talented Marsalis family members, are worth every cent. Need feeding? Snug’s kitchen offers crab cakes and shrimp remoulade, with lovingly made New Orleans cocktails at the bar.

Catch some of the city’s biggest jazz artistes for the smallest of cover charges

Budget

For 30 years, the gold-and-glass Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club has booked some of the city’s biggest jazz artistes for the smallest of cover charges, with a huge, reasonably-priced menu of homemade jambalaya, catfish platters and other South Louisiana staples on the line-up too.

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