New Orleans: a neighbourhood guide


By Alison Fensterstock, New Orleans-based writer

Photography by Jon Bilous/Alamy

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May 2018

From the pretty French Quarter to the hip Marigny district, each of New Orleans’ neighbourhoods jive to their own beat, says local writer Alison Fensterstock.

French Quarter

The charming, walkable Quarter is full of step-back in-time architecture and venerable dining institutions that speak to its status as New Orleans’ oldest neighbourhood, but it’s also home to exciting, new foodie spots…

Eat

For more than a hundred years, Galatoire’s has been serving trout meuniere (trout with a flour-based sauce), soufflé potatoes and champagne to the New Orleans elite in its mirrored, tiled dining room. The French 75 bar at Arnaud’s, has an eccentric museum of vintage Mardi Gras costumes hidden upstairs.

Stay

Built in 1886, the Hotel Monteleone breathes old New Orleans character, from its elegant Beaux Arts architecture to its many reported ghost sightings.

Do

Preservation Hall faithfully presents traditional jazz each night, just like when it was launched in 1961, with musicians who were there when the genre was born in the early twentieth century. Expect intimate, late-night concerts with contemporary artists like Elvis Costello and Angelique Kidjo.

  • Sample some of the city’s finest seafood at Pêche © Chris Granger.

    The world is your oyster

    Try Pêche in the Warehouse District for Gulf oysters sourced from Alabama’s oyster-haven, Dauphin Island, before finishing off with a sparkling Champagne.

    Book a trip
  • Immerse yourself in New Orleans jazz history at the Preservation Hall © Rick Olivier.

    All that jazz

    NOLA’s best loved jazz institution, book tickets online for one of the Preservation Hall’s nightly concerts to skip the line and score the best seats in the house.

    Fly to New Orleans
  • Take your time to study the exhibits at the intimate National WWII Museum © Courtesy of The National WWII Museum.

    For the record

    The intriguing museum is open every day, from 09.00 until 17.00, except Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

    Book a stay

Warehouse District/CBD

A few blocks uptown of the French Quarter, this neighbourhood is packed with galleries, plus stylish hotels and restaurants.

Eat

The latest from celeb chef John Besh’s team is Willa Jean, an expansive, corner space specializing in delectable bakery items, and brunch accompanied by lemony frozen rosé. Grab a seat on the raw bar at the award-winning Pêche, for the best seafood in the Gulf. In 2016, New Orleans had the most James Beard award nominees per capita over any American city, so come hungry.

The Soniat House delivers boutique elegance in the details, like Frette sheets and homemade strawberry preserves on your buttermilk biscuits.

Stay

The old Roosevelt Hotel epitomises grandeur, with a Guerlain spa and its historic Blue Room, where Louis Armstrong once performed.

Do

Stop by the Ogden Museum and browse its collection of contemporary and classic Southern art. On Thursday nights, local musicians play in its soaring atrium. The National WWII Museum houses an extraordinary multimedia collection dedicated to telling the story of the conflict that shaped the twentieth century.

  • Enjoy a taste of the south, at the High Hat Café.

    Diner dishes

    Don’t leave High Hat Café without trying their southern classics: pecan pie with Jack Daniels Ice Cream, shrimp po’boy sandwich and fried catfish.

    Explore New Orleans

Uptown and the Garden District

Live oaks and magnolias provide lush natural canopies over some of the city’s most impressive architecture.

Eat

The relatively new Freret Street cultural district is home to a handful of laid-back, innovative bars and restaurants, from the home-style Southern cooking at High Hat Café to next-level cocktails at Cure. Hidden away on a residential street, Clancy’s  where generations have enjoyed fried oysters with brie and lemon icebox pie.

Stay

The Avenue Plaza Resort, is home to locals’ favourite Mr. John’s Steakhouse, which serves up prime beef just steps away from oak-lined St. Charles Avenue, where streetcars rumble by.

Do

Tipitina’s, founded in the 1970s to give rhythm-and-blues piano man Professor Longhair a place to play, brings in both major touring bands and local luminaries. Magazine Street offers brilliant shopping for miles, including handcrafted jewellery inspired by the history of South Louisiana at Mignon Faget’s.

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