Royal Street, Jeff Turner, flickr commons
Can't afford to go to Europe? Why don't you enjoy our most Old World city? Savor the food, the jazz, and the architecture.
Where to stay in New Orleans--4 Hotels in New Orleans Offering a Off the Cuff Experience
Le Pavillon was designed and constructed in 1907--the age of the grand European hotels. It is the home of the first hydraulic elevators installed in NOLA. Located on Poydras street, which began its life as a canal, the area was once home of a sugar cane and indigo plantation. The French Quarter is four blocks away and the Canal Street and St. James streetcars are an easy walk at 2 and 3 blocks away.
This chandelier bedecked hotel has the homey tradition of providing PBJ sandwiches and hot chocolate to their guests every night. Enjoy this and the breakfast buffet in an ornate Gilded Age dining room.
Ashton's Bed and Breakfast
Do you want to stay at a Bed and Breakfast that gives equal weight to the breakfast? Ashton's breakfasts are locally famous, especially the bananas foster waffles. This antebellum home, a 10,000 square foot Greek Revival mansion, was built in 1861 just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Enjoy hardwood floors, four poster beds, antique furnishings and decadent breakfasts--just nine blocks from the French Quarter.
Soniat House Hotel
Soniat House, flickr commons
This historic townhouse in the French Quarter was built in the 1830s by sugar plantation owner Joseph Soniat Duffossat and his eldest son Robert. With its beautiful upstairs balconies and antique furniture you could be on the set of Interview with a Vampire. Have homemade biscuits and jam in the courtyard, or on your balcony, while listening to the lovely fountain. Soniat House is located just blocks from Bourbon Street.
These character cottages are an oasis, tropical plants included, in the middle of the French Quarter. Each of the Audubon Cottages has two beautifully decorated rooms, gorgeous landscaping, and a private patio. Have breakfast served by the butler in the courtyard or you can take it to the privacy of your cottage. After a long day of sight-seeing, relax in the heated salt water pool. Encased in the original brick, it is said to be oldest pool in NOLA. Enjoy the amenities of a luxury hotel in the privacy of your own cottage, only a block from Bourbon Street.
Things to do in New Orleans:
Musée Conti Wax MuseumSt. Charles Line, Wally Gobetz, flickr commons
Visit the Musée Conti, a block and a half off Bourbon street, and NOLA history will come alive. The wax figures, like those of Madame Tussaud, were handcrafted in France. Unlike the ones at Madame Tussaud, these are not Hollywood celebrities but scenes from NOLA history. Meet voodoo priestess Marie Laveau and the casket girls of the Ursuline Convent. And, don't worry, wax museum classics such as Dracula and Freddy Krueger are here as well. Not well advertised, the museum is best known to locals who visited on school field trips and first dates, and is well worth a visit by those who love a bit of camp, a bit of history, or a bit of both.
Want a break from the crowds and noise in the Quarter? From Canal Street take the ferry across the Mississippi River to Algiers Point, the second oldest neighborhood in NOLA. Originally settled in 1719, at the turn of the century it would become a showcase of Victorian architecture and the home of thirty-six music and dance halls. Take a walking tour and see the best views of the NOLA skyline. Or enjoy muffaleta, po'boy sandwiches, or gumbo at the Dry Dock, and watch the glassblowers at Rosetree Blown Glass Studio.
Maple Leaf Bar
You can't leave NOLA without enjoying some big brass sound, and the Leaf is where the locals hang out on Tuesday nights to swing to the Rebirth Brass Band. Take the St. Charles line uptown--seven nights a week you can hear blues, funk, R&B, rock, zydeco, jazz, and jam bands. On Sunday enjoy tables piled high with crawfish, shrimp, clams, mussels, frog legs, chicken, corn on the cob and mushrooms.
It's loud, it's dark, it's divey, it's where New Orleans swings.
So come and live it up in one of our oldest cities. Take it easy in the Big Easy.