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How Do You NOLA?

17 September 2012

Markus and I are going on vacation in a few weeks! It's especially awesome because we had decided to forego a vacation fund this year to save for future family endeavors, but an extremely generous (and trusting) family friend offered an anonymous beach home for a week and we are able to drive out and carpe diem! I've decided this must be the hidden benefit of my overworked face and dark circles - people are concerned for me to the point of throwing their vacation homes my way free of charge.

On the way out we are going to stop in New Orleans for the night to see some friends and break up the drive. We went to New Orleans once when we were in college, and since we will only be there for a few hours I am throwing it out to see if anyone knows what the best of the best is out there?

We are staying in the French Quarter, so hopefully we can do some walking around there and get a "best of" that area by foot. I am sick to my stomach (no pun intended) over no beignets this trip, thanks to le lifestyle du gluten-free. I do still want to stop by Cafe du Monde for some of their strong coffee!

I definitely want to visit City Park since it is free and looks breath taking. I've never met a carosuel horse that I didn't like and their wooden one looks amazing. We're also planning on dinner at Besh Steak so I think that is taken care of!

Two questions:

Anything else we should definitely do that has a cultural feel to it? I've never done a plantation tour before, is it worth it and/or will my European husband completely freak out on me? He won't let me watch Honey Boo Boo when he is at home and prefers not to eat anywhere that has a person's first name or family title in the name i.e. Fred's Cafe or Mama's Place.

Any outfit ideas? One would be for dinner out and one would be for walking around the next morning. You know I am no blatant fashionista, but ever since these amazing blog friends dressed up my dress I am very tempted to shop and dress solely by committee. Seersucker and yellow anorack comes to mind?

Thank you in advance!


  1. I just went to NOLA in August and hit Laura's Plantation on the way back. It was definitely worth the trip! It is a historical tour and while parts were very sad (slavery, treatment, where they lived) it was amazing to see how these people lived. I would say stop and go if you get a chance.

  2. i've been on several plantation tours in louisianna. the best are houmas house (,Oak Alley (, and Nottaway (

    Houmas House and Nottaway both have BEAUTIFUL grounds and the tours are really great. Oak Alley's tours are just "meh", but the lawn is so breath-taking you HAVE to go see it.

    my husband and toddler and i were there last weekend, actually. we got to Oak Alley after the last tour of the day (last tour is 5pm) and they let us in for free just to look around the grounds. that saved us somewhere between 40 and 50 dollars. HEY-OH!

    Also, I went to Laura's plantation several years ago. it's close to oak alley. we just happened to get there late in the day also, and the guy that owns the place gave us the tour. he was realllllly interesting. i would FOR SURE hit that one, too.

    and. that's advice from a total stranger. :)
    (found you via materialgirlblog via dallas architectural salvage on facebook!) :)

  3. and. since you asked? it's MISERABLE there weather-wise. last weekend it was about 88 degrees (which. in dallas is AWESOME). it was so thick with humidity, if felt like you couldn't breathe. and. don't expect to have good hair there unless you have naiturally curly hair that you like to wear curly. :)

    i looked like a wet mop the whole time. but. after i said "to heck with trying" i was OK with being frizzed and fro-ed out and sweaty in places that i have never swat (?) nor ever want to again!

    1. Too funny! I'm glad to have met you from Material Girls - I love that blog! My home is a lot less professionally decorated but I get so much inspiration from them. Thank you for the recs on the plantation homes. Laura Plantation had caught my eye and I love a good "sneak in at the last minute" routine to avoid paying admission, I've done it at the Nasher and Guggeheim multiple times! Thank you for all the travel advice. It is great to meet you!


  4. I was just there for the first time in August, and it rained the WHOLE time so we were pretty much hotel bound. {See here for details - }

    If you don't feel like reading all of my ramblings, my 2 must visits are Deanie's for gumbo (I don't even like gumbo, but it was really good), and The Davenport Lounge at the Ritz Carlton to listen to some good old jazz by Jeremy Davenport and band. Great atmosphere in there! And you could definitely wear one of those ensemble ideas we gave you; thanks for the love!

    xoxo Kerry

  5. Preface: All of these things should be walking distance if you’re in the French Quarter, or a very very short cab ride away if you are le tired.

    Court of Two Sisters Brunch. Don’t know if you guys have plans to wake up early and scoot out of town, but if you can…stay for this brunch. Some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had, and it is in no way limited specifically to brunch items- heaps of gumbo, etouffee, shrimp, etc. Beyond that the atmosphere is just fabulous.

    If you have less time and are looking for something a little more down-home, The Camellia Grill is also great. It’s a diner and the food is a greasy and face-stuffy as you would expect. The real treat here is the show put on by the short order cooks. They are loud and they are FUNNY.


    Since you’ll be at CafĂ© du Monde, you’ll want to pop across the street to the St. Louis Cathedral. I’ve been twice now and each time it feels like a southern Catholic’s pilgrimage. It is so breathtaking (and free, obviously.) Don’t miss it!

    The Spotted Cat Music Club. Go to there. I hope its extremely outdated website is actually a testament to how old school New Orleans this place is. Want to feel like you’re in an episode of Treme? This is the place. Excellent live jazz music, and lots of cute hipster couples and old folks alike, dancing along, skilled and unskilled, side by side.

    When you’re tired out from dancing at the Spotted Cat, head to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar for a nightcap. It’s known for being the oldest bar in the U.S. It’s teeny, historic, candlelit, and the last time I was there the live piano player played Dixie which I KNOW is probably inappropriate on many levels, but this girl read a lot of Gone With the Wind growing up and it kind of all came together in that moment. Sue me.

    Thank God I’m planning a trip for Mardi Gras or I would be very tempted to sneak in your suitcase.

  6. Oh I love me some NOlA! Frozen Cafe Au Lait is the best! I suggest getting a Daiquiri or Hurricane to go and just walking around Jackson Square!
    Also, Pat O's s my favorite spot if you feel like going out. I am a huge fan of Camellia Grill and Mother's. If you want a really nice dinner out I suggest Antoine's.

    Have so much!

  7. commander's palace


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