I have a brand new city guide from my dear friend Andi of Oui We and author of Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian’s Guide to Traveling In Style. If you’re not yet familiar with Andi, meet your new best friend. She’s a dreamy yet down to Earth bohemian mega-babe who makes the best of road trip companions — I can attest to that. Andi and I met in the early days of my blog, when I was speaking on a panel during NOLA Fashion Week (which Andi co-founded). It feels like a lifetime ago, but that quick little trip ended up being one of the most impactful. After falling in love with the city of New Orleans and the people who hosted our stay, I left with lifelong friends and a belly full of some of the best food I’ve ever eaten — and kept coming back for both reasons. Since then, Andi has pivoted from the world of fashion into the world of wanderlust, writing about her travels in one of the most beautiful books you need to get your hands on. I had the pleasure of accompanying her on parts of her road trip across the country and can tell you there’s no better travel companion than Andi; she’ll take you to all the hidden gems and make every single moment a part of the adventure. You’ll have to get her book for her tips across the country, but today she’s giving us a mini guide to New Orleans.
Where To Stay:
This place is totally unassuming from the outside, reminiscent of the free-spirited era of roadside motels perfect for beatnik era writers and travelers. The place is casual, fun-loving and quite possibly the hippest place to hang in the city. There’s a swim club, the pool is complimentary to guests of the hotel, and a rotating schedule of pop-up food trucks, art installations and events. The bar is stocked with fresh frozen cocktails, Japanese beers and sakes, and local wines. I love going at happy hour for a bowl of Ramen and a $5 rose.
Where To Eat:
It’s New Orleans. The cuisine is what the city is celebrated for. Every meal, whether it’s authentic Louisiana cooking or fusion dishes from new school style restaurants, is magic. However when I have to narrow down the recommendations here’s what makes my short list: Po’boys at Parkway, oysters at Peche or Seaworthy, a sampling of things from the vendors at St. Roch or Auction House Markets, have breakfast at Paloma and dinner at Cavan, and despite the line you’ve gotta go for beignets at Cafe du Monde.
What To See:
The neighborhoods! Truly you could spend an entire weekend walking the various neighborhoods with no solid plans and have the best time. Since the founding of the city, the French Quarter has been the hub. It’s a community that doesn’t belong to one culture or continent. There’s way more to it than just the Bourbon Street party and I recommend that you spend most of your French Quarter time on the side streets full of old world cafes enjoying the French and Spanish architecture.
The Marigny is immediately down river and this neighborhoods is still the local’s live music destination. Start on Frenchmen Street and work down to the Bywater, a thriving artist-friendly neighborhood home to a punk-style arts district along St. Claude Avenue.
Visit the nearby Tremé to find history fully alive. The brass bands, second lines, jazz funerals and if you time it right even the Mardi Gras Indians can be found parading through the streets as they always have. The style of the neighborhood, inspired by the early jazz days and the musicians who call it home, is the epitome of cool.
What To Do:
See the music! Go to Preservation Hall in the French Quarter, it’s worth the wait and then catch a late night shows at d.b.a on Frenchman Street. It’s always a crowd favorite — they have brass bands and plenty of funk. Another French Quarter goodie is One Eyed Jacks. The shows are killer, and the velvet swank is abound, even the art on the walls is velvet… you have to see it to get it and the roster constantly has local bands on the verge of making it big.
Drifter Hotel photos by Emily Alben
Thanks for the recommendations, Andi! Don’t forget to give her a follow on instagram.
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