When most people think of New Orleans, they think of Mardi Gras…floats, beads, costumes, and endless days of parades…but there is so much more to New Orleans. Anyone who has ever visited it takes a little bit home with them. This is because of the friendly, soulful, and laid-back atmosphere everyone is greeted with. Everywhere you go, you are sincerely welcomed into the lives, businesses, and history that make New Orleans entirely unique. If you haven’t traveled there yet, let me put you onto a few places where you can have a truly authentic experience.
La Belle Esplanade Bed and Breakfast
Run by Mathew King and his wife Frau Schmitt, this small bed and breakfast has been ranked the #1 place to stay in New Orleans, #2 in the United States, and #16 in the world. The reason they are such a success is because they have New Orleans ingrained into their souls and are happy to share every inch of it with anyone who walks through their door.
Café Du Monde
If you have never had a beignet, then you are in for a treat when you visit this outdoor coffee shop in the French quarter. Established in 1862, Café Du Monde has a history richer than the café au lait they serve. Not only has it been around forever, but it is housed in one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans. With ample seating and customer service like no other, you will find this to be an amazing spot to sit back and relax after perusing the French Quarter.
The Artwork of Jackson Square
Right across the street from Café Du Monde you will find Jackson Square, which is home to many very talented artists. The square itself is surrounded by multiple historic buildings. Local artists display their artwork along the iron fence and street performers are abundantly talented. You will never find yourself bored in Jackson Square.
New Orleans is host to what locals call, “The City of the Dead.” These are beautiful cemeteries where loved ones have been laid to rest in stone crypts that are above ground. The most popular gravesite you can visit is that of the popular voodoo priestess Marie Laveau who resides in St. Louis Cemetery #1. There are multiple companies that offer tours of the most popular cemetaries, or you can just set out on your own. Either way, you will be fascinated by how far some of the gravesite’s date back.
Known for its amazing food and southern charm, Commanders Palace offers a unique brunch experience where you can dine and listen to jazz music in the same place. Open since 1893, this restaurant is a New Orleans landmark. Even if you can’t make it for their weekend brunch, you will find that their lunch is just as good.
New Orleans is a unique and soulful city, where you can truly get lost in the culture and history. Along with the places above, I highly recommend visiting some of the local neighborhoods, like the Garden District. The architecture of many of these homes is something everyone should see.