72 Hours In
When New Orleans is brought up in conversation, people tend to first think of the neon-lit debauchery of Mardi Gras. But the soulful southern city is so much more than that. One of the most unique destinations this country has to offer, it's a melting pot of French, Spanish, Creole, African and old school American cultures. Nine years after Hurricane Katrina and one Superbowl later, New Orleans has more than recovered and regained its spot as one of the top travel spots in the US. I just recently had the opportunity to spend three days in this beautiful city and here's a quick dispatch of my favorite spots.
The Roosevelt Hotel is located right off of Canal Street—close to everything and just far enough to escape the ruckus of Bourbon Street. Originally constructed in 1908, it was renovated after Katrina and reopened in 2009. One of the most storied landmarks in the city, it's hosted everyone from Elvis and Louis Armstrong to Frank Sinatra. After check-in, go directly to the lobby's legendary Sazerac Bar and order the namesake cocktail.
The Roosevelt, rooms from $179
Two of the best things about New Orleans are the cocktails and the music. Forget Bourbon Street and its sugary hurricanes for a second. Stick with the classics like the sazerac or order yourself a Vieux Carre—a mix of rye, vermouth, Benedictine and bitters—at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone where local singers and musicians play live on the weekends. Or head to Preservation Hall on St. Peter's Street. The worn and weathered jazz spot is so small you could easily walk right by. But don't be fooled, this intimate cove has been a beloved venue for traditional New Orleans Jazz for half a century. There are three concerts nightly from 8 to 11 pm, and while they don't serve drinks, you can bring over ones bought next door at Pat O'Brien's. If you're venturing past the French Quarter, check out Freret Street Publiq House, a combination sports bar and music venue known for its beer cocktails served in large Mason jars.
Sleep in one morning and have the Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. They have your typical breakfast fare along with local favorites—Jambalaya, Turtle Soup, Shrimp Etouffee and Bread Pudding in Whiskey Sauce. If you're down in the French Quarter, follow the trail of powdered sugar from Jackson Square to Cafe Du Monde, for their famous beignets. And when in Cajun country, you had better treat yourself to a po' boy sandwich. Mahony's on Magazine Street is arguably one of the best places to get one. We recommend the grilled shrimp with fried green tomatoes and spicy remoulade sauce.
Regardless of the stifling heat and humidity the summer months afford, the gentlemen from New Orleans still know how to stay on point when it comes to dressing well. The young bucks trod in their Sperrys while the distinguished men have no shame in sporting cotton bow ties with their khaki suits. Want to pick up some Southern style? Check out Rubensteins on Canal Street. They sport a good collection of such classic brands as Eton and Barbour as well as an in-house made-to-measure program for shirts and suits. Goorin Brothers on Royal Street also has a nice selection of panamas and straw fedoras to keep that Southern sun out of your eyes.