City Stories: New Orleans

There’s something about spending time in New Orleans… I wander the streets, just taking it all in. I love how antiquated it is, how real it feels. We try to get down there, from our home in Mississippi, a few times a year, which is never long enough.

On this visit, we stayed at The Pontchartrain Hotel and I’m so glad we did, because when you step outside the door, you step right onto St. Charles Street and in front of a street car stop. Our son thought it was magical. I loved how classic and old school the hotel is. Just recently renovated, The Pontchartrain is just stunning. From housing three John Besh restaurants to complete views of the city from the roof bar, Hot Tin, it screams vintage through out the property. A must visit, even if you don’t stay there. I highly, highly suggest eating at the Silver Whistle Cafe and make sure to look up at the uncovered ceiling and eat the potatoes. They found the original ceiling, hidden for years and years, just during the recent renovations. It’s remarkable.

We wanted to make this visit about seeing more art and visiting restaurants that we hadn’t tried before, so on day one, after arriving, we took it easy, ate at our favorite po-boy shop, Parasol’s in the Irish Channel, and rode the St. Charles street car to the end of the line and back. It was fun to see the homes on St. Charles that had decorated for Halloween and catch them as the sun was setting, homes glowing.

Day two:

We woke up on our first full day and ate the the colorful and delicious Elizabeth’s Restaurant. It was so good and the portions were large… easy to share if you just want to get a couple of things and split them. Very kid friendly. Then we headed to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. A local-to-us artist, Maude Clay, was showing her work, so we were excited to get to wander though her collection of photographs. Afterwards, we grabbed a quick bite at Slice on St. Charles, then we returned to the hotel, to let Tom get a nap and we recharged as well. In the afternoon, we headed to Plum Street Snoballs. Ummm, so good! NOLA is known for their snoballs and this is one of the best that we’ve tried, even though we haven’t had a bad one to date. Next, we took Tom to the playground in Audubon Park, to let out some energy. This playground is fun because you can still watch the street cars riding by. For dinner, we headed to Sylvain, in the French Quarter. It is this charming place, tucked away from the busy parts of the Quarter. We sat outside in the little court yard and it was peaceful for sure. Really amazing food as well.

Day three:

When in Rome… we ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde. This is such a classic staple to New Orleans, that I’m not sure they could ever not be wonderful and perfect. You leave with the smell of powdered sugar following you all day. We headed to NOMA next, stopping first at the playground in City Park first. We love to take Tom to museums, but any time we are taking him somewhere where it requires him to be a bit quieter or not run, that sort of thing, we like to let him get some energy out first. The playground is next door, so perfect location. Morning Call is right there too, which I’d love to try next time. It’s another beignet place that I’ve heard great things about. I loved the modern art collection at NOMA. I’m a big Alexander Calder fan, so it was nice to see some of his work there. For lunch, we ate at Lilly’s on Magazine. There’s not a trip that we take that we don’t eat Vietnamese, so we were excited to read reviews of this place and try it out. Certainly not disappointed. It was so good! Afterwards, we headed to the hotel, so Tom could rest. When he woke, we just drove around, looking at all the houses in the Garden District, taking pictures. We also popped into the shop Hattie Sparks. Great place to pick up locally made goods, little design pieces and great cards. I bought a bag and a Po-Boy print.  Then we had an early dinner at the High Hat on Freret Street. Highly recommend trying it out… great decor, great food and cocktails and the street it’s on, Freret has seen a boom in the last few years. So much to see along here.

Day four:

This was a short day for us, as we were leaving town this day. We woke up and ate downstairs in the hotel, at the Whistle Stop Cafe. As I mentioned before, try to potatoes. They are by far the best I’ve ever tasted and I think it made for the best meal we had during our stay in New Orleans. Next, after checking out of the hotel, we packed up and headed to the Insectarium. We loved this museum! It was so well done and our son loved it! He’s really into science and bugs, so it was up his ally. We grabbed lunch at St. Roch Market before hitting the road. It’s nice because it’s basically a foodies food court. So many great items to choose from and everyone can just get what they want.

This rounded out another great trip to New Orleans. I think next time, we will need to add another three days, just to really take in everything we want to see. Our list that we didn’t get to do or see is longer than what we did take in.

This post was made in partnership with Visit New Orleans and The Ponchartrain Hotel. Thank you to Visit New Orleans for helping make our trip happen. While they did compensate us for some of the places that we visited, all of my opinions are my own. And thank you to The Ponchartrain Hotel for the stay. We loved it!