Catahoula Hotel, New Orleans

If you have 36 hours in New Orleans… Part Deux

I am fortunate to spend about third of my time in New Orleans, LA, also known as The Big Easy. Three years ago, I shared my favorite places to eat, sightsee, and shop, if you had 36 hours in New Orleans.

Two weekends ago, I experienced my first staycation – in said New Orleans. Which gave me a completely new perspective on this amazing city that is New Orleans, specifically on the emerging neighborhood known as the CBD / South Market District. So here are my recommendations if you have 36 hours in New Orleans – part deux.

Where to stay
At the Catahoula hotel. Granted, I was biased before checking in because my amazing sister-in-law Amy works there. She is the Director of Sales and Guest Experience, and in charge of the hotel’s social media – and does such a great job that the Catahoula was just named as one of the world’s top 9 “most instgrammable hotels” by Vogue.

Where to drink
At the Catahoula hotel – Sally (pictured above) makes amazing cocktails, as delicious as her smile! And the roof-top terrace transports you to another world, filled with Tiki culture and cocktails, and live music.

At The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel. The scene is completely different from that of the Catahoula. This feels like the beautiful people of NYC, a scene filled with fancy people wearing stiletto heels and logo-d belts.

Where to eat
At Willa Jean, the latest John Besh creation. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this place might be best known for its “F’rose” (frozen rose), but it really should be on your radar for the breakfast cocktails (only in New Orleans do coffee-inspired vodka cocktails sound perfect for breakfast). Or the biscuits (they are square instead of round, and taste like amazingness). Or the Intelligentsia coffee. Or the service (which was impeccable at 7:30 am on a Saturday).

At Company Burger. BYOLT. Bring your own lettuce and tomato. As in these burgers don’t have any. They taste like the best McDonald’s burger, but even better. The double patty might be the secret. Or maybe the secret is the “secret sauce.”

At SeaWorthy. An oyster bar that now rivals Black Salt (in DC) as my favorite oyster bar. Complete with oyster (that comes with cornbread blinis) and champagne. In the most amazing décor, an old townhouse that has been renovate just enough, but not too much.

At Domenica. Yes, another John Besh concept. Named after Sunday (la domenica in Italian), the best day of the week. The pizza is to die for (try the Prosciutto), as is the roasted cauliflower (trust me).

Where to shop
At Hattie Sparks. I couldn’t help but walk in this boutique when I peaked through the window and saw a purple dress. I have been needing a purple dress (more to come on this later this week). As the card says, this store is filled with “cool stuff for you and your home.” The brainchild of Hattie Collins Moll and Kelly Lore Merry, this boutique’s style and its wares are both minimalist and whimsical. Perfect to shop for hostess gifts, girlfriend gifts, and “just for me” gifts. And to find that purple dress you have been wanting.

At Transportation Revolution. But just to window shop. Because the Triumph bikes look really, really good.

What else to do?
Go to a Saints game at the Superdome. Even when they lose, the energy is amazing and the crowd is fun.

If you have 36 hours in New Orleans…

One of the best things about having family visit is the excuse to do some typical touristy things in a city I love. This past weekend, my youngest sister and her fiancé visited my second (third?) home, New Orleans. Should you find yourself in Louisiana for a summer weekend, here are my recommendations, all “sister-approved.”

Thursday evening:

For the most special dinner in town, head to Stella, owned by Chef Scott Boswell. This is definitely a special occasion splurge, the four course tasting menu with wine pairing will leave you delighted, but not overly full. While I am a fan of all of the fish dishes, my sister’s was their best-selling Duck 5 ways.

After dinner, we headed to Frenchman street, where despite the summer off-season period, the music was plentiful. DBA remains a favorite, and this past Friday night was no disappointment.

Friday:

After a morning of work, we headed to Domilise’s Po-Boy & Bar uptown. This is perhaps one of the most reknowned Po-Boy places in New Orleans, a hole in the wall with freshly made Po-Boys like you cannot find outside of New Orleans. The traditional option for a Friday lunch is half fried shrimp, half fried oysters, but I prefer the ham and cheese Po-Boy. Either way, there is no wrong way to go…

Since we were already uptown, we made a slight detour by Magazine street, one of the longest shopping streets in the United States. I finally got to visit my new favorite shoe store, Ceces, and of course we went across the street to Jean Therapy, both locally-owned boutiques of course. While we could have spent the rest of the weekend on Magazine, we quickly moved on to avoid going over-budget.

Only in New Orleans do cemeteries qualify as major tourist attractions… indeed, as the city is built on a swamp, the dead have to be buried above ground, which makes for elaborate crypts and mausoleums. We stopped by Lafayette Cemetery for some quiet reflection, a cemetery established in 1833 in the Garden District (which reminded me that next time my sister comes, we will have to go to Commander’s Palace, perhaps the most famous restaurant in town).

Finally, our last stop that afternoon was the World War II Museum, formerly known as the National D-Day Museum, located in the Central Business District. For two Europeans, the Pacific part of the exhibit was particularly interesting (our museums focus mostly on the European part of WWII).

As no day is complete in the Big Easy without a fabulous dinner, we headed to Maximo’s Grill, my favorite Italian restaurant in the city.

The rest of the weekend was spent in the Hammond / Springfield area of Louisiana, mostly on a wakeboarding boat. And that, my friends, will make for another story, one involving the Prop Stop (a bar accessible only by boat), alligators, and a couple epic face-plants…