New Orleans

New Orleans, or NOLA as the cool kids call it, is awesome. Party vibe, live music, delicious food and burning hot sun, it’s a really unique spot in the US. Given it’s history, it’s a hodge podge of European cultures and flavours rolled into one, which they call ‘Creole’. The food scene there is absolutely ridiculous with everyone claiming to have the best po’boys, muffletta and gumbo shrimp on every corner…and it wouldn’t surprised me if they were all as delicious as each other. They say you gain a pound for every day you are there, which is why it’s pronounced New Orleans, not New Orleeeeeeans.

For all it’s frolicking and fun, NOLA does have a dark side. Everyone I spoke to before I visited, as well as my hotel concierge, told me to never walk around at night alone. There is a ridiculously high crime rate, and not just for petty theft, but knife-crime and rape. So you have to be vigilant, much like I was told to be in Memphis, but the difference between the two was that New Orleans is packed full or people, constantly busy so I never felt alone, even though I was.

If you love food, booze and music, you’ll love this insanely buzzing city.


Tours: Walking tours my absolute favourite way of getting to know a city. New Orleans have a lot on offer, but I did two tours with Free Tours by Foot which were both excellent. You pay at the end what you think the tour was worth. If you get a tour guide called Rene, you’re in for a treat! If you’re in NOLA for a few days and want to get out of the city, the swamp alligator tours are hugely popular – I didn’t have time to go, but people I know who did had a great time.

Festivals: I was in New Orleans for only four days but every day there was a different festival, celebrating everything from Music in the Park to Greek food. No joke! Check out what’s going on and make sure you hit the free fests.

Places to see: Get lost in the French Quarter – the oldest, most charming part of New Orleans. Make sure you hit Royal Street which become pedestrianised around midday. Go to Frenchman Street around 5pm, pop into one of the bars to listen to live music for a couple of hours, then head to the open-air art market from 7pm. Make sure you walk by ‘touchdown Jesus‘ at night, which is a famous sculpture of Jesus holding his arms up in the gardens of St Louis Cathedral. At night, the spotlight on the sculpture shines a massive shadow of Jesus on the cathedral itself and it’s been dubbed, touchdown Jesus because that’s exactly what it looks like He’s doing.

Make sure you get a street car from the French district to the Garden district of New Orleans, where you can do another walking tour. The Garden district is a residential area full of massive and stunning homes of some of the wealthiest families as well as famous actors and actresses from Hollywood. It’s also famous for it’s cemeteries which are huge and beautiful. Once you’ve done the Garden district walking tour, head to Magazine Street, which is full of charming boutique stores and excellent food spots. Bourbon Street is perhaps the most famous street in NOLA and is right in the heart of the French Quarter. It can get VERY messy at night time. If you want, you can see another side of New Orleans by taking a $3 ferry across the water to Algiers Point.

Museums: Pharmacy Museum which was a circa-1823 apothecary exhibiting early medicines and superstitious cures, that have tours at 1pm. The WWII Museum is absolutely massive and worth a walk around – make sure you do the film at the end of the museum, rather than the start.

Plantations: There are a ton of plantations tours around the outskirts of New Orleans centre. Check them out and pick your favourite. I visited The Whitney, which is unique in that it focuses on the lives and perspective of Louisiana’s ensalved people, rather than the plantation owners, like most other plantation tours.

Where to work out: I tried and loved my first OrangeTheory fitness sessions in NOLA. Thy helped me work off those beignets!


Josephine Estelle An awesome Italian osteria. Order the meat and cheese plate to start. The Mount Tam Brie is to die for.

Café du Monde World famous of it’s beignets and chicory coffee. There’s no need to stand in the long line to get a table; instead, walk round the side to their take away booth and enjoy the powdery-sugary goodness slowly.

Willa Jean Awesome contemporary baker, great for breakie

N7 Gorgeous, hidden gem. Excellent dinner choice.

Bacchanal Wine, charcuterie, cheese and live jazz, not far from N7. Head there for the cheese and and wine course after your meal.

Shaya Awesome Israeli cuisine

Killer Poboys Po’ boy is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana. Hmmmm, wasn’t too impressed by the (po) boy. Tasted like overly toasted baguette and far too much mayonnaise. Not my thing.

Meals from the Heart Café Incredible vegan pancake breakfasts! Go go go!

Green Goddess OK food in a charming alleyway

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Satsuma Cafe Healthy food with fresh-pressed juices and leafy greens

Willie Mae’s Scotch House Best fried chicken since 1957

Pêche Seafood Grill Fresh, tasty seafood

Atchafalaya Go for brunch, then walk Magazine street and Colloseum Street

Cane & Table Eat and drink in a courtyard under fairy lights

Compere Lapin Cocktails and daring Caribbean dishes

St Roch Market Serving everything from Haitian food to fresh oysters

Elizabeth’s The best hangover cure of cornbread waffles topped with duck hash and sweet potatoes

Mothers For the mother of all po’boys

Gumbo Shop Order a heaped bowl of seafood gumbo or the crawfish etouffee 

Parkway Bakery Serves the best po-boy in town, and Obama’s favourite spot in NOLA. Order the surf n’ turf

Sylvain Gastropub-style restaurant with delicious upscale food

Ruby Slipper Local chain for breakfast (get the bacon Bloody Mary and the Fried Chicken Benedict) – plan ahead. The wait is long…

Napoleon’s House Busy with the tourists, but if you want to taste a muffletta (a sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans), get it there

Antoine’s The oldest ‘café’ and fine-dining in the city. Serves 25 cent martinis at the weekend! 

Seaworthy For the love of oysters

Coulis For biscuits and gravy
R’evolution Delicious LatAm cuisine
Mr B’s Bistro Finest Creole dining in the (French) quarter
Central Grocery Italian deli that do the best muffuletta to go
The Franklin Hip cocktails with New American flare
The Joint NOLA’s best BBQ
Adolfo’s Best Italian with Creole flare on Frenchman St
Jacques Imo’s Cafe Quirky, mural-lined hot spot luring locals & tourists with Creole soul food; just expect a wait
Cafe Degas Where Degas hung out when he lived in NOLA
Balise Louisiana fare with European accents plus cocktails & wine in a townhouse setting with dark wood.
Commander’s Palace Notable spot for refined Creole fare & an elegant jazz brunch in a chandelier-hung space since 1880


The Dungeon Club Very cool and creepy 

Drip Affogato specialist offering creative pairings of ice cream and hot drinks in a chic, modern space

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Arnaud’s french 75 The best cocktails in town

Cherry espresso bar Coffee deli

Spitfire Coffee The reason people wake up in New Orleans

Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone Literally a carousel bar. Hard to get a seat, but it’s super cool if you can with great live music 



Preservation Hall If there’s one place you go to in NOLA, make sure it’s this. The best live jazz I have ever seen in my entire life, and in the most authentic setting. Make sure you book a ticket to guarantee a place. There are no loos, AC or bar inside, so make sure you go to Pat O’Briens bar next door to pee and buy booze to take inside.

Spotted Cat Seriously good jazz bands

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

d.b.a Live music and beer

Fritzel’s More amazing jazz

The Three Muses Excellent jazz



Chateau Hotel New Orleans In the heart of the French district, but away from the noise, their 18th century converted hotel has charming rooms and communal courtyard with a pool, which is a must in the NOLA heat!

Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…

Catahoula Hotel Cozy and creative

Henry Howard Hotel Cute boutique

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