new orleans fall stroll
Aww New Orleans. A hugely miss represented pleasure from my perspective. Yes you can visit and easily find your way into drunken debauchery. But the place has some great approaches for visits otherwise. Particularly for a weekend visit during the fall for perfect weather and Covids crowd reduction effect. Thus allowing for a calm and enjoyed stroll through the Big Easy's preferred stops.
An early morning flight gets you in for some daylight to get your bearings. A quick Uber from the airport to your first night stay in the Marigny district. Gritty artsy vibe of an area, think Venice Beach but southern, with some great hole-in-the-wall stops. But first, and why you're staying in this area, is your evening stay at Hotel Peter & Paul. This is an experience stay. The grounds are an 18th century renovation restyled with a contemporary but original feel. Each building: the hotel, bar & eatery, church and ice cream parlor is each an accent to enjoy. And your dinner for the night, at The Elysian Bar, can be enjoyed on a tucked away patio or the wide open floors of the church; a once in a life time option.
With some daylight still left though, and a couple of hours before your dinner reservation, you can grab a walk over to and through Frenchmen St. A smaller and more arts influenced vibe than Bourbon St. And some great live music spots when permissible again. (Being a jazz fan this was missed while visiting during Covid. And I send my best to the musicians during this time.) A short loop walks you back to the hotel through the gritty, but massively colorful, rows of southern style homes in the neighborhood. A complimenting visual along with the friendly vibe of passerby's, little bars and cafes. A hole-in-the-wall haven. Gritty yes, but always friendly and always felt safe. If you hadn't already, you'll find yourself continually wanting to inspect the visuals once returning to the hotel grounds. Time for dinner.
As I said earlier, dinner on the open floors of a restored church is a once in a life time dinner option. Enjoy. After, you have a couple options pending your mood after a day of travel. The cozy option is ice cream next door and get some rest for the day of walking ahead. The night cap option is a quick Uber away for a drink at N7. This pending Covid bar restrictions and dining seating only. The lively option would be to head back over to Frenchman St. or an Uber to Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits. Whichever route you take save some room for some shut eye. Alota ground to cover by foot in morning. But that ground doesn't start until enjoying a fresh cup in the vintage ambiance of the bar cottage.
With a cup to go, you're headed down and over through the grit into the arts district. A photographers dream walk on a nice morning for dilapidated structures and street art. But completely safe and friendly feelings along the way to your destination at Elizabeth's. A morning I will remember fondly as the epitome of a down-home NOLA breakfast experience. Even if you're a vegetarian Try-The-Bacon. Then make your way back to the hotel for checkout and an Uber across town to your next stay at Old No. 77 Hotel. Another restoration now from a 19th century warehouse to an industrial chic stay. A real pleasure perfectly located in the city. Just a step out of the French District and waterfront. And not to mention an airy Caribbean in house restaurant.
But that's for later. Its 11am if your on time so have your bags held and your room will be ready after a city stroll. Time to put your leather slip ons to good use. And first things first, make your way over to stroll down Bourbon St. Although calm at this hour, and Covid, it's still very-very cool to walk down the infamous street. Now, regardless of--anything--at all, you can't stroll down Bourbon St. and not have a drink. So have an idea where that might be. For me it was Fritzels, one of the original hole-in-the-wall jazz pubs on the street. And all to myself I enjoyed a shot with quiet jazz on the speakers, that no doubt had been live at some point, and the ghosts of memories along the walls. A classic memory grab. So now with a slight pep in the step it was time for a lunch stop. Just so happens that Killer Po Boys is just back down the other street. Munch.
After lunch I made my way through the city to the water front. From here its water front views on the way to dessert. A desert that can be argued for at another stop in town but would not be the classic with waterfront views. Really just depends on your chosen walking route. In anycase, you have arrived for your coffee & beignets at Café Du Monde Riverwalk. I'm not a sweets or desert fan but this is really something you have to do. At this point the amount of walking is catching up to you. So one last stroll back past the hotel for a tram ride. Have the correct change and enjoy a ride and back to your chosen stop. The Garden District is a whole-nother world to explore. A more well-to-do charm of an area as opposed to Marigny. Depending on the time and energy just a ride through and back can be enjoyed for this trip.
Once you've made it back to the hotel its time for some rest before dinner. The industrial chic brick warehouse vibe of your room is the perfect compliment to your visit. And an earned comfy relax. But no time to waste on your weekend visit. Just a short walk away the hotel location has placed you perfectly for a dinning lineup. The evening walk takes you through Lafayetta Square in route to your first stop at Herbsaint. Also kinda of an industrial chic vibe, a local favorite and the best bowl of Gumbo to start the evening. Take your time and enjoy. And not to worry, there's more grub at your next stop. This was just a must stop warm-up to the evening. Then a step down the street, the next, last stop to the evening, and a fine one is Bar Marilou. What you have here is the refined banger for your visit. Another fantastic experience-stop amongst many others on your weekend visit. The ambiance, the prefixed bites and paired cocktails and friendly staff is solidly on-point. A very worthy last stop and send-off to your time in NOLA. Early flight out in the morning. Cheers.
Pro Tip: Depending on your taste you could flip-flop your first night stay in the Garden District and just stroll into the Marigny area. But do visit the Peter & Paul grounds. And if your flight out is later in the day, you can hire a tour ride for some swamp viewing before they drop you off at the airport.
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