The R&R Guide to New Orleans / by Shane Henderson

When talking to people about New Orleans, we are always surprised to find that it doesn’t have the best reputation. People who have never been, or who have only been once for a bachelor party, seem to think that the whole city is a debauchery-filled dump. NOLA does have a big drinking culture, and of course, if you visit and spend the whole time hammered in bars on Bourbon St, that is the impression you will leave with. But if you spend even a little time exploring everything else the city has to offer- the culture, the amazing food, the music, the beautiful old neighborhoods, and the friendly people, you will come away with a completely different idea of NOLA. 

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Recently we flew down for a long weekend and had a wonderful time. We ate ourselves sick and then spent hours walking it off, wandering the neighborhoods looking at the beautiful homes… We relaxed under huge live oaks in Audubon Park... We drank wine on cozy patios and watched the cable car rumble by... We danced to live Jazz in the French Quarter… Whats not to like?

Here are some of our top picks from the weekend. If you are headed to New Orleans anytime soon, be sure not to miss them!

Best Non-traditional PoBoy

Killer Poboys. located right off of Bourbon St, offers a selection of unusual poboys that are just as delicious as their more traditional counterparts. Avoid the overpriced, lukewarm pizza slices on Bourbon and come here for a Glazed Pork Belly, or BBQ Chicken Confit PoBoy instead. You will not be disappointed. 

Best Hummus You Have Ever Tasted Hands Down

We would never have guessed that we would find some of the best Isreali food we have ever had in New Orleans, but sure enough, that is what we found at Shaya. We lucked out with a last minute reservation at this buzzy, recent James Beard Award-winning restaurant, and proceeded to have course after course of phenomenal dishes. We could have had an entire meal of the fresh baked pita alone, it was sooo good. 

Best Date Night Wine Spot

Shortly after arriving in NOLA, we walked over from our Airbnb to The Delachaise, an adorable neighborhood bistro with a patio overlooking St. Charles Ave. Along with the bottle of wine and a cheese plate, we also ordered a round of their truffle fries and some delectable frog legs. Sitting under the fairy lights on the patio and watching the trolleys roll by as we snacked on these goodies was the perfect start to our first night.

Strangest + Most Entertaining Parade Ever

Although we were in town a little too early for the more famous Mardi Gras parades, we lucked out and ended up catching the craziest one of the lot. Krew de Vieux is one of the earliest big parades of the Mardi Gras season and is famous for being VERY adult themed and often political. We posted up on a balcony on Frenchman St and watched as the colorful, creative, and incredibly inappropriate floats went by. Nothing like a flock of dildo-horned unicorns dancing by to get your Saturday night started. 

Best Spot for Your Morning Croissant and Coffee

One thing that really sets New Orleans apart from other cities in the US is the French influence! The architecture, the accents, the shops, the food... they all show the evidence of the cities history. What better way to celebrate that French influence than with a warm, flaky croissant at La Boulangerie, Magazine Street's tastiest patisserie. 

Best Bar To Relive Your College Days

During our trip, we were fortunate enough to be shown around by a native New Orleanian who took us to a few of his favorite late night haunts. Our pick of the lot was Tchoup Yard, a sprawling outdoor bar and beer garden complete with food trucks and fire pits. Sure, the crowd may be a little on the younger side, but sitting around a fire on a cool evening with a bucket of beers is great at any age.

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Best Sunny Spot To Relax And Digest

Our last day in the Big Easy was pretty full. No seriously, we were stuffed to the brim, no more food could possibly be consumed. To alleviate our belly aches, we took a long stroll through the neighborhoods. We couldn't stop "ooo-ing" and "ahhh-ing" at all the adorable NOLA style houses and we even stopped by Beyonce's pad to say Heyyyy, although she, unfortunately, was not there :(. Afterwards, we walked over to the scenic Audubon Park. There you can find the "Tree of Life" which has been growing since 1740. It's a big tree, REALLY big, and it would have been pleasant to lay a blanket under its branches and snooze the afternoon away.