Story by Amanda Wells
Photos Courtesy of Cane and Table, New Orleans CVB and New Orleans Hotel Collection
New Orleans is just one of those places. You know the type, the ones that have a mystique, something about it that you just can’t quite put your finger on. When speaking of The Big Easy, a crowded and raucous Bourbon Street is often what comes to mind. If you don’t fall into that camp, rest assured that there’s more to this magical city than outrageous tourists and extreme imbibing. Kiss the swamp town of your college days goodbye and fall in love with New Orleans all over again. Let the good times roll.
Where to Lay Your Head
New Orleans is a lively place, there’s no doubt about that. But, we’ve discovered the Holy Grail of New Orleans accommodations – one where convenience, NOLA charm and location meet tranquility – The Audubon Cottages, located in the heart of the French Quarter on Dauphine Street.
An unassuming courtyard door leads to a collection of captivating cottages that ooze exclusivity and privacy. With your own private courtyard, an elegant heated saltwater pool, complimentary breakfast delivered to your door, and your own “French Quarter Butler,” you’ll be well taken care of at the Audubon Cottages.
Much like the city in which they sit, the Audubon Cottages are alive with history and intrigue. In the late 18th Century, shortly after two fires destroyed most of the city, the cottages were built. The cottages’ namesake, naturalist and painter John James Audubon lived in Cottage One from 1821 to 1822 while he completed his Birds of America series. Cottage Three is said to be a favorite of Elizabeth Taylor and Cottage Four is rumored to be home to a country music loving soldier’s ghost.
New Orleans is a city that celebrates celebrating, and this time of year is no exception. Head over to New Orleans City Park for Celebration in the Oaks. The oak groves, moss-covered cypress trees and meandering lagoons make this light show a memorable event that’s fun for the whole family. Ride a carousel or train through the park and enjoy the show.
Once you’re done with the celebration (if you ever are), a stroll down Magazine Street will offer a jumpstart on holiday shopping. Here, you’ll find unique and meaningful gifts for everyone on your list (including yourself).
Eat & Drink
An unmarked door in the French Quarter marks the way to the best happy hour spot you’re likely to ever experience. And being that you’re in New Orleans, that’s saying quite a lot. Cane and Table is home to a sophisticated Caribbean vibe and even more sophisticated cocktails that up the ante. The Banana Manhattan is a perfect melding of refinement and relaxation.
Magazine Street’s La Petite Grocery is leisurely dinner perfection. Chef Justin Devillier’s menu is creative, yet approachable, making La Petite Grocery an uptown mainstay. Fresh seafood and subtle hints of quintessential Big Easy flavor (chicory ice cream!) reign supreme.
For a laid-back evening that still involved delicious fare, take a cab to Bacchanal Wine in the Bywater. Here, you’ll enter what appears to be a hole in the wall wine shop. Pick your wine, with the help of some rather enthusiastic wine enthusiasts, grab a couple of cheeses and pay at the counter before heading out to the patio, where you’ll sit in plastic lawn chairs to the tune of live jazz. Bacchanal will serve up your cheese with grilled bread and you can order more hearty fare, like scallops or seafood stew, at the patio window.
Cane and Table
Christmas in the Oaks
La Petite Grocery