"16 in the middle of Miami"
Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA)
The Pad: Soniat House
Upon entering beneath the grand Louisiana balconies it requires reinforced effort to peel ones eyes away from the intricate detail of the Creole wrought iron. Stay focused…continue onwards…and what awaits the weary traveler is pure French elegance.
The Soniat House, one of the finest New Orleans boutique luxuries, is the perfect frame for a few days in NOLA. A daily Soniat House routine MUST include the brunch biscuits in bed paired with several rounds of evening bubbly inside the splendid Southern sitting room. This French Quarter find is a must.
The Edibles: Cochon
Cochon Restaurant, arguably serving the most unforgettable arsenal of Southern Cajun, is constantly demonstrating why New Orleans is home to some of the finest cuisine in America. A recent evening feast featured wood-fired oysters in chili garlic butter, fried alligator, cured pork belly and an array of other offerings. Cochon, which is located within the downtown warehouse district, should be targeted after the dinner rush to avoid the devoted clientele and subsequent table waits.
Out & About: The Bywater
Raw. I cannot think of a better adjective to describe the city of New Orleans. Even before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, NOLA was home to some of the highest rates of poverty in the country. In the wake of Katrina, NOLA was plunged into an even darker abyss. Now, nearly nine years after the storm, the city is starting to display signs of renaissance.
The Bywater neighborhood of NOLA (an area that never flooded during Katrina), which borders both the Mississippi River and the Lower Ninth Ward, has become a mecca for young artists and hipsters alike. The resurgent spirit of the Bywater is visible in the funky corner garage sale-esque stores and budding businesses like Satsuma café. Grab an afternoon egg and cheese biscuit recharge at Satsuma and continue on exploring the street art lined alleyways of the Bywater.
The Tunes: New Orleans Bounce
The gritty raw reality of present day New Orleans can be found in the local hip hop style known as “bounce.” Keedy Black’s nigga boy “Hammer,” Nicky Da B’s “Express Yourself,” and Diplo’s various cameo appearances…..if you know bounce, you know what I’m talk’n about. Bounce has yet to truly spread beyond NOLA but it’s probably best if it’s truly appreciated within its native environment. Bounce is a New Orleans must and once sampled it will somehow mysteriously find its way into your daily playlist.
The Edibles: August
Enjoying edibles at the contemporary French August restaurant is akin to enjoying a splendid 18th Century dinner party at a Southern plantation house. Imagine guests dinning under a canopy of high ceilings adorned with French moldings and exquisite chandeliers. Tailored sommelier pairings are an expression of Augusts’ Southern hospitality and impeccable attention to detail. I won’t spoil the surprise but a meal at August is a NOLA right of passage.
Out & About: The Garden District
When one imagines the heyday of Southern antebellum grandeur, be it in film or reality, it’s NOLA’s Garden District that is visualized. Strolling around to appreciate the opulent architecture of the Garden District is time well spent. Just ensure your afternoon incudes pit stops at the boutiques along Magazine street, Lafayette cemetery, Mojo Coffee and the mansion featured in the film “Benjamin Button.”
Late Night: Frenchman Street
Any NOLA late night requires a pilgrimage to enjoy the live music of Frenchman Street. Live music clubs, which can be found block after block, offer up (at any hour of the night) anything from classic jazz to New Orleans brass band performances. Frenchman Street is the soul of New Orleans and this core thread must be experienced.
Bounce, NOLA Style