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New Orleans Nights

New Orleans. Just those two words can whisk you away to a magical time and place. Share a plate of beignets with a loved one at the Café du Monde. Stop and listen to one of the local jazz bands in the French Quarter. Window shop the French-inspired antiques. Learn from a local how to properly pronounce ”Tchoupitoulas.”

Many people may think of the rowdy crowds gathered every Mardi Gras; flinging beads off balconies and doing, well, just about everything in excess. However, a great time to visit New Orleans is in the summer. If you can stand the heat, stay in this kitchen. You will be rewarded with New Orleans’ good food, history, and beauty.

The first place to start is with a charming hotel. There are dozens to choose from in the French Quarter alone. Parking may be difficult along the older streets of the Quarter but luckily, there’s plenty to see within walking distance. If your feet start hurting, just hop into a horse-drawn carriage for one of the tours around the area.

Of course, eventually you’ll need to eat. New Orleans abounds with eateries offering local flavors and Cajun meals. Try the Croissant D’or Patisserie across the street from the quaint Hotel Villa Convento on Ursulines Avenue. You’ll find fresh French pastries, hot coffee, and quiches.

By the time lunch rolls around, the French Market is ready for you. The French Market, dating back to the late 18th century, nestles between Jackson Square and the Mighty Mississippi. If you’re in the mood for a po’ boy, pop over to the Market Café. For Spanish fare, try Galvez Restaurant on N. Peters Street.

Night time causes the French Quarter to come alive in New Orleans. The locals seem to always have a reason to celebrate here. However, for dinner, briefly leave the Quarter, and head over to the Warehouse District. Located on Tchoupitoulas is Emeril Lagasse’s self-named restaurant, Emeril’s. The service is amazing! And since this is Emeril’s, so is the food.

After you’ve eaten what could quite possibly be the best meal of your life, leisurely head back to your hotel. Maybe stop for a box of locally-made Louisiana pralines, or to hear one of the local bands. Or take in a Voodoo or Ghost Tour. It’s up to you. It’s your New Orleans.

Erika L. Durham

25 July 2012

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