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Good Life in the Big Easy

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Whether you’re in town for The Essence Music Festival (July 2–4) or for a business conference, you’ll love our guide to the best food and culture New Orleans offers.

Restaurants
Café du Monde
800 Decatur St.
504-525-4544
cafedumonde.com

This historic French Market café serves two of the city’s must-have delicacies: beignets—deep-fried dough dusted with powdered sugar—and chicory-flavored coffee.

Commander’s Palace                                                                     1403 Washington Ave.                                                            504-899-8221                                                    commanderspalace.com

Located in a beautifully restored Victorian house, this elegant restaurant specializes in French creole fare and hosts a traditional jazz brunch on weekends.

Dooky Chase’s                                                                                    2301 Orleans Ave.                                                                  504-821-2294

Chef and co-owner Leah Chase continues her family’s culinary tradition at this venerable three-star creole restaurant; it’s a Black New Orleans treasure.

Mother’s Restaurant
401 Poydras St.                                                              504-523-9656

This laid-back cafeteria-style eatery has been a local favorite for 51 years, serving killer po’boys, étouffée, jambalaya, and red beans and rice. Expect long lines during lunchtime.

Zachary’s                                                                                       8400 Oak St.                                                                                504-865-1559

With a menu that combines down-home creole cuisine and stick-to-your-ribs soul food, this family-owned restaurant is renowned for its fried chicken, crawfish pie, and what some say is the best bread pudding in town.


Art Gallery/Museum

Stella Jones Gallery                                                                           201 St. Charles Ave.                                                         504-568-9050                                                                stellajones.com

A prime exhibition venue for exceptional artists, including works by Elizabeth Catlett, Tayo Adenaike and Richmond Barthe. The gallery, curated by historians Samella Lewis, Ph.D., and Eloise Johnson, Ph.D., also conducts educational programs for the local public-school system.

Nightlife

Club 360                                                                                           2 Canal St., 33rd floor                                          504-595-8900                                                                                              club360.com

Movers and shakers in the Big Easy come here to jam to a groovy mix of smooth jazz, reggae, old-school, funk, R&B and crunk.

Snug Harbor                                                                                  626 Frenchmen St.                                                          504-333-2275                                                                 snugjazz.com

A cool bar with ambience, this premier showcase for national and local jazz acts regularly features such musicians as Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis and Aaron Neville.

Sweet Lorraine’s
1931 St. Claude Ave.                                                                           504-945-9654                                                sweetlorrainesjazzclub.com

This Black-owned jazz club, stylish in its art deco interior, attracts some of the biggest names on the local and national jazz scenes. It also hosts Latin, big band, blues and a weekly poetry night, with comfortable seating and a late-night menu to boot.

Sightseeing

Africans in Louisiana Tours                                                                   1265 Valcour Drive
                                                                        Baton Rouge, Louisiana[                                                       225-772-1281                                                       africansinlouisiana.com

With tours departing from downtown New Orleans, this intimate four-hour luxury motor-coach tour traces the city’s slave history. Narrated by Leonard N. Moore, Ph.D., director of Louisiana State University’s African and African-American Studies program, the tour includes visits to Evergreen Plantation (which holds 18 original slave cabins), the Slave Market, African-American cemeteries and the River Road African-American History Museum.

Louis Armstrong Park
This site on North Rampart Street encompasses Congo Square, which was where slaves were allowed to participate in Sunday drum-and-dance sessions. Today the park contains Elizabeth Catlett’s majestic statue of its namesake Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong (below, lower right), and the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts. [PARA]

St. Charles and Canal Streetcar Lines
neworleansonline.com/tours-attractions/attractions/canalstreetcar.html

Traveling in these replica streetcars is a great low-cost way to see the city’s historic sights. Transit lines roll through the Garden District, Audubon Park and Zoo, from the Mississippi River to City Park. [PARA]

Hospitality

Hubbard Mansion Bed-and-Breakfast
3535 St. Charles Ave.
504-897-3535                                                        hubbardmansion.com

Built by Don and Rose Hubbard, this is the premier African-American–owned and –operated B&B in New Orleans, with a façade modeled after a nineteenth-century Natchez, Mississippi, mansion. The establishment, with two two-bedroom cottages in the rear, offers five bedrooms, two luxurious suites and a N’Awlins-style breakfast to die for. Room rates start at $129

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