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.
Café du Monde
800 Decatur St.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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]
Hubbard Mansion Bed-and-Breakfast
3535 St. Charles Ave.
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