's Tour of New Orleans's Tour of New Orleans
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 26, 2009

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Just in time for the 15th Annual ESSENCE Music Festival, we’re telling you the hottest places to eat, shop, party, sightsee in New Orleans.

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Nothing beats a mall for scoring last-minute finds for you, the hubby or the kids, especially when you’re out of town. The Shops at Canal Street is conveniently located between the Central Business District and the French Quarter and offers a New Orleans visitor everything they need from Brooks Brothers to Saks Fifth Avenue for the upscale seekers to small, lesser-known shops that sell accessories to home goods.

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For a roughly $15 cab ride from the touristy French Quarter, one can transport themselves to the Magazine Street shopping district of the Crescent City. A fashionista’s dream, the area is home to a host of vintage shops, trendy boutiques and quaint cafes. Check out Funky Monkey for secondhand finds and breeze through Ah-Ha for the latest designer wares. Catching a cab back to the Quarter might be a challenge, so be sure to plan accordingly.

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Shhh! Here’s a secret: The hyped French Quarter actually has more to offer than seedy jazz clubs and lounges. Head down to The Quarter for a wide array of one-of-a-kind paintings from local artists, rare antiques and handmade jewelry that make great conversation starters. Steer off the beaten path of Bourbon Street to smaller treks like Chartres and Royal Streets to get in on the insider retail fun.

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Our favorite cooking trio, the Get ’Em Girls, admit they plan their New Orleans meals before they pack, and share some of their favorite eats.

Oceana Grill
739 Rue Conti
Get ’Em Girls Tip: Try the Taste of New Orleans and share the crawfish ettoufee, jambalaya, and red beans, rice and sausage with friends.

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Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville

Get ’Em Girls tip: The best oysters in town! Try the chargrilled oysters topped with butter and grated romano, and for dessert, the pecan cobbler is a must!

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Cafe Du Monde
1039 Decatur Street

Get ‘Em Girls Say: Hailed as the original French Market coffee stand, the beignets are absolutely divine. Long lines aside, the crisp and powdery sugar clouds can’t be denied—and one order is pretty sufficient for at least three people.

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Travel along the city’s African American Heritage Trail which includes the Amistad Research Center, the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and more.

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For antiques and fabulous aged finds, check out Royal St. Take a piece of the city’s rich history with you.

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While in the southern city also experience the city’s rich art culture including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

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No visit to The Big Easy is complete without learning more about the rich culture that helped make the wonderful city so great. Arguably the oldest Black neighborhood in America, Faubourg Tremé was home to the largest community of free Black people in the Deep South during slavery. Here, Black and White, free and enslaved, rich and poor cohabitated, collaborated, and clashed. Schedule a formal tour or hop in a cab and discover this historic hood on your own. Pop into Lil’ Dizzy’s while you’re there to grab a plate of fish and grits.

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While in the French Quarter, hop on board a carriage ride for a romantic journey through the heart of the city. Then head down to the waterfront for shopping and eating with a fabulous view.


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