I have been making trips to New Orleans with my family my whole life, so it is with some authority that I tell you: Do not visit New Orleans in the summer! It is positively ungodly hot.
The perfect time is in the Fall. Or the day after Christmas. But you have to leave before Sugar Bowl, before the prices skyrocket. You will notice really huge young men wandering the French Quarter on your last day. Spring is lovely, too. Basically, any time that is not summer. If you want hot and humidity, just come see me in Houston, and we'll sit inside and sip cold Diet Cokes.
Is a trip to New Orleans the right decision for you? (Oldest is getting A LOT of college mail right now) Well, let's see. Do you like to wander around gorgeous old architecture, poking your head into beautiful and varied shops? Check. Do you like to eat? Check!!! Boom - NOLA!
My mom and I took a trip to NOLA this past November, and among the many variables, the weather was perfect.
The first time my mom visited this amazing city was in 1978, and she and my dad stayed at the Place d'Arms Hotel on St. Anne Street, and she's stayed at this same hotel every subsequent visit.
This hotel is gorgeous, a real Old World feel. Because it's super old for an American building - think 18th and 19th century. The courtyard is beautiful with a lovely pool. Only the Wifi is new. And it's so great to step outside and be a block away from Jackson Square.
There are a lot of wonderful shops in Jackson Square, but the absolute best is the Cafe Du Monde, home of the beignets, the most delicious fried bread/better than any doughnut delicacy.
Yep, that's me and my mom, getting powdered sugar all over us.
There is always a line at Cafe Du Monde, but it moves quickly. If you really hate lines, don't go between 2:00 and 4:00 because everyone is thinking that a beignet and coffee sound like a wonderful afternoon pick-me-up snack, not just you.
Maybe try first thing in the morning, when everyone else is sleeping off their Bourbon Street revelries.
Let's keep talking about food.
Our first night we ate at Antoine's. Antoine's boasts that it is the city's oldest restaurant. It is still family owned. But the main thing is their delicious food and fantastic service.
The cocktail menu is a treasure all on its own; we tried the Pim's Cup - delish! And then you must, YOU MUST, try the puffy French Fries, the Pommes de Terre Souffles. OMG, they are everything French fries aspire to be.
New Orleans has some of the best restaurants in the country. You will have a hard time choosing where to spend your evening, but keep this one on your List of Possibilities.
Muriel's is right down the street from our hotel, and this is where we dined the 2nd night. The Shrimp & Grits is so good I almost licked the plate.
Okay, it's hard to take a proper photo of Shrimp & Grits, but I assure you this was so, so amazingly delicious.
Again, with the amazing customer service, again with the fabulous cocktails menu. It's like a running theme in this city!
Here's a fun tradition! At Brennan's, on your birthday, they will serve you a GIANT plate of cotton candy!
It was not my mom's birthday, but she asked the waiter if she could have some cotton candy anyway because it's her favorite, and he was too happy to oblige.
We had breakfast at Brennan's, and I got the avocado toast. My mom was pretty Johnny-on-the-spot taking photos of our food, but this time I was too quick for her.
So, she got our waiter to snap the pic for her before I ate it all.
This restaurant is beautiful; if you have a special occasion, this is a great place to celebrate.
If you are alive and enjoy dining on delicious food in a magical environment, this is a great place to celebrate just that.
Seriously, there is Gumbo everywhere in the French Quarter. And every restaurant has the best Gumbo. We really liked the Gumbo Shop. Because their Gumbo is the best. And so is the Bread Pudding.
This is me, about to put some Bread Pudding in my belly.
Our Mother/Daughter trip was absolutely delightful. I hope you get to plan a fun trip this year, too!