Drop Me Off In New Orleans

I spend a lot of time writing about not being home, but if there every was a place that feels as familiar as an old sweater, a college dorm, a pot of chicken soup, and 1970’s linoleum flooring all rolled into one it’s New Orleans.

I’ve long had a torrid love affair with this city. Forbidden and tumultuous. I almost once dared to call it home, but she refused to have me. At least for no more than a few weekends a year.

If you’ve never been or haven’t been in a while, I suggest you add her to your list. I’m not the jealous type, so if you happen to fall in love too, I’m happy to share her with you.

Christmas in New Orleans is where it’s at. I know it sounds odd, but there’s something magical that happens over the city in December. Perhaps it’s the pre-Mardi Gras tension building or the hopes of a post-season run of the Saints or the local Christmas office parties that take over a less-touristy Bourbon Street (allowing you to witness Janice from accounting being poured into a cab by colleagues).

Here are 10 things you should add to your itinerary:

If you’re up for a walking tour, go to the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery. For an interesting hidden gem, visit the Longue Vue House and Gardens. Grab food and drink at an old converted church called Vessel NOLA and indulge in a really nice seafood meal at GW Fins. And yes, it is absolutely mandatory that you catch a show at Preservation Hall, but before you make the line to get in, cross the street and live out your best blood-sucking fangtasy at Boutique du Vampyre. I’m personally obsessed with the artist Peter O’Neill and he has two galleries down Royal Street, among studios of other very talented artists. This is a great little side street to stumble your way through, preferably with a credit card in hand. Live out your Great Gatsby fantasy at The Roosevelt and ask for a proper martini at its beautiful bar, the Sazerac. Finally, the best people watching happens at the Plaza de Armas.

This is a very small list. Tiny. There are several places that deserve honorable mentions, like the Carousel Bar and Harrah’s and the Maple Leaf Bar, but that’s what is so special about New Orleans, one place will lead you to the next and before you know it you’re completely seduced.

Maybe it feels like home because my name is already on the plaza.

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