N’Awlins - The Big Easy

New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the world, and I have been eager to share all of its charms with you since coming on board with C Magazine. Originally my honeymoon destination, I now use every excuse to get back to this historic and enchanting place, with last May marking my tenth visit.

I have always been intrigued by the colorful South – the history, the food, the people. New Orleans is a culmination of all of these things, and is truly a place where old meets new. The Vieux Carré, or French Quarter, exudes a strong European influence since the city was once owned by France, then Spain, and then France again. There is also a mix of Caribbean and French Acadian influence, giving way to “Creole” and “Cajun” references.

When traveling to New Orleans, there are many hotels to choose from. I favor the French Quarter with quaint, historic hotels, filled with authentic antiques and beautiful courtyards, complete with lush foliage and fountains. One of my favorites is Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street, where the beautiful lobby takes you back in time. Those looking for old spirits of the city can book a haunted room – documentaries have even been filmed on the hotel’s ghosts. And, don’t leave without having a famous Southerntini at the Carousel Bar.

Food lovers will hit the jackpot in this culinary haven! Irene’s in the French Quarter is a local favorite featuring Provincial/Italian cuisine with a Creole flair. Mr. B’s, across from the Monteleone, signature dishes of Ya-Ya Gumbo and Barbeque Shrimp Bistro are guaranteed to please. Mother’s, in the Central Business District, has awesome classics - sandwiches, gumbo and jambalaya. Be sure to ask for extra “debris” for your sandwich. You must visit Central Grocery, a small grocery store on Decatur Street with a lunch counter where you can sit and eat your muffaletta, a New Orleans original that you will never forget.

Other must-do attractions: French Quarter carriage ride; cemetery tour (try Layfette #1 in the Garden District); learn the art of Cajun and Creole cooking at the New Orleans School of Cooking; and enjoy the music–listen to jazz or Zydeco at Preservation Hall or at one of the many famous festivals.

One last tip: New Orleans is actually pronounced N’Awlins. Say that ten times as you are calling us to book one of our fabulous N’Awlins packages.

“Unique is a word that cannot be qualified. It does not mean rare or uncommon; it means alone in the universe. By the standards of grammar and by the grace of God, New Orleans is the unique American place.”

(Charles Kuralt’s America)