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The Frisky Guidebook: The Big Easy

A new saying is showing up all over New Orleans these days – Soul is waterproof. After 10 minutes in this unique city, you’ll see just how true that is. What keeps the city going post-Hurricane Katrina are its strong roots in family, food and music, as well as the undying belief in another famous New Orleans saying: Laissez les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll! The one thing you should know about New Orleans is this – nobody is going to let you rest until you’re over fed, a little bit tipsy and dancing down the street in the French Quarter. So, grab your dancing shoes, your fat jeans and your sense of humor and head on down to N’awlins baby.

OFFBEAT DATES

The Big Cheesy Tour
Rev. Zombie’s Voodoo Shop
723 St. Peter Street
Royal Blend Coffee and Tea House
621 Royal Street

Give yourself a good excuse to jump into your honey’s arms during a Ghost Tour or a Haunted Cemetery Tour. Normally, I’m not a big fan of tours. However, there are a few in New Orleans that are worth taking for their pure camp, wonderfully scary stories and beautiful scenery. Even if you don’t buy into the paranormal stories, you’ll get an amazing glimpse into New Orleans history, and see some of its most beautiful landmarks. After the tour, calm your nerves with a Hurricane or two on Pat O’Brien’s patio next to the flaming fountain.

Mid City Lanes Rock N Bowl
4133 S Carrollton Avenue
{504) 482-3133, RockAndBowl.com

The Rock ‘N’ Bowl is the only place I know of where you can dance to live zydeco and then bowl a few frames. Or, heck, you can do both at the same time. Nobody cares if you tear it up on your way to the line, on the dance floor…or even on the bar. The musical acts cover all of the local specialties like jazz, funk, zydeco and even rockabilly. If you get hungry, you can get some pretty decent lagniappe (that’s a little somethin’ extra for you first timers.)

Jacques-imos/The Maple Leaf Bar
8324 Oak Street, 8316 Oak Street
(504) 861-0886, JacquesimosCafe.com

Act like a local by eating and drinking a little too much and then dancing it off into the wee hours. Since you won’t see a really great show in New Orleans until after 10pm, start off at Jacques-imos – home to some of the best Creole food you’ll find anywhere. Once you’re done stuffing yourself with alligator cheesecake, fresh greens and smothered chicken and biscuits, walk a few doors down to the The Maple Leaf. The Maple Leaf regularly hosts some of New Orleans top musicians (Rebirth Brass Band plays almost every Tuesday night – guaranteed to get you moving). The crowd is eclectic, the drinks are cheap, and the patio is a great place to cool off.


SEXY HOTELS

Columns Hotel
3811 Saint Charles Avenue, Garden District
(504) 899-9308, TheColumns.com

The Columns Hotel is exactly the kind of place you think of when you think “deep south” — a beautiful, historic building that also happens to host one of the city’s best Uptown bars. Their guest rooms feature such indulgences as fireplaces, stained glass, four poster beds and claw foot tubs. Sip mint juleps on the porch, listen to live jazz in the ballroom, and relax over their delicious Sunday brunch.

La Maison Marigny
1421 Bourbon Street, French Quarter
(504) 948-3638, LaMaisonMarigny.com

Yes, it’s on Bourbon Street, but it’s on the quiet end and is truly an escape from the craziness of upper Bourbon, where it might as well be Mardi Gras year ’round. La Maison Marigny is small (only four guest rooms), comfortable, and beautifully romantic. The rooms are gorgeous, plush and eco-friendly, and you can sip Sunday morning mimosas in the flower filled courtyard.

Omni Royal Orleans
621 St. Louis Street, French Quarter
(504) 529-5333, OmniHotelNewOrleans.com

The Omni Royal Orleans has all of the elegance and comfort you’d expect from an Omni Hotel but still manages to feel a little Old World. The best part? The rooftop bar and pool are a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the Quarter, and has a great view of the city’s skyline.

SINGLES SCENE

Frenchman Street and The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen Street
(504) 943-3887
Frenchman Street, in the Faubourg Marigny, is just across the esplanade from the French Quarter. Frenchman is an up-and-coming street full of music clubs, shopping, and great food. You can just walk around on any given night until you find the place that’s right for you. But I would be remiss in not recommending that you check out The Spotted Cat.

Café Brasil
2100 Chartres Street, Fauberg Marigny
(504) 949-0851

Café Brasil is a bright, bouncing music club where people are often found dancing in the street outside. The music styles include the staples of New Orleans music as well as Latin and Reggae. Like most of the clubs in this area, it’s more local than tourist, which cuts down on the frat boy component.

Snake & Jake’s
7612 Oak Street. Uptown/Tulane
(504) 861-2802

If you’re just out for a hook up, hit Snake & Jake’s Xmas Club Lounge, a legendary late-night pick-up joint. It’s not the classiest place in the world, but it’s full of hipsters on the prowl. Once I even saw Adam Duritz drop in and play a set at 3am during Jazz Fest.

ROMANTIC DINNER A DEUX

Court of Two Sisters
613 Royal Street, French Quarter
(504) 522-7261, CourtOfTwoSisters.com

The best time to experience one of the most beautiful courtyards in New Orleans is on Sunday mornings for Jazz Brunch. So, it’s not dinner, but it’s a romantic meal nonetheless — plus, if you’re actually eating together the next morning, that’s romantic. The buffet is elaborate and full of scrumptious local specialties, but make sure to try the Eggs Benedict to order. And save room for the bread pudding.

Brennan’s
417 Royal Street, French Quarter
(504) 525-9711, BrennansNewOrleans.com

Brennan’s is one of the biggest names in a city full of famous restaurants (remember those Tasters Choice commercials? No? Maybe I’m old). It’s known for its elegant ambiance and world class food — famous New York chef Daniel Boulud made it one of his stop when his show After Hours filmed in New Orleans. They also have one of the best wine cellars in the city. Be sure to finish off your romantic dinner with their signature Bananas Foster. Nothing says romance like fire in the form of a flaming dessert.

Brigtsen’s
723 Dante Street, Uptown/Riverbend
(504) 861-7610, Brigtsens.com

Brigsten’s, located Uptown in a renovated 19th century shotgun, is known for its “adventurous” Louisiana Creole cuisine — that means LOTS of spice, y’all. For exquisite food in an intimate setting, go see Mama Brigtsen . She’ll make you feel at home in no time.


SEXY SHOPPING

House of Lounge
2044 Magazine Street
(504) 671-8300, HouseOfLounge.com

House of Lounge specializes in decadence. Red velvet. Silk & lace. Corsets. Feather Boas. Naughty little things. Just walking in the door will make you feel that much sexier. Once you’re equipped, find out how to put it all to use in a Burlesque 101 class.

Lili
4514 Magazine Street
(504) 891- 9311, LiliVintage.com

If you’re feeling particularly girly, stop into Lili’s Vintage Boutique. Lili’s specializes in classic yet stylish pretty things. Lacy slips, dainty shoes, beautiful jewelry. You’ll leave Lili’s feeling like a throwback style icon.

Dirty Coast
5704 Magazine Street
(504) 324-3745, DirtyCoast.com

If you think having clothes with a message is sexy, be sure to hit Dirty Coast for such gems as “It’s not Beautiful Being Easy”. Whether you’re into politics, music or looking for a souvenir with true local flavor, Dirty Coast’s funny and cool T’s cover it.

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