Maven takes a trip: My take on New Orleans and why it's one of my favorite comeback kids

Good morning, Monday. Back at it.

So this past weekend I was in New Orleans and had a wonderful time. If there is a city in these here united states that embodies poetry, it is the one where saints go marching in. The city has a rhythm and cadence and overall vibe that is lyrical in every sense. I love spending time there- my uncle lived in the French Quarter his entire adult life and my in laws are spending most of the winter there, so let's just say it's in my genes and my husband's genes to love this town.  This town has more soul in it's pinky finger than most places anywhere. Hard not to get swept up in it.

Truth be told- this is a town for people who like to imbibe and indulge. That's one of the many things I love about it. That and it's leafy, sleepy trees, it's beautiful avenues with grand names like Esplanade and Rampart. The Frenchness of it all. The endlessly lovely shopping of Magazine Street in the Garden District. The music on every corner. The bars on every corner. The drawl. The food. THE FOOD.  I could go on but you get the picture. It's a dreamy, special place that feels bygone and modern all at once. And it's a city that went through absolute hell and came back again with class, grace, and respect. I love a comeback kid. That's just me. Oh and for those of you think New Orleans is all about skeezy Bourbon Street, WRONG. The city has so much more to offer and it's all fabulous and elegant. 

New Orleans is a city where one goes HARD but takes it real slow. They don't call it the Big Easy for nothin'. Here are some of my fav things from my recent trip:

For shop ops- definitely check out Pilot and Powell in the Garden District (lots of lovely shops around here too as well as a Pure Barre studio). It's high end for sure and you'll find favs from Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler, as well as lovely accessories. The gals there are delightful and chic and super friendly.

For getting your drink on- Um. Anywhere. Truly. There are more bars than you can ever get to, but my fav still remains the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt- did not get there this time but tops on my list since the Saz was invented there. And though I didn't love my stay at the Ace (more on that later), I did fall head over heels for the Creole Apothecary drink they mixed there. At the excellent Josephine Estelle restaurant bar in the hotel, I'll be dreaming of this crushed ice cocktail for days to come- here's some info on it from Flood Magazine.  Incidentally Peychaud's bitters and soda is the very best drink when you are hungover or nauseous. Just a pro tip for you.

“This is an ode to Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary in New Orleans who created his famous bitters in the 1800s. Peychaud’s Bitters are the only bitters used to make the city’s signature cocktail, the Sazerac.”

1 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Peychaud’s Aperitivo
¾ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. ginger syrup

For strapping on the feed bag- Oh gawd. There is food for days in this town and all of it is amazing. Eating in New Orleans is a sheer delight- used to be you could only eat heavy creole food here but not the case now- tons and tons of options from the excellent St. Roch Market (one in Miami too), a food hall that's not to be missed for some of the best oysters of my life to my new fav Turkey and the Wolf for a collard green melt sandwich situation that is fairly life changing. I promise. Go get it. Here's the recipe.  Oh and Zapp's chips. Yum. And yum again.

For getting your dance on- Oh baby, there is music everywhere in this town. Not to be missed are all the awesome street musicians playing on Royal Street in the quarter, but if you can, check out a show at the infamous Tipitina's- I caught the Rebirth Brass Brand there and was nervous about getting blasted by sound (all horns yikes), but the acoustics were so fantastic and the band was so pro, it was a fantastic, sweaty, fun experience. Loved. 

For getting your art on- Endless opportunities- do a stroll along Royal Street in the Quarter and check out all the amazing galleries. Red Truck is a favorite for folk inspired pieces, but my big discovery this trip was the 818 Gallery- a fantastic gallery tucked away on a second floor on Royal that shares space with a vintage boutique. Jose Fernandes (his pic at top of this post) is an excellent photographer with some of the best photos of New Orleans I've seen- he's also got some fantastic images from Marrakech and I love his eye. We got to talking and he used to be a fashion photographer so no doubt he knows how to tell a story. I still may order a few prints when I figure out where to put them. Highly recommend going to see his work. So gorgeous in person. Amazing quality to his pictures. 

So many more wonderful things to do in New Orleans- going to write you up a post about the endless vintage opportunities- tons of great vintage spotted by yours truly and I'll share later this week. 

Now it's back to work, though my heart is still down south. What a rich experience- if you haven't been, you have to go. Oh and about the Ace. Hmm. I know people love this hotel and it's fabulous for a work trip/photo shoot/business meeting. But it's so DAMN DARK and masculine, it just fell short for me. Why don't hotel designers understand women wear makeup? Could not even see to put it on.  It's not my vibe really and New Orleans is so unique and special- they tried to capture its essence but somehow missed the mark. I know I know- it's the "new" New Orleans which I was quite psyched to see. Problem is, I'm too in love with the old New Orleans and that's that.

The beds are super comfy and the staff is nice enough- I dunno- just did not feel on brand for this town and that's the truth. Good shopping there though with the wonderful Freda from Marfa stocked with all your Ace & JIg favs as well as Defend New Orleans, a great local designer/lifestyle guru whose wares are uniquely Nola. And Friend is an excellent men's shop that will bring all the boys to the yard. Great looks for the dudes here.

So it's Monday and I'm back in my city but need to start looking for an Air BnB for my next trip to New Orleans. Much more to see, eat, and drink there and I'm not nearly done. Cause that's what's up this Cajun flavored Monday in the Northeast. Yours, in mardi gras beads and oysters on the half. XO