April 1, 2004
New Orleans’ Spice
There’s more to New Orleans than jazz music, sumptuous Creole/Cajun cuisine, and Mardi Gras. This subtropical city is also home to a variety of museums, more than 30,000 national historic sites, and the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world. Tourism is one of the city’s biggest industries, bringing in over $2 billion a year—a quarter of that from Mardi Gras alone. It’s also where you’ll find Lundy Enterprises LLC and Dryades Savings Bank (No. 87 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list and No. 14 on the BE BANKS list).
Leah Webber, a former journalist, returned to her hometown of New Orleans a few years ago. She runs a coffee shop there called House of Brews. Here, she gives us a look at the city’s best.
AROUND TOWN NEW ORLEANS
The Windsor Court Hotel (300 Gravier St.; 504-523-6000) offers English decor and ambience and excellent business amenities, such as specially arranged golf, hunting, and fishing outings. The Grill Room is popular for business lunches and dinners. There are also public settings throughout the hotel suitable for client meetings.
For a more intimate experience, check into Hubbard Mansion Bed & Breakfast (3535 St. Charles Ave.; 504-897-3535), an exquisite African American-owned bed and breakfast, with your choice of suite or executive apartments for long-term stays.
Brennan’s Restaurant (417 Royal St.; 504- 525-9711), located in the heart of the French Quarter, houses a world-class wine cellar with 3,000 varieties. A must try is their Bananas Foster, a dish that is served for breakfast as well as dessert. Be careful not to get this restaurant confused with Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse (716 Iberville St.; 504-522-2467)—there’s a long-standing family feud involved. Aside from great food, Dickie Brennan’s offers an impressive cigar list.
“If you’re in the mood for some greens and red beans and fried chicken, then stop by the Praline Connection (542 Frenchmen St.; 504-943-3934) in the French Quarter,” advises Webber.
The downtown business district and the French Quarter are both about 13 miles from Louis Armstrong airport. “Cabs are readily available,” Webber notes.
Once downtown, you might also enjoy taking horse-drawn carriages. Says Webber, “That’s always a really informative way to travel. The guys who drive the buggies give you the history of the buildings, the architecture, and the culture.”
There’s also a streetcar that travels up and down St. Charles Avenue. Webber explains, “That’s where all the beautiful homes are and where the garden district is located. [The streetcar] gives you the opportunity to look at some of the architecture.” There’s also a streetcar downtown.
“Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen St.; 504-949-0696) is great for live jazz,” says Webber. Only a few blocks from the Mississippi River, it also offers a full dinner menu.
A great, low-key place to hear New Orleans jazz by local artists is Preservation Hall (726 St. Peter St.; 504-522-2841). “That’s really popular,” says Webber, “especially with the tourists who come into town.”
The Spa at the Ritz Carlton (921 Canal St.; 504-524-1331) is a full-service spa that provides several signature treatments, such as the Magnolia Sugar Scrub.