We were in New Orleans from February 19 to February 22, 2021. Read about our previous visit in 2020 here.
We almost didn’t go to New Orleans. After our Texas ordeal, we kind of wanted to shoot straight across to Florida for guaranteed sun and warmth. But we love New Orleans, and we love our campground there, so we ended up stopping for a night… which became two nights… which became three nights. And we ate and drank our troubles away.
For the second time (read about our first visit to New Orleans with the Airstream here), we stayed at the wonderfully centrally located French Quarter RV Resort, just outside the French Quarter and walking distance to anything there.
A huge perk offered by this RV park, which we had never cared about before driving through a blizzard, is a trailer washing service! The Airstream was a mess, completely covered in road dirt, and Bruce’s Mobile Detailing made it all pretty again while we were out wandering around town.
A million years ago, one of the first trips J and I took as a shiny new couple was to New Orleans, and we had a memorable dinner at Bayona. Over the years they’ve won all sorts of awards for their fresh, local food, and when we accidentally wandered upon it in the French Quarter, we couldn’t resist treating ourselves to carryout. J had what was basically a duck PB&J, and I had a Thai-flavored snapper. YUM.
Our one sit-down restaurant meal in New Orleans was at Elysian Bar, in a hotel in the Marigny neighborhood, which is a longish but enjoyable walk from the campground. This is not your average hotel and hotel restaurant: the space was an 1860s church, schoolhouse, convent, and rectory, and the dining room is made up of several different unique rooms including the church itself and a courtyard patio. We sat on the patio, and while J thought the food was too heavy, I loved it–and had the best Negroni of my life. I’ll share the secret if you want to know.
We had to return to Turkey and the Wolf, Bon Appétit’s best new restaurant of 2017, for lunch! There is no better sandwich on the planet than the collard green melt. Turkey and the Wolf is at the edge of the Irish Channel neighborhood, next to the Lower Garden District.
And after being total gluttons for the past several days, we felt compelled to order some healthy food, so got delivery from True Food Kitchen. Yes, it’s a chain, but it’s reliably good and good for you.
Oh yeah–one more bit of gluttony I almost forgot about. J was craving a po-boy and the internet (and also friend Cindy from last visit!) told him to get one from Parkway. He was pretty excited about it!
The Courtyard Brewery is a Garden District nano-brewery with a constantly changing beer list and a nice little courtyard patio. We tried a couple fruited sours and double IPAs before they booted us for a wedding.
Urban South Brewery, on the other hand, is a huge and very busy brewery with a massive beer list and tons of tables both indoors and outdoors. We both liked everything we tried at Urban South and bought a bunch of cans to stock up the Airstream. The highlight for me was a king cake sour! Urban South is near Turkey and the Wolf in the Lower Garden District.
We (including Bugsy) enjoyed the beer garden at Parleaux Beer Lab last visit, so were happy to return when we strolled around the funky Bywater neighborhood. Our sour and hazy IPA were good but not great, but their outdoor space is fantastic.
Second Line Brewing was another beer garden atmosphere we enjoyed last time in New Orleans, so that’s where we settled so J could savor his Parkway po-boy. The beer was ok, but the patio is a really great spot to enjoy a beer or two.
Soon after arriving in New Orleans, we walked into the French Quarter in search of a patio with a cocktail. At SoBou you can take your cocktail (and food–the menu looked delicious) to the pretty hotel courtyard next door to relax away from the Bourbon Street chaos.
Last visit, we enjoyed the cocktail and experience at the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s, but they don’t have an outdoor space, and we weren’t ready to hang out indoors yet. But, it’s New Orleans! That means you can take your fancy cocktail in a not-fancy plastic cup out on the street. We got a cocktail to go and sipped while we strolled down Bourbon Street and did touristy things like giving money to street performers (our favorites are always the drumming kids) and buying all the king cake coffee we could find (I’m still drinking it in May) (do not tell me what chemicals are in there, I don’t want to know).
New Orleans is a walking city! From the campground, you can easily walk to the French Quarter and Mid-City, and it’s a short drive/uber/streetcar ride to the other neighborhoods. We usually start by finding the yellow commercial area on a Google map and branching out from there.
We love the French Quarter (but not so much Bourbon Street) for the architecture and atmosphere, and since it’s next door to the campground, we were there a lot. In our last New Orleans post we recommended a French Quarter history and architecture self-guided walking tour.
Also adjacent to the campground, and also something we talked about last trip is the Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile multi-use path along linear parks that connects to other paths and bike lanes taking you to all over the city. Highlight: walk along the bayou in Bayou St John and into City Park.
Oak Street is a funky little strip of shops and cafes close to Tulane and the Mississippi River. We got coffee from Z’otz Cafe, poked our heads into Oak Street Brewery (the beer list didn’t speak to us), and walked down Carollton Avenue to the river where we discovered a trail along the levee! With runners and bikers and horseback riders! This section of the Mississippi River Trail follows the river for 20 miles west of New Orleans, and is part of the 3000-mile Mississippi River Trail along the entire river from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. So cool!!!
Magazine Street is a shopping Mecca, but we were mostly there for the architecture and the beers (The Courtyard and Urban South are nearby). Here’s a comprehensive guide to the entire six mile length of the street, if you want to do a deep dive rather than just wander and gawk, which was plenty entertaining for us.
Bywater is yet another funky, cool, and colorful New Orleans neighborhood. We roamed the streets willy-nilly, with our only specific targets being Music Box Village and Parleaux Beer Lab. Parleaux we’ve already talked about; Music Box Village is a collection of whimsical musical art installations, unfortunately closed when we were in town.
Faubourg Marigny, or just the Marigny (‘mah-ri-nee) is (shocker!) full of historic architecture, and is probably best known for the live music along Frenchmen Street. Because we are early birds, we only got to enjoy a few songs from a really impressive jazz band playing on the sidewalk; the best way to experience the music is to show up a little later in the evening and dance from venue to venue.
- Sidle up to the swanky bar for a fancy cocktail at The Columns hotel on St Charles, as mentioned by travel writer Seb Modak
- Visit the food stalls at St Roch Market for lunch; Stephen at No Home Just Roam recommended Laksa Nola
- Sip a tiki drink with a city view at the rooftop Monkey Board
- Yes, another fancy cocktail at another swanky hotel bar… get a drink at The Chloe in Uptown
- Try a non-traditional po-boy from Parasol’s (although it’s close to Turkey and the Wolf, so J might be on his own here)
- Work off all these calories running and/or cycling on the Mississippi River Trail!