What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
More than likely, the French Quarter & Bourbon Street.
But west of that famous neighborhood is the equally droll-worthy Arts District, also known as the Warehouse District.
During my recent visit to NOLA for work, I stayed in this up-&-coming area & spent a decent amount of time there. This area is full of funky architecture, great restaurants, boutique hotels & a vibrant (but classier than Bourbon Street) nightlife.
The original Emeril’s restaurant is here, but there are lots of other noteworthy places. Lucy’s Retired Surfers Cafe had fun drinks, great surf food (the grilled mahi-mahi & fish tacos tasted like they were right off the beach) & later at night became a hopping bar.
Dinner at the popular cajun/southern restaurant Cochon was easily the highlight of the trip. Make your reservation as soon as you know you’re headed to NOLA, as this popular place fills up fast. The concierge at the hotel managed to squeeze my colleague & me into a 6pm reservation & the place was already packed when we arrived.
Everything we ordered was amazing – the fried gator was crispy & not too greasy & my traditional Louisiana cochon – a pulled pork that is formed into a patty & sautéed, then served over turnips & cabbage – is easily one of my new favorite dishes ever. We split some sinful mac n’cheese & after stuffing ourselves with their amazing homemade rolls, had no room for dessert (although it looked so good).
Since we were there for a work conference, we didn’t go out much, but Barcadia caught my eye every time we walked past. This bar is full of oversized board games, including life-sized Jenga, Connect Four with coaster-sized playing pieces & all the arcade games from my 80′s childhood (Frogger? Skeeball? Hello!?!).
The best part of about the Warehouse District is that if you wanted to head to the French Quarter, it’s only about a 15-20 minute walk away. We found this to be especially convenient: explore the chaos of Bourbon Street & return to our quiet hotel. I’m looking forward to heading back to New Orleans to explore more - not on my employer’s time – & I’ll more than likely stay in the Warehouse District when I do.