New Orleans is more than Mardi Gras and the French Quarter. In fact, when I visited in late February, I only spent one afternoon in the party-all-the-time Bourbon Street neighborhood known for its loose alcohol and clothing policies. I spent the rest of the week exploring the neighborhoods on the west side of the Mississippi (and still didn’t get to fully experience the Uptown/Garden Districts).
A big long shotgun-style house in a residential neighborhood converted into a nice espresso bar. Located at far end of the Ninth Ward, it is a little out of the way, but there are some nice waterfront walking not too far away.
The only specialty espresso bar in the French Quarter as far as I could tell. It’s an easy to miss walk-up counter, but make sure you don’t. Their cold brew coffee was sweet, chocolatey and delicious (to be clear, it was unflavored, just very very nice coffee). If you’re a tourist you’re going to be in the French Quarter anyway.
HEY! Cafe and Coffee Roastery
This roaster and cafe was a personal favorite (and a featured roaster in March). The barista working was extremely helpful in finding good vegan food and some places that might have been hard to find as a tourist. The owner also runs a record label and hosts after-hours concerts in the shop.
MOJO Coffee House
A big cafe in the Garden District with lots of table space to sit. Great coffee, and open later than most. Another one of the March featured coffees.
Food and drink
If you take nothing else away from this guide, then take this: The Sneaky Pickle is a must-visit. I still have dreams of their generous, delicious menu and friendly community-first atmosphere. The only place I had dinner at twice, and I would gladly have gone more. I believe all options were vegetarian, and most were vegan. Sadly, The Sneaky Pickle had a fire not too long after I visited. Last I checked they were raising funds on a GoFundMe page to help their employees make ends meet while they rebuild.
Right beside Euclid records in Marigny-Bywater. I didn’t get a chance to go, but locals can’t seem to get enough of this place.
This was a real great find. A real rustic looking wine shop and bar with extremely helpful staff and very reasonable prices. I don’t normally buy wine, but I couldn’t help it. I left thinking that I would use this visit as a jumping off point to really get into wine. That didn’t end up happening.
The Courtyard Brewery
I had been to the Courtyard Brewery a few years ago and remember being impressed with their beer selection. This time I was more intimidated by it than anything. I think I was there when they were cleaning lines, because the first round I was limited to ordering from the first 18 on-tap options but by the time I was up for another, I could only pick from the other 18 or so.
I think this vegan restaurant might have been a chain which caused me to seek alternatives all week. What a mistake! Great selection of healthy and junky vegan food and some pretty good, creative cocktails.
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Did you know that some of the cool cemeteries in the more tourist areas require you to pay a tour guide to escort you through the gates? It turns out New Orleans has problems with people getting disruptive and witchy. Since this is a bit outside the tourist center this is less of a problem so there is no entrance fee. Just be aware that the gates close at night.
A nice, friendly record store right beside HEY! coffee roastery. Careful though, it seems like they are hella-vigilant about paying for street-side parking. I swear I was only in HEY! for 5 minutes but I came back to a nice parking ticket.
Sisters in Christ Records
A record store suggested by the barista at HEY! I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but when I asked him about the name he said, “well, that’s what you get when a bunch of punks grow up in a really Christian community…”
Euclid Records New Orleans
Marigny-Bywater record store with a large local selection and wide variety of genres. I really liked walking through the neighborhood, and this shop is very close to a really cool waterfront trail and bridge.
Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary, but just a cute little neighborhood park in Marigny-Bywater. There are a few pieces of art in the park.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Across the road from the Contemporary Art museum in the Downtown/Arts district. They had several floors of beautiful photography from Southern artists. Really. I was blown away by some of it. There was a discounted price for students, but I would happily pay full price.