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The courtyard at the W New Orleans – French Quarter

Take It (Big) Easy

by Karina Timmel | Jezebel magazine | August 2, 2012

Get a taste of true N’awlins at these 10 authentic haunts.

EXPLORE
Farm-to-Home
The Spot: Crescent City Farmers Market
The Deal: Chefs from some of the top restaurants in town are on the prowl at this nearly 70-vendor market, open Saturdays from 8am to noon. It’s well worth a visit to try bayou fare, like alligator, and procure authentic culinary merch—Cajun spices, sacks of grits, oh yeah! @ccfmtweets

Gallery Gallivanting
The Spot: Royal Street
The Deal: Mix things up (and blast those cals!) on the 13-block stretch of Royal Street between Canal Street and Esplanade Avenue. The original epicenter of NOLA’s artistic culture, it’s now littered with art-gallery gems. Hit Graphite Galleries for contemporary finds, like artist Rob McInvale’s splashy epoxy paintings.

STAY
Stylin’ Sanctuary

The Spot: W New Orleans – French Quarter
The Deal: Laissez les bons temps rouler (“Let the good times roll”) at this 410-room ($199–$399 per night), stylin’ high-rise hotel. For some sanctuary, hit the new SWEAT Fitness facility; chill in the courtyard; or cocoon in luxurious sheets. For some extra play time, head over to Harrah’s Casino, located just across the street. @whotelsnola

Historic Haven
The Spot: Hotel Monteleone
The Deal: This glam 125-year-old landmark in the French Quarter just got a full face-lift. It boasts 600 luxe rooms ($169–$1,490 per night), a swank new pool and pool bar, and local-fare resto Criollo. Order a Pimm’s Cup at Carousel Bar downstairs—no, you haven’t had one too many, the seats actually rotate around the bar. @hotelmonteleone

EAT
Savor Southern Fare

The Spot: NOLA
The Deal: Bam! Emeril Lagasse’s done it again with his big-hit eclectic Creole and Acadian resto, which seats casually dressed fine-dining types in a reno’d warehouse. Go for the buttery-delicious Gulf shrimp and smoked-cheddar grits. You’ll leave fat and happy! @emeril

Hangover Helper
The Spot: Port of Call
The Deal: It’s the best burger joint in town for a reason: its big, juicy beef patties (ground fresh daily) and stacked baked-potato sides. Designed like the hull of a pirate’s ship, it feels like you’ve entered into a Jimmy Buffet song… it’s five o’clock somewhere, right?

Pig Out
The Spot: Cochon and Cochon Butcher
The Deal: Cochon is the French word for pig, hinting at what’s in store at these locally sourced, rustic-contemporary restaurants. Chow down fine-dining style on Cajun-country dishes at Cochon, or head next door to the Butcher for a gourmet sandwich—pork belly with mint and cucumber equals divine swine. @cochondining

PLAY
Blue Blood

The Spot: House of Blues
The Deal: Artists from Kid Rock to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals rock this legendary venue—also home to the largest collection of folk art in the country (298 pieces!). Elbow your way to the front when the crowds get going—risk the bar fight—to see your fave stars up close and personal! @hobnola

Tip’s Tops!
The Spot: Tipitina’s Uptown
The Deal: Catch local hot stuffs like Trombone Shorty and Galactic as they do their thang onstage at this 800-person neighborhood music club. Groove alongside the spirits of musical icons who’ve performed there during its rockin’ 35-year history. @tipitinas

Pour You
The Spot: The Club Ms. Mae’s
The Deal: You can’t even imagine the people-watching possibilities at this 24-hour bar—or the fun shenanigans. Ms. Mae’s pours seriously cheap drinks for dive-bar boozers. For laughs, play the crank claw machine—you just might win… a sex toy! (See, shenanigans.) @msmaes