“There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or Duke Ellington. Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly.” - Boris Vian
Growing up my grandparents on both sides always had those travel maps stretched across the walls. Full of colorful pins and stories -- I, by the age of seven was fully fascinated by the world. I'm presently writing my second book ~ a girl's guide to road tripping in style. And, in all my travels I'm always happy to come back home to New Orleans.
When I was little I'd hide out in my mother's closet pouring through pages of Vogue Magazine. The photographers, editors, designers - they created a dream world that I wanted to be in. As a 'grown up' I'm influenced by textiles and wardrobe of people all around the world. Costumes and couture, whatever is unique to the places I visit.
There's so many perfect ways to spend a day in New Orleans: I love the oaks at Audubon and a good afternoon Champagne picnic. I love strolling Royal Street - window shopping the galleries and boutiques along the way. I find the French Quarter architecture - the European, African and Caribbean blend - to be some of the most beautiful in the world.
I'm often asked where I recommend visitors go, especially if they've only got a weekend or so. Always on my list:
- The Michalopoulos Gallery to view James’ latest exhibit and see his dreamy approach to the city’s architecture!
- Cane and Table for Sunday brunch and booze, I can't think of a better place to recap a weekend!
- Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop for a purple drink, on the menu it's a 'Voodoo Daiquiri' - it's my favorite place to take newbies - be warned, you don't need more than one!
- Revival Outpost and Blue Dream for vintage - each shop is packed with denim, fringe and 70's dresses galore. One is owned by a wardrobe stylist, the other by a photographer and both have impeccable taste!
- Parkway Tavern for Po'Boys: I love the classic oyster, but the roast beef is to die for too.
- Euclid Records, the big pink building packed with vinyl treasures sits directly next to one of my favorite pizza joints too.
- BJ's Lounge in the Bywater on Monday nights for King James and Special Men (get ready to dance all those drinks right out).
- The Saint, the dive-iest of all dives, get a bottle of champagne for $20 or stick to the champagne of beers, either way take photos in the photo booth to remember the evening.
- The Maple Leaf and Jacque Imo's - make your dinner reservation first, be sure to get the alligator cheese cake and then go see whatever killer band is up to bat at The Maple Leaf late night.
- Magazine Street strolling... it's hard to choose just one stop... Ignatius Eatery, Slim Goodies, Juan's Flying Burrito, Coquette and then so much boutique shopping. You could spend a whole day.
At any given hour of the day music fills the streets. This isn’t just a Bourbon Street phenomenon - the best music in the city is typically tucked away in a side street venue. Do a bit of exploring, peak down those alley ways and you're likely to find string instruments coupled with brass and a mélange of sounds and languages.
I love the mindset of artistic survival and feel a kinship to people forever on the hunt for the next destination for inspiration! I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little bit about my home sweet home.
My book "A Wanderful Life" comes out next Spring, pick it up (pretty please!) to see more New Orleans and lots of other destinations. Much love to my friend Kendra Jones for spending an afternoon in the French Quarter with me snapping these photos!