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Things to See, Eat and Do in New Orleans

Even for a city like New Orleans, which has bounced back from viruses, meteorology and so on for three centuries, the last few years have been tough. But today, the country’s busiest city is stepping forward with a renewed sense of relief and confidence, seducing visitors with its time -tested charm and some bright new ornaments.

Notably, the spirit of elegance and experimentation studied has made its mark on the hospitality scenario, with bespoke boutique hotels popping up in neighborhoods outside the French Quarter, and major international players, including Virgin Hotels and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, opening posts near the heart of the city. long.

Places that use tourism money and hospitality will inevitably suffer some significant losses in the epidemic, especially in the world of dining. Among them is Louisiana K-Paul’s Kitchen, a French Quarter match that closed in 2020 after decades of spreading the gospel of Creole and Cajun cuisine. More dialing beggars are mourning the loss of Upperline, Uptown’s elegant JoAnn Clevenger casual dining room, which fits the neighborhood like the best tangled button -down shirt.

But fear not: No one goes home hungry. New and old restaurants are back in droves as tourists flock back to the city and locals re-establish their love affair with their city.

Culturally, returning visitors will be amazed by the new museum dedicated to Southern Jewish history, while several art and technology -driven attractions offer an immersive and virtual experience of what it means to be in New Orleans.

While the French tend to get top billing, the Spanish-speaking world also has a tremendous impact on New Orleans culture, from the Spanish colonial era to the crucial months after Katrina, when Mexican and Central American workers helped drive reconstruction efforts. One of the city’s most popular new restaurants, Lengua Madre, pays homage to chef Ana Castro’s family roots in Mexico City. Its sophisticated five -course tasting menu ($ 70) promises to tease the culinary and cultural ties to the two cities: One of its mottos is “New Orleans is home, Mexico is life.” The menu is always changing, but it’s the kind of place where you might find mustard greens on your tlacoyo.

Pandemic precautions, including wearing masks and evidence of vaccination or negative coronavirus tests, have been withdrawn for restaurants and bars. The city’s famous fortress of Creole cuisine-including Dookie Chase’s Restaurant, Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s-is running strong, and skillfully producing popular songs. Elsewhere, visitors will find fresh experimentation and craziness. A new Uptown restaurant named Mister Mao, from relocated chef and “Chopped” TV show champion Sophina Uong, considers herself a “tropical street house” that is “unauthentic without apology”, with Southeast Asian, Mexican and Indian influences: Think pakoras , Maya dipped pumpkin seeds foot pack, Khmer grapefruit and mango salad all chatted with each other at the same table. In the popular Bywater neighborhood, the new pop -up Chance In Hell SnoBalls (motto: “Serve cold for a burning world!”) Happily pushes the boundaries of New Orleans summer dishes, with homemade flavors that include sweet corn with thyme and a version of “ Tom Kha “with basil, ginger, mint, lemongrass, lime and coconut milk.

An old port city accommodates such mixing, even if it respects its traditions. Indeed, over the years, Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya has earned New Orleans homeboy status while feasting on lavish labneh and hummus in the land of jambalaya and crawfish étouffée. There’s something about the rhythm and tone of a New Orleans lunch, in particular, that Mr. Shaya seems to be able to. So there’s a lot of saliva to be expected about her new project, Miss River, which opens in August 2021 at the new New Orleans Four Seasons Hotel. She calls Miss River “her love letter to Louisiana,” offering her views on duck and andouille gumbo and butter fried chicken, served in a dining room that evokes Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age.

Four Seasons, which also opened last year, is a big story in its own right, bringing 341 luxury rooms (double from $ 395) to the reused downtown office tower formerly known as the World Trade Center. It features a second famous restaurant, Chemin à la Mer, from talented Louisiana chef Donald Link, and a crescent -shaped rooftop pool offering views of the Mississippi River.

On a different scale, and setting the tone for the city’s boutique hotel movement, is the Peter and Paul Hotel (double in the summer from $ 159), which opened in Faubourg Marigny in 2018 and occupies a group of old buildings (former school houses, monasteries, monasteries and churches). Visiting can feel like living through a mix of imaginative fiction about their true history. The same can be said for two other recent studies in hotel hyperreality: The Chloe, a renovated 14-room mansion (double that of $ 550) in St. Louis. Charles Avenue (a vibrant vibe close to the Columns, a long -loved mansion hotel. -Hanging out by the side of the road); and the Saint Vincent Hotel (doubles recently started at $ 305), housed in a 19th-century Garden District orphanage that until recently was a budget hostel. All three offer a fascinating place to enjoy a drink and sunbathe in the micro fantasy of interior design, each evoking its own distinctive iteration of the subtropical Wes Anderson style.

The rules for a good time in New Orleans remain the same: Trust your instincts for improvisation, avoid fruit alcoholic drinks served in attractive novelty cups and follow your ears, especially for the sound of street parades, rolling again in the neighborhood. WWOZ FM 90.7 radio station remains the best source for tracking such incidents, and for stunts in music clubs. New on the scene and old at once is the refurbished Toulouse Theater, in the heart of the French Quarter, which until recently hosted a venue called One Eyed Jacks. Long before that, New Orleans piano legend James Booker put on a stand -up show there. The new management publishes an eclectic blend of 21st century R&B, indie rock and other dishes.

Two new attractions seek to describe and expand the New Orleans experience. Jamnola (for “Joy Art Music New Orleans”) is an immersive 12 -room art space, with each room showcasing aspects of the city’s cultural richness. Vue Orleans, at the top of the Four Seasons, offers panoramic views of the city and a technology -advanced presentation of the city’s history and culture.

A more specific type of historical immersion can be found in the new home of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which offers a welcome nuance to the story of a region that is all too often brushed exclusively as a genuine Biblical Belt. Rooted in Mississippi Jewish summer camps, the museum moved to downtown New Orleans and opened slowly in 2021. Its new home makes sense in a city where Jews play an important, albeit less valued, role in education, health care, commerce and culture, and it complements the nearby National World War II Museum, which has grown, with many expansions, into a world -class attraction reason enough to visit New Orleans on its own.

Elsewhere, the city continues to recover from a period of hardship that included not only the outbreak, but Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that hit Louisiana in August. New Orleans spared the widespread disaster it suffered in Hurricane Katrina 2005. But there were some significant injuries on the cultural scene. Among them are the Museum of Backstreet Culture, handmade love letters to the Black New Orleans carnival and mask culture.

The museum has been closed for months after the building that houses it, an old funeral home in the Treme neighborhood, was damaged by a storm. But in a recent interview, Dominique Dilling, the museum’s executive director, said that a rebirth is in the works, with a new location chosen in the heart of Treme and a grand reopening celebration set for July 9th.

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