New Orleans with Lila Fox

New Orleans: An eclectic city home to the greatest jazz, arts festivals and cuisine one can experience. Live life in the shoes of a Louisiana native as you sip cocktails on a carousel, float away to the sound of live blues and explore your adventurous side with some of the best fishing in the world.


The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is traditional to the core, complete with a resident jazz musician. The large and welcoming hotel still retains soul and charm, which is mostly to do with the people. They shine, they care and they always greet you with a genuine smile. The hotel spa is one of the best in the city, a dark and quiet oasis right off of canal street. You definitely know you’re in New Orleans during the 80 minute full body voodoo ritual massage, as the treatment room exudes a light fragrance of absinthe and cypress.

The Roosevelt New Orleans has a long and colorful history, stretching back to the early 1900’s, from politics to prohibition. And as such, is widely considered a locals’ favorite. The Sazerac Bar was one of the first to allow women into an historically gentleman-only bar, and this anniversary –Storming the Sazerac– is celebrated annually to this day, as folks from around the city dress in prohibition-era attire and enjoy cocktails.


The Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel                                                The Ritz Carlton, New Orleans


Coquette is one of my go-to’s. It’s small, beautiful, friendly, and they do a 5-course blind tasting – which makes it easy, just leave it in their capable hands.

La Provence is my favorite restaurant in the state of Louisiana. It’s across the 24-mile causeway bridge from the city, but worth every mile. Set way out of town with a farm & garden out back, big fireplaces lit inside during the winter, or courtyard dining during warmer months, it’s South Louisiana-meets-European countryside, which may explain why I love it so.

Herbsaint – you won’t find it on every ‘hot list’, it’s been around for a while, but it consistently has some of the best food in New Orleans and it draws more locals than tourists, they never disappoint.

Domilise’s isn’t fancy, but it’s an institution. And they do po-boys better than anyone else in the city.

Drago’s calls for checking your diet at the door. Order a dozen or four of their charbroiled oysters. Trust me.

Shaya for when you tire of the typical cuisine down here .. I haven’t found a single item on this modern Israeli menu that I don’t love. But especially love the curried cauliflower hummus.February and March.

La Provence, New Orleans


Café Amelie in the French Quarter in my opinion has the best courtyard in the French Quarter, so lush and quintessential. Tucked near the quieter end of Royal Street. You can dine or drink; reservations are tough to get but a must.

Carousel Piano Bar in the Hotel Monteleone is a classic. And yes, the circular bar spins. At a snail’s pace, so you’re good to sip away.

Salon by Sucre (upstairs) is a super stylish hideaway for those of us who love desserts & afternoon tea.

Bouligny Tavern is a sexy spot along my favorite stroll in New Orleans, Magazine Street. Particularly love it because it has a masculine urban aesthetic that is quite different in the city to anything else. And they do a killer fig-infused Old Fashioned.

Other favorites worth the visit when you want to really ‘feel’ like you’re enveloped in what New Orleans is all about – Napoleon House, Sylvain, Cane and Table, & The Columns Hotel.

Salon by Sucre, New Orleans


My two favorite spots for shopping in New Orleans are along Magazine Street in the Garden District- Uptown, and along Royal Street in the French Quarter.

Along Magazine Street you’ll find clothing boutiques and home décor shops. Plan to spend the good part of the day down in this area. I usually recommend starting up in the Garden District at Sunday Shop (unique global finds for the home 2025 Magazine Street) then hitting spots like Monomin (perfect for the minimalist adult & baby 2104 Magazine Street), Marion Cage (simple mod jewelry 3719 Magazine Street), Pilot & Powell (highly curated stylish collection of clothing 3901 Magazine Street), Julie Neill Designs (chic handcrafted chandeliers & fixtures 3908 Magazine Street), Shaun Smith Home (design firm as well as furnishings 3947 Magazine Street), Villa Vici (modern design-forward home furnishing & décor 4112 Magazine Street), and on and on, just pop in and out as something catches your eye, making your way into Uptown.

Along Royal Street, it’s all about the antique shops – furnishings and jewelry – blocks and blocks of them. M.S. Rau Antiques & Keil’s Antiques are sure bets and are more like museums with the quality of inventory. Once you’ve perused Royal Street if you’re still looking for that perfect item, the owners of one of my favorite small hotels – The Soniat House – also have an in-house shop of hand-picked 18th, 19th, and 20th century French, English, and Italian pieces aptly called Soniat House Antiques. And everything about it is exceptionally good, particularly since it is lesser known you really feel as though you’re being allowed a glimpse into a successful hotelier’s collection.

Side bar – If you’re in town with young children, The French Library – a shop carrying French books, toys, games – should be a must visit. They often have story time, classes, and other themed events.

Sunday Shop, Magazine Street


Frenchman Street is where you’ll find the best live blues & jazz dive bars. Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro & d.b.a. are hip and authentic.

The National WWII Museum in the Central Business District is one of the most outstanding museums in the world – devote ½ a day or more.

Audubon Park is a 350-acre greenspace set in the middle of Uptown with jogging paths, playgrounds, an aquarium & insectarium, nature center, and riding stables. Worth a visit, particularly as the sun is coming up or going down to catch the rays through the Spanish moss hanging from century old oak trees.

There’s no other city in the U.S. with its own music, culture, dialect, cuisine, and history like that found in New Orleans. For this reason, I recommend hiring a local historian and expert to learn more about this eclectic city – Jennifer Simpson with Bespoke Private Tours does it better than anyone else.

Louisiana is a sportsman’s/woman’s paradise, and a 2hr drive south out of New Orleans, where the marsh meets the Gulf, you’ll find some of the best fishing in the world. Springtime is best for trout – the Fall is best for redfish. And if you’ve never been fishing for redfish, it doesn’t get more fun or local, true Louisiana. Ask your travel agent for recommendations in arranging a fishing charter during your next visit.

The National WWII Museum

As originally published on February 19, 2018

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”   –