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What to do in New Orleans at Serious Business®

It’s Time To Get Serious In New Orleans!

Map of recommendations

Serious Business® 2014 couldn’t be hitting the Big Easy at a better time. In late January, Carnival is in full swing but the influx of tourists hasn’t yet hit the city. And, the mild New Orleans winter lets you rock your favorite jackets and boots without snow or ice cramping your style.

We’ve rounded up some of Imaginal Marketing’s staff favorites to create a guide just for Serious Business — the coolest, hippest spots in town, the places where the locals go when they want to have a great time in New Orleans. 

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Where To Shop 

Hazel and Florange (2702 Chartres St.) — This is the store by New Orleans' newest "it" girl, Andi Eaton. If her name sounds familiar, it's because you may know her from our salon world - she is one in the same. Check out her own collection introduced this year - it's infused with Southern charm and laced with a modern spice. Remember this name - it's going to be big!

Trashy Diva (537 Royal St.) — Killer retro and rockabilly fashions inspired by 1940s and ‘50s styles, with an adjacent shoe boutique.

Fleurty Girl  (632 St. Peter St.) — New Orleans-themed accessories, t-shirts and souvenirs that are cute, chic and fun.  

The Shops At Canal Place (333 Canal St.) — Upscale shopping center with Saks Fifth Avenue, lululemon athletica, Coach, Brooks Brothers, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Anthropologie, Mignon Faget, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co. and (of course!) Paris Parker AVEDA Salon.

The Junque Shop (421 Frenchmen St.) — “Amazing antiques at crazy-low prices, plus everything in there is always 50 percent off and negotiable, so if you're not afraid to haggle, you can get amazing deals on armoires and other pieces. Just be prepared to pay for hefty shipping if you're not local.  Also fun to just browse. Bring Purell.” (Lauren Alsop)

Feet First (526 Royal St.) — Unique shoes and boots from cutting-edge designers, plus drool-inducing handbags and fab accessories.

Italy Direct (631 Royal St.) — A wholesale boutique where super attentive personal shoppers will help you pick out men and women’s fashions by Versace, Gucci, Prada, Valentino and other divine designers from Italia.

Louisiana Music Factory (210 Decatur St.) — “Live music, classic vinyls; it’s cool, chill and full of people who love to chat all things music.” (Mary-Margaret) It’s an excellent place to catch free live performances by some of the city’s favorite musicians.

Red Lantern (824 Royal St.) — An indie girly-girl paradise with cute frocks, purses and trinkets — and yes, they have men’s styles too. 

Fifi Mahony’s (934 Royal St.) — Because in New Orleans, every day is an occasion for an over-the-top wig. They also have great selections of makeup and theatrical jewelry and accessories for the drama queen.

Sopo (629 N. Carrollton Ave.) — “It's an everything-store: women's apparel, home accessories, baby gifts, jewelry. You can take the Canal streetcar and then it's just a short walk. The owners are super friendly and have amazing taste — everything in there is unique and great for a ‘where did you find that?’ sort of reaction.” (Lauren Alsop) While you’re there, check out the new Imaginal Marketing office just across the street!

Southern Candymakers (334 Decatur St.) — This longtime family-owned candy shop is where you come for exquisite handmade chocolates, pralines, caramels, toffees and other classic Southern sweet treats. It’s Carnival season, so grab chocolate Mardi Gras masks or a king cake.

Where To Stroll

Royal Street — From top to bottom, this stylish street boasts classic New Orleans architecture and loads of art galleries, antique shops, street musicians and world-famous restaurants. Slip down Pirates’ Alley or Pere Antoine Alley and circle Jackson Square to check out palm-readers, artists and buskers.

Frenchmen Street — At night, this hip stretch of the Faubourg Marigny (the neighborhood right behind the French Quarter) boasts several music clubs and is where the locals go to catch rockin’ live bands. The Frenchmen Street Art Market at 619 Frenchmen St. is open after 7 p.m. on weekends and is filled with original handmade jewelry, fashions, arts, crafts and gifts.

The Moonwalk — This scenic pedestrian walkway along the Mississippi River makes you remember that New Orleans is not only a fun and lively city but also an important international port. Picturesque steamboats mingle with ferries, cruise ships and massive tankers from all over the world.

Magazine Street — This long stretch of road from the Garden District to Uptown is a great corridor of locally owned, fun and funky shops and restaurants. “Whether you’re looking for clothes, antiques, food and drinks, art or just a damn good time, Magazine Street is an experience you don’t want to pass up.” (Chelsea Borruano) 

City Park and Bayou St. John — New Orleans’ largest public park, City Park almost seems enchanted — boasting lakes and lagoons (where you can rent boats!), dramatic live oaks, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, golf and tennis and so much more. Running alongside City Park is Bayou St. John, a lovely waterway that’s a favorite with locals — a scenic, serene, laid-back respite from the mayhem of the French Quarter. Combine your trip here with a stroll through the Sculpture Garden at the adjacent New Orleans Museum of Art (listed below).

Where to Eat

Domenica (123 Baronne St.) — Right there in the Roosevelt Hotel is one of New Orleans’ most incredible gourmet pizzerias and fantastic rustic Italian restaurants. New Orleans celeb chef John Besh ensures that each meal is one to remember.

Satsuma Café (3218 Dauphine St.) — “As a vegetarian, I love this place. It’s perfect for a light healthy lunch.” (Dharmisha Patel)

Doris Metropolitan (620 Chartres St.) — A European-style steakhouse that somehow manages to be both chic and comfortable, Doris Metropolitan is known for dry-aged beef and Mediterranean fare.

The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave.) — “It's on the streetcar route, so easy to get to from downtown. They have a great wine list, unique liquors and amazing bar food. I recommend the Salmon Johnny Cakes.  Just don't order any well-brand liquors; they might laugh at you.” (Lauren Alsop)

Feelings Café (2600 Chartres St.) — New Orleans’ most romantic of restaurants has plenty of charm, where diners can enjoy amazing meals (including vegetarian and vegan) in a picturesque courtyard or balcony table, while listening to music from the piano bar.

SoBou (310 Chartres St.) — A modern take on classic Louisiana fare at this Brennan’s eatery is refreshing and delicious, matched by incredible craft cocktails at the “bar chef’s table.” 

Galatoire’s (209 Bourbon St.) — Just so you can say you ate in one of New Orleans’ most famous classic French Creole restaurants. Galatoire’s is over 100 years old, and the timeless menu is a good indicator of why. Fridays during lunch is when things really get festive as locals in feather boas and hats welcome the weekend with champagne.

Café Adelaide (300 Poydras St.) — This fun-loving, avant-garde café and cocktail lounge lives by its motto, “Eating, drinking and carrying on.” A Brennan’s restaurant, it’s inspired by the family’s favorite aunt — the fabulous, glamorous Aunt Adelaide.

Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi (823 Fulton St.) — “If you’re picky about sushi and sashimi, run, don’t walk, to Rock-n-Sake. It’s hip and fun with great music.” (Nikki Brown)

Ralph’s on the Park (900 City Park Ave.) — Located just across from City Park is this terrific Brennan’s restaurant that serves “globally-inspired local cuisine.” Attentive service, great desserts and an elegant bar round out an always-impressive dining experience.

Café Degas (3127 Esplanade Ave.) — This cozy and romantic bistro is the next best thing to a surprise jet to Paris. It’s as famous for its elegant ambience as it is for its French onion soup and plateau de fromage (cheese board). IM owner Kathleen Turpel calls it “one of my faves.” 

Café Amelie (912 Royal St.) — Come in fair weather to enjoy creative cocktails and excellent cuisine in a beautifully picturesque outdoor setting. You won’t believe you’re just steps away from the hustle and bustle of the Quarter. Cajun poutine and crab cakes are highly recommended.

Bayona (430 Dauphine St.) — In a 200-year-old Creole cottage with a gorgeous courtyard is some of New Orleans’ most inventive and exciting dishes. Chef Susan Spicer brings in flavors from around the world, grounded in New Orleans and Louisiana culinary touch points.

Nonna Mia (3125 Esplanade Ave.) — Home-style Italian fare and a thoughtfully chosen wine list are the specialties here, along with the roomy outdoor patio and attentive service. Opened by IM owner Kathleen Turpel, its current owners have continued with the restaurant motto “it’s all about love.”

Where To See & Be Seen

Capdeville (520 Capdeville St.) — “Two words:  Pimm's Cup. No questions, just order it! You'll thank me later.” (Chelsea Borruano)

Luke (333 St. Charles Ave.) — “This is a John Besh restaurant. They have a great happy hour with oysters and cocktails for cheap. They can accommodate larger groups if you call ahead. My favorite shareable dish is the flamenkuche. They also have the best thin crispy french fries.” (Lauren Alsop)

Bar Tonique (820 N. Rampart St.) — Blink and you might miss Brad Pitt or Will Smith chilling incognito in this tiny, low-key spot where the bar takes up most of the room. The bar’s motto says it all: “hand-crafted cocktails, fine wine, eclectic beer … and no premise.”

Loa (221 Camp St.) — Tucked into the lobby of the International House Hotel (with a fantastic view of New Orleans’ bustling Central Business District) is a classy, candlelit spot that uses fresh seasonal juices, berries and herbs in its carefully prepared cocktails.

House of Blues (225 Decatur St.) — HoB is equal parts awesome music venue and killer restaurant with down-home Southern soul food. This weekend features DJ dance parties that go into the wee hours and a truly inspirational gospel brunch on Sunday.

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro (626 Frenchmen St.) — Live contemporary jazz and upscale Creole cuisine are served up in a building that’s well over a century old, making Snug Harbor a true New Orleans experience.

Sazerac Bar (123 Baronne St.) — In the lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel is one of New Orleans’ most distinctive and historic bars. The beautifully appointed setting is the perfect backdrop for the classy, old school cocktails mixed by expert bartenders.

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse (300 Bourbon St.) — You can’t beat this spot for amazing live jazz performances seven nights a week in swanky surroundings with attentive service. Brass bands and burlesque have also hit the stage here.

Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge (214 Royal St.) Yes, the bar is really an antique circus carousel that spins (inside the storied Monteleone Hotel). This is the only merry-go-round in New Orleans that you have to be 21 to ride … this longtime New Orleans favorite serves exquisite craft cocktails.

Where To Get Your Culture On

The New Orleans Museum of Art (One Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park) — NOMA’s remarkable collection of art from around the world includes works from Degas, Picasso, Monet, Rodin and Faberge. The chic Café NOMA, situated in the museum, is a Brennan’s restaurant. One of its highlights: a breathtaking five-acre sculpture garden that Imaginal Marketing owner Kathleen Turpel calls “one of my very favorite spots in New Orleans or anywhere else in the world.” Combine a trip here with a stroll through City Park and along Bayou St. John (listed above).

National World War II Museum (945 Magazine St.) — Voted the top New Orleans attraction (and one of the best museums in the country) by TripAdvisor, this museum boasts a huge diversity of compelling exhibits and experiences that bring history to life. Don’t miss the 4D movie, “Beyond All Boundaries,” narrated by Tom Hanks.

The Cabildo & Presbytere (701 and 751 Chartres St.) — Flanking the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square are two historic buildings dating back more than 200 years that today house Louisiana State Museums. The Cabildo, the site of the Louisiana Purchase, has a comprehensive exhibit focusing on early Louisiana history. The Presbytere contains exhibits centered on more recent history and culture, including a powerful exhibit on Hurricane Katrina.

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