We're just a few weeks away from one of the most highly anticipated nonprofit conferences of the year, and we're so excited to be headed down South to the Big Easy! Considering our team is obsessed with all that is NOLA, we thought we'd share some favorite local spots to eat, drink, party, and enjoy the sights while visiting for the Nonprofit Technology Conference or AFP's International Fundraising Conference Check out the list below!
Historic Jackson Square
Established in 1721 during French colonial rule of the city, for nearly 300 years Jackson Square has been the heart and soul of the French Quarter. Anyone briefly strolling through this park will likely hear the sound of a brass band and see local artists scattered along the sidewalk.
The Audubon Zoo
The Audubon Zoo is located in historic Uptown New Orleans, eaturing an exotic mix of animals from around the world take a break and visit award-winning exhibits such as the Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle showcase. Ranked one of the country's best zoos, take a break from that city life and experience some wilderness at this beautiful zoo
Mardi Gras World
A super touristy experience located close to downtown, Mardi Gras World is a 300,000+ square foot warehouse where the floats for the legendary annual holiday are built and stored. Tours of the space are totally worth the trip.
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this acclaimed music venue was founded in 1961 to protect, preserve, and perpetuate traditional New Orleans Jazz. At Preservation Hall, catch nightly acoustic concerts celebrating the city's musical legacy with some of its finest performers.
More to see & do:
Conveniently located just a short walk from #18NTC, this casual, straightforward cafeteria has earned it's place in New Orleans' culinary hall of fame. Mothers is a great place for a cajun lunch, with a menu packed with favorites like po'boys, red beans and rice, baked ham, seafood gumbo, and much more.
Turkey and the Wolf
Rated by BonApetit Magazine as the #1 Best New Restaurant in America in 2017, Turkey and the Wolf serves up the best sandwiches one EveryAction staffer has ever had. Don't worry, the food is definitely worth the 10-15 minute walk south from the Convention Center.
The Court of Two Sisters
The Court of Two Sisters, a French Quarter institution known for its daily Jazz Brunch and vine-draped courtyard has been called a "must see" for visitors. Beginning in 1886 as a dress shop actually owned by two sisters, it now serves up classic Creole dishes for a uniquely New Orleans experience.
You wouldn't guess it from the outside, but this unassuming deli counter, tucked in the back of a convenience store in the French Quarter, has a cult following of locals and tourists alike. Open 24 hours a day and known for its classic shrimp po'boys (but try the All That Jazz or their vegetarian option if you're looking to branch out), Verti Marte is is where you'll want to end up after a night on Bourbon Street.
More to Eat
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Located on Bourbon Street, this old stone shack is widely considered to be the oldest bar in America. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was supposedly founded by a pirate, and is known as one of the most haunted buildings in New Orleans.
The Spotted Cat Music Club
The Spotted Cat has been called the "quintessential jazz club of New Orleans." At this intimate Frenchmen Street bar, catch one of two live music sets (at 6pm and 10pm) seven days a week, and don't forget to stop by the outdoor art market next door.
Visit this long-time New Orleans favorite and join the ranks of notable past patrons such as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Located inside the historic Hotel Monteleone, the revolving Carousel Bar features a bright, circus-clad Merry-Go-Round and world class Sazeracs.
Speaking of Sazeracs, if you're looking to experience the worlds first-ever mixed cocktail (created right here in New Orleans), there's no better place than its namesake, Sazerac Bar. The bar itself carries as much history as the famous beverage; once a favorite haunt of Famed Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator Huey Long, today patrons can still observe a preserved bullet hole in the wall, created by one of his overzealous bodyguards.
More to drink:
Cafe Du Monde
No trip to New Orleans is complete without a stop by the famed Cafe Du Monde for their world-renowned beignets. Located just across from Jackson Square and open 24/7, this unpretentious cafe turns out an endless supply of coffee and powdered sugar-covered pastries to a steady stream of hungry travelers.
Located just a 7 minute walk from the Hilton Riverside, the sleek, modern Revelator Coffee features a seasonal rotation of coffees and teas, in addition to delectable pastries.
Two Chicks Cafe
For fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, healthy breakfast options like build-your-own omelets, and artisan lunch sandwiches, look no further than the quaint Two Chicks Cafe. Located right outside of the Convention Center, this local joint is the perfect way to start your day.
Our friend Carl Baloney, Director of Government Affairs at AIDS United, is also a NOLA native who comes from a family of local business owners. We asked him about his all-time favorite places in New Orleans, and these are his picks!
Deanie's (French Quarter) - The best of all seafood both boiled and fried! Their other location is by the lake and has a seafood market attached, so you know you're getting the freshest food possible.
Palace Cafe (French Quarter/Canal Street) - Owned by the most famous restaurant family in New Orleans, the Brennan Family, Palace Cafe serves exquisite Creole cuisine in a gorgeous setting. Don't miss the crabmeat cheesecake appetizer, the white chocolate bread pudding, and the banana's foster dessert prepared fresh at your table.
Cochon (Warehouse District) - Chef John Folse is from the heart of Cajun country and serves incredible food! My favorite is to skip the entrees, go with a small group and share tons of the small plates. One of the only places in town to find a great dark roux gumbo. The boudin sausage is excellent and can also be purchased to take home at his sandwich spot next door, Cochon Butcher.
CoolNasty at New Orleans Jazz Market, every Wednesday after 10PM. This particular event is like a live band offering karaoke (for vocals but also for the instruments). It’s super interactive and fun, and the musicians are young and talented. The space is contemporary and invites a smooth transition from indoor to outdoor. So it’s great for the outdoor vendors, who are usually just regular New Orleanians with special culinary talents, to sell cut fruit, crawfish pasta, and other snacks.
Angelo Brocato's (Mid City) - Because coffee always goes best with the most amazing pastries and gelato ever from this 100+ year old family business (I also refer to this place as dessert heaven)!
Merchant (CBD/Downtown) - Great drinks and delightful food in an upscale atmosphere. A little jewel in the middle of Downtown.
Other Cool Stuff To See
Peaches Records (Uptown on Magazine Street) - Family-owned since 1975 and a cultural staple in the New Orleans community.
We can't wait to see all of the nonprofit techies and fundraisers descend onto New Orleans this year! See you at NTC, AFP, or both!