I’ve never been to New Orleans myself, but in my mind it’s a place that takes you a step back in time; a place filled with soul, plenty of character(s), historic streets that fill up every night with music and dancing, coffee shops and stores that are always bustling and, at any given time, the sound of a saxophone playing in the distance. Turns out, this isn’t too far off from the truth (other than the saxophone bit — maybe I got a tad carried away there).
New Orleans is home to Juley Thuy Le (pictured above) of , a blog-turned-business. She’s a proud Southerner who simply can’t shake the city and confessed that she had a hard time fitting all of her favorite places into one day. Now, time for my confession: In crafting this post I asked Juley to confirm the proper pronunciation of New Orleans, which, as it turns out, is the charming, soulful way you’d expect: “Never, ever, ever New Or-Leens. [It’s] New Or-lins!”
Get the full scoop of Juley’s 24 Hours in New Orleans after the jump!
I grew up an hour from New Orleans in a smaller town on the bayou and remember weekend trips to the big city. Just as I was beginning to fall madly in love with New Orleans, I had to move to Nashville for a job, where I spent most of my time figuring out how to move back. This city just pulls you in. You can live here for 10 years (as I have) and not have seen it all. You can take on the city with a group of friends or on your own. It’s a photographer and history buff’s paradise. It’s so imperfect that you want to help find solutions and build great businesses. A place with as much character as potholes. I hope my 24-hour guide helps your next trip, but feel free to scrap it and create your own. It’s impossible to have a bad time here.
9 am: My perfect downtown day starts with a scenic route of the city on the historic streetcar line with my boyfriend. We hop off on Canal Street and walk towards the French Quarter. Our first stop is always for a healthy green juice (the mint julep is the best!) and a buttery, flaky croissant, because, you know — balance.
9:30 am: As often as we explore New Orleans, there’s always something new to see so we usually wander aimlessly to take everything in and people-watch. Royal Street is my absolute favorite. It’s lined with art galleries, cafes and shops. But, the best part is the street musicians and entertainers. On the luckiest days, we get to witness the incredible duo pull at everyone’s heartstrings with their violin and bass set. It’s quite possibly the dreamiest background music to have on a sunny day in the Quarter. And other days, there are second lines and jazz musicians who make something as simple as walking seem that much more special.
Noon: My sister has been taking me to Camellia Grill in uptown since I was 14. When they opened the second location downtown, it was game over! We love eating at for both breakfast or for lunch because of the laid-back diner atmosphere. Paired with the fun, tongue-in-cheek service, their pastrami omelets and milkshakes are great any time of the day.
1 pm: After lunch, it’s back to strolling the city. This time, we move away from the Quarter, through Jackson Square, check out the French Market, and finally end at the Mississippi River. There’s usually a stop or two at for an afternoon movie and a little shopping.
3 pm: At this time, I’m in dire need of a pick-me-up so we head back to the French Quarter to for the best iced vanilla lattes. We love to stop by to watch the coppersmiths hand-make their famous gaslights. and are also favorite stops. My boyfriend loves soccer so we always make a point to stop by for games and an ice-cold glass of Strongbow.
5 pm: Happy hour is usually spent at , (great happy hour deals), or we head to , a 12-week live music series in Lafayette Square.
6 pm: Hop back on the streetcar to head home. We stop by to pick up a bottle of wine, cheese, baguette, and chocolates for dinner at home.
10 pm: After dinner, we usually meet our friends at our neighborhood wine bar, , where we indulge in yummy duck fat fries and Pimm’s Cups in a very Parisian atmosphere.
Eat + Drink