Antoine’s: Old New Orleans Dining at its Finest

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.

If you visit New Orleans for the first time and end up on Bourbon Street, you might assume there’s nothing for the grownup with discerning tastes. You’d be wrong. While, yes, there is a sea of 2-foot-tall plastic drink cups and young people who seem to think New Orleans gives them license to act ridiculous, if you look, there’s still a tradition of Old-Worldness that lingers, if you know where to look.

Setting the Scene
When offered a complimentary meal at Antoine’s, the oldest French-Creole restaurant in the United States, courtesy of the New Orleans Convention Center & Bureau, I jumped at the chance. Antoine’s has a reputation for elegance and fine dining, so naturally, we couldn’t miss the experience.

To set the mood right for our night of Old World New Orleans, my husband and I made a few drink stops first. I chose Pimm’s Cup as my beverage of choice for the evening. New Orleans has a few classic drinks, and this is one of them, despite it being originally from London. We started off in our hotel bar/restaurant, Compère Lapin, where they made a delightful version of the Pimm’s Cup with mulled wine spices. We continued on to the Carousel Bar, another Old World institution. My mother, who grew up a few hours away from New Orleans, was excited to hear I went there and to Antoine’s, which is a testament to their long-standing reputations. […]

April 27th, 2016|Louisiana, Restaurants and Dining|

Old No 77 Hotel & Chandlery: Affordable New Orleans Luxury

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.

I’d never stayed in a boutique hotel before a recent trip to New Orleans. We tend to rent AirBnBs or stay in hotel chains where my husband has premier status. But The Old No 77 Hotel & Chandlery, located a short walk from the French Quarter, may have made me a boutique hotel convert.

The first thing that struck me upon entering the hotel lobby was how darn Instagrammable everything was. From the bowtied gent checking us in to the coffee bar and lounge area, every last detail has been polished for a visual delight. […]

March 23rd, 2016|Lodging, Louisiana|

The Making of Mardi Gras

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.

If you’re like many (myself included, despite my Cajun heritage), when you think of Mardi Gras, you think of drunken debauchery and crowds in the French Quarter of New Orleans. On a recent trip to The Crescent City, my eyes were opened to what Mardi Gras really is: two weeks of revelry for every audience: from tiny tots who watch parades in the suburbs from atop ladders turned into chairs to those drunken youngsters in the Quarter, many of whom are visitors.

Bacchus float at Mardi Gras World. Photo © 2016 Susan Payton

But the Mardi Gras of today would be nothing without one family: the Kern family. What were once simple horse-drawn cart floats became visions of fantasy when artist Blaine Kern began designing parade floats in 1947. Since then, he has built an empire that the Mardi Gras industry relies heavily on, as well as the global entertainment industry. Blaine Studios designs floats and props for Euro Disney, Chik-fil-A, and Universal Studios, to name a few, and now there are four generations of Kerns who have expanded the company’s operations. […]

January 6th, 2016|Louisiana|