The howling frat boys of Bourbon Street don’t immediately summon to mind the ideal atmosphere for a civilized girls’ weekend. But New Orleans has many delights beyond the totally debauched — even for ladies seeking relaxation and (a tiny bit of) revelry.
We headed to The Columns hotel to enjoy Bloody Marys and snacks on a sweeping porch while listening to live music. It’s here that Brooke Shields filmed the movie “Pretty Baby,” and the interior still feels like an upscale brothel.
Launched in 1835, it’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world, and each cab is a designated landmark. Sadly, the streetcar named Desire no longer runs, but other trolleys will satisfy you just the same.
The most crucial factor is getting the right hotel, and we struck gold with the Windsor Court. It is an impenetrable fortress of Southern charm just a few minutes’ walk from the best of the French Quarter.
At this three-story juke house near the river that feels like a secret speakeasy, there are no reservations, so once the bouncer lets you in, you have to find your own table either inside or in the garden, where the band plays.
After dinner, instead of Bourbon Street, we opted for classier Frenchmen Street where live jazz is played until 4 a.m. The Spotted Cat Music Club is one of the liveliest joints in the hood, with cheap drinks and great bands so close you can touch them.
New American Restaurant in New Orleans, LA, United States
We were thrilled over the dishes at Herbsaint, which is at the cutting edge of modern Southern dining. Jessica Lange dined just a table away, but the waiters treated us like we were the only movie stars in their midst.