New Orleans, United States
Abigail, 46
Award-winning Bartender
see her New Orleans city guide

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What are the New Orleans spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The WWII Museum, Frenchmen Street and the River. Should you go on Bourbon Street (you might have to... Yuck), go and get a Shark Attack from Tropical Isle's Bayou Club. Get AJ, Kyle or Russ to make it for you.

Do’s and don’ts in New Orleans: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

Tip LOTS!! Like start at 25 percent. The service industry culture is so strong here and yet we are still paid the lowest wages in the nation. $2.13 an hour is the federal minimum wage for tipped out workers. That is what most of us make. Service industry is the backbone of the number one economy here, tourism. And yet, 60 percent of the city lives below the poverty line. This poverty also leads to some pretty gnarly crime, so please do not imbibe to the point of losing your way home. And do not ask us where you can score drugs. You are asking for trouble.

What do you do and why do you do it?

I bartend here because this is the birthplace of American cocktails. Like Jazz, cocktails are a uniquely American invention that was perfected here. And when the rest of the world slid into the dark ages drinking their Zima and wine coolers and vodka sodas, New Orleans kept culture alive with Sazeracs, Pimm's Cups and a cognac French 75!

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

$80

Which New Orleans shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

Chihuahua Ga-Ga for some homemade Saints gear for my dogs. My dog, Ronnie Magic likes to try on dresses and then walk the "Dog-walk" in the store.

Your all-time favorite musicians:

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Punch Brothers, Wilco, Jeff Buckley, Gomez.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

French Quarter during the day for the interesting day drinkers and beautiful shop windows. Frenchmen Street at night for the music.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in New Orleans?

Buffas (great burgers and interesting characters) or Cleos for 24 hour eats or Turkey and the Wolf.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Well this rarely happens. Find a bar that is suddenly serving Hot Toddy's, I guess. Bar Tonique has a fireplace that I can cuddle up to with my dogs.

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

Dooky Chase for lunch. The best gumbo and fried chicken with the Ms. Leah Chase, who is a legend and still makes the gumbo every day. The staff are amazing.

Your perfect night out in New Orleans includes:

Dancing at Saturn Bar to whoever is playing, '60s soul, Cajun Zydeco, or sea shanties.

Which local creators do you admire?

Tooth & Nail makes my favorite jewelry. My coyote tooth necklace is a treasure.

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

Don't wait in line for a Cafe Du Monde beignet during busy day hours. It's open 24 hours! Get one at 5am and then walk to the river to watch the sun rise. It's a mix of homeless, lovers, lovers who are homeless... Sometimes musicians who play a soundtrack to the rising sun over the mighty Mississippi River.

Tomorrow’s your last day in New Orleans. How do you spend it?

A pool party followed by wine and cheese at Bacchanal and then dancing at Saturn bar to the Lost Bayou Ramblers.

You’re meeting the mayor of New Orleans - what constructive criticism would you give them?

I would tell HER that this city is missing protection for those in the hospitality industry. Housing costs have gone up, as has the cost of living, and yet, the very nature of our work is that wages will remain stagnant. We need more regulations, unions and an increase in wages.

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