ask Margaret about
music venues • yoga • hole in the wall • concerts • local design • parks • cocktail bars
What are the New Orleans spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
Probably Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, but instead of getting sucked into that tourist trap, try strolling down Royal Street - the window shopping is fabulous.
Do’s and don’ts in New Orleans: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):
Hospitality is a driving industry in New Orleans, so be sure to tip 20 percent to your servers. If musicians have a tip jar out, throw in a few dollars for support, and if you really like them give them more. Hit up the streetcar (DO NOT CALL IT A TROLLY) and check out different neighborhoods. Hail a pedi-cab for a super fun way to go a few blocks (note, this is usually kind of expensive, so I wouldn't plan on going really far). Uber/Lyft is the best way to get to different neighborhoods quickly.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I am a Hotel Sales Manager at the premier boutique hotel in New Orleans, International House. I love love love sharing the magic of the city with people coming in for a visit.
How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?
Usually hitting up a new restaurant and then catching some live music.
Which New Orleans shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?
Funky Monkey is this eclectic vintage shop that has fab jewelry and fun clothes/costumes. People in New Orleans are all about exploring their eccentric personalities, and this store is the perfect outfitter.
Your all-time favorite musicians:
So hard, because I love so many. Really into Lord Huron's new album right now, and always My Morning Jacket. Anytime Beck comes through town, I always catch his show. Hearing Elton John sing Tiny Dancer during Jazz Fest a few years ago was a definite musical highlight. My favorite New Orleans musician would have to be Anders Osborne.
Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?
I love to day drink in the Quarter. Start out at the Chart Room (they have the best juke box in the city) and score a seat right on the sidewalk to watch the passersby. Then head to Laffite's Blacksmith Shop and get a Purple Drink. You can also do this at night! Bayou St. John and City Park are fabulous to explore during the day.
Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?
I would head down to the Marigny and put my name on the list at Adolfo's, then grab a cocktail at Apple Barrel (directly below the restaurant) as my hubs and I wait for our name to be called. Once we're done with dinner we would walk across the street to d.b.a. to catch live music.
Drunk and hungry - where do you go in New Orleans?
Port of Call! The cheeseburger is on another level, with a loaded baked potato on the side. Drink a Monsoon to keep the buzz goin'.
It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?
First of all, New Orleans is never freeeeeeezing. So, I would say grab a little jacket, and continue on your day. Now, I will say that it rains a lot here. Pro tip: don't go out in flip flops because they are bound to break when the sky falls out.
Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?
Hands down - Arnaud's. If I have a crew with me, I will see if the Bourbon Street Balcony private dining room is available; it's so legit. Spring for the bag of beads that they offer, so you have something to throw down to the people on Bourbon Street. Opt for family style appetizers and have your server help you pick. The French 75 cocktail was created here, so definitely dive in and indulge. This will be a meal that you remember for a lifetime.
Your go-to brunch spots:
Cafe Atchafalaya. The Bloody Mary bar is on another level. Be sure to order the cheese grits. Legit one of the best things I have ever eaten.
Your perfect night out in New Orleans includes:
Exploring a new dinner spot, then catching some live music.
Which local creators do you admire?
Krewe du Optic is a local designer sunglasses line. They are killin' it, and their designs make you feel super chic.
Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:
The panoramic view at the Hot Tin bar in the Pontchartrain Hotel. There is no other view like this in the city.
Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:
Rum House. Super great cheap eats, and the cocktails are great too. The vibe is upbeat and easy. Feel free to stroll in wearing shorts and a t-shirt - it's a 'come as you are' spot - and be sure to get the Damn Good Nachos.
Tomorrow’s your last day in New Orleans. How do you spend it?
I would round up a group of friends and have a throw-down brunch, then bar hop in the Quarter.