New Orleans continues to be my favorite city in the world. It’s vibrant unique culture and diverse tolerant population of characters continues to draw me back, again and again. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the people, the food, and the music of this incredible city. After a few years away, I returned to New Orleans this time for Jazz Fest, which I hadn’t been to since before Katrina. Although some of my New Orleans Travel Guide remains the same, there’s a few new haunts I fell in love with listed below the photos.
STAY: Every neighborhood in New Orleans has it’s own unique feel and vibe, but I always encourage you to think outside the French Quarter when staying in this city so that you really get a feel for the varied cultures and differing architecture of the city. While hotels and bed and breakfast’s abound, there’s also a great selection of rooms and entire homes on Airbnb and VRBO to choose from when visiting my favorite city in the world.
- The Garden District: up river from the French Quarter, St Charles winds it’s way along the river bank into a neighborhood filled with colossal columned porches, lush overgrown green gardens, and wrought iron gates. Magazine Street offers hip new restaurants, small independently owned boutiques and now, a trendy but delicious donut store. Stay here if you want to really embrace that southern gentility and envision yourself drinking champs on a porch while the streetcar rolls by.
- The Marigny used to be a secret, but it’s proximity to Frenchman Street and it’s laundry list of amazing nooks and crannies to explore has made it more popular. The Marigny’s eclectic mix of late-Georgian, one-story Creole cottages and shotguns that are vibrantly colored make you want to wander down a different street every day on your way through town. Stay here if you want to be close to the nightlife, but just out of the way of the French Quarter drunkards.
- Mid-City is perfect if you’re coming to New Orleans for a festival. It’s proximity to the fairgrounds means that you can walk to the fest while you’re feeling sparky during the day, but taxi and LYFT around to the nightlife at night when your feet are feeling the pressure. From grand mansions, to shotgun doubles, to Victorian style homes, you’ll see a varied mix of architecture here, but none lacking in charm. Make sure you head to the Parkway Tavern on your way home from the fest one day. It’s one of the best po-boys in the city.
EAT: this list gets longer every time I return to New Orleans. It’s been over a decade since Katrina and the restaurant scene here has really flourished in recent years. There are a few of my stand-out favorites on this list, and some new ones that I discovered this trip around.
- Elizabeth’s in the Bywater (don’t skip the Praline bacon), Slim Goodies Diner in the Garden District, and The Ruby Slipper Cafe are breakfast standouts. The Ruby Slipper now has locations all over the city. Cake Cafe and Bakery in the Marigny is also a great breakfast stop-off, where breakfast is served six days a week all day.
- Jacques-Imo’s is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It’s raucous atmosphere, incredible menu and alternative vibe have me returning again and again. Expect a bit of a wait, but you can always head next door to the Maple Leaf for a drink. For a real experience, come here on Tuesday night for dinner and then head on over to the Maple Leaf to see Rebirth Brass Band play their weekly show.
- The list of restaurants on this page with James Beard awards is astounding and La Petite Grocery is part of that club for good reason. The turtle bolognese was incredible and it didn’t hurt that I made new friends while dining at the bar.
- Our meal at Shaya was a stand-out: modern Isreali cuisine prepared fresh, prepared fresh with a huge side of warm, brick fired pita. You must order the hummus!
- There are certain dishes that I spend my life dreaming and replaying over and over and over again in my head and Cochon‘s wood fired oysters are now on that list. I’ve always maintained that I’d want my last meal on earth to be the mushroom strogonoff that I once had at South Congress Cafe in Austin, TX, but these oysters may be claiming that top spot.
- If you can get in, Bacchanal is a wonderful way to while away the evening. Part retail wine store, part patio, this Bywater haunt has become incredibly popular in the past few years and there is now usually a line around the corner to get in. Skip it on the weekend and on festival weeks but if you are around in the off season, you might be able to score a seat on their deck and listen to music mid-week.
- If you can’t score a seat at Bacchanal, the Tasting Room offers an eclectic dining menu and boutique wines from around the world. It’s dark, cozy and just what you want a wine bar to be. It’s perfect for lounging on the couch, reading a book and sipping wine in the event of poor weather.
- Sitting on the deck of the Columns Hotel in the Garden district and whiling away the afternoon with a bottle of champagne will never lose it’s charm with me.
- Get lost on foot: the New Orleans Tours at Your Feet walking app offers guided tours of the French Quarter, the Garden District, Haunted Homes, and Cemeteries in the area.
- If it’s your first trip to New Orleans, the World War II Museum is a must-visit. It’s grown considerably in the past few years, but it remains informative and the exhibits are related to local history and people.
- The Presbytere in the French Quarter houses a New Orleans cultural exhibit on mardi gras and it’s customs, along with an exceptional exhibit about Katrina and it’s aftermath.
- Fest it up: the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Voodoo Festival and Mardi Gras continue to be huge draws to this city. They are all amazing, but there’s also something to be said for just going for
the shrimp and grits no reason at all.
Well, I for one was not so sparky this morning after the epic dance party in the Igloo Tent for Autograf and Cut Copy last night! After a short nap and maybe the hair of the dog, I will be raging and ready to go for the last night of Snowglobe! Here are a few of my favorite photos from day 2 and recommendations of who to catch on on this last day of the festival! Single day tickets and the schedule are still available on their website. Happy New Year!
- FDVM: The Igloo, 5:30-7:00. FDVM are Florent Denecker and Victorien Mulliez, a deep house/tech house duo from France that serves up classic deep house with a touch of disco and some airy happy vocals. For fans of: Miguel Migs, Disclosure, Toddy B.
- Option4: The Igloo, 8:30-10:00. If you are looking for an education on the roots of EDM, look no farther than the moving melodies and soulful vocals of deep house. Hailing from Denver, CO, Brennen Bryarly’s tagline is “More House than Tech, More Deep than Disco” and he offers a refreshing retake on a classic and beloved genre. For fans of: Damien Lazarus, Sebo K, Donald Glaude.
- Ghostland Observatory: Main Stage, 10:00-11:00 PM. Ghostland Observatory and their magnificent laser show hail from my hometown of Austin, Texas and while the music can be described as a combination of electro, rock and funk, I say that it’s shimmering pulsating pop at it’s best. Frontman Aaron Kyle Behrens’ stage performance is like none other: while he struts like a peacock and gives you the beat, I promise you’ll be nothing short of mesmerized. For fans of: David Bowie, Laurent Garnier, New Young Pony Club.
Welcome to Snowglobe! How awesome was day 1?! The temps may have been chilly, but the energy certainly wasn’t! While most of the crowd was over at Jack U, the highlight of my day was being in the Sierra Tent with the E-40 fans! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day and recommendations of who to catch on Day 2 of the festival. Single day tickets and the schedule are still available on their website.
- Lil Dicky: Main Stage, 4:00-5:00. Comedian David Burd grew up in an upper middle class family outside of Philly originally started rapping as a way to garner attention comedically under the moniker Lil Dicky. Originally, he aimed to write for movies and TV shows and act but his foray into the rap industry created such a viral sensation Dicky successfully started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a rap tour. His perseverance paid off: Burd was invited to SXSW in 2014, kicked off a concert tour and released an album this year. Burd credits his success with his comedic approach and that he’s “just a normal dude,” which makes him relatable. His video for $ave Dat Money is a must watch primer. For fans of: George Watsky, Doc Brown, Spose.
- Alison Wonderland: Sierra Tent, 8:30-9:30. This classically trained musician (she was a principal cellist in the Sydney Youth Orchestra) turned DJ has been described by Irish DJ and Television Producer Annie Mac as “the best party set I’ve heard in a long time.” Her eclectic influences make for a wide variety on her most recent album, which she did all the vocals for herself and collaborated with the likes of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and New York rapper Johnny Nelson. For fans of: Galantis, JOY, Brika.
- Cut Copy: The Igloo, 10:00-11:30 PM. Cut Copy has long been one of my favorite synthpop bands. While their live show is absolutely fantastic, a DJ set by this energetic duo from Australia is not to be missed and comes on the heels of the release of their new mixtape called A Forest Through the Trees. The mix features tracks from Jamie xx, Four Tet, the Chemical Brothers, and Talking Heads. For fans of: Holy Ghost!, Daft Punk, Classixx.
Snowglobe Music Festival is fast approaching and although three day passes are sold out, single day tickets, last chance three day passes, shuttle passes and VIP passes are still available. While Kaskade and Dillon Francis may be big draws for the under 30 crowd, I can’t wait for Ghostland Observatory to give me the beat.
Here’s some insider’s tips to having your best fest!
- Didn’t buy a shuttle pass? DO NOT DRIVE to the festival as there is NO PARKING on site. There is NO PARKING in the adjacent neighborhood. Good news for you: shuttle passes are still available! Want to travel in style? An All-Access Transportation Pass will provide you and up to 13 friends on-call, door to door transportation between your house/hotel, the festival and bars/after parties all weekend long. If you actually split it between the maximum amount of folks, it’s a veritable bargain with added convenience. If you aren’t into either of those options, Tahoe is proud to have UBER in town finally (and LYFT will be here soon). Please note, there are not a ton of drivers so services may be spotty. Drivers from CA may pick you up in CA and drop you off in either state, but they cannot pick up in NV. Drivers from NV can pick you up in NV and drop you off in either state, but cannot pick you up in CA. If you are at Stateline and having a hard time getting a driver, simply walk across to the opposite state to see if it offers you an available car. Taxis are always available at casino reception areas.
- Dress warm: snowsuits optional. When the sun goes down each day around 5 PM, it’s going to feel like it’s 20 degrees. Expect your weather the next three days to be clear and cold. Keep your core warm with polypropylene base layers under tights and skirts and if you’re feeling really flush, buy those super cheap disposable hand and toe warmers at the grocery store. You’ll be the only person there with warm toes and you won’t regret it.
- Drink water. You’re from sea level? Drink three times as much water as you think you need. Those of us who live at altitude love to watch those of you from sea level get drunk on one beer. It happens.
- Don’t forget to explore. In the past few years, Snowglobe has added some amazing things to it’s line-up, one of which is talented artists. Take a few minutes in between acts to explore the artwork, local vendors and great food. Worried about your phone? Hit up the mobile charging lockers which keep it safe while it charges. You can pre-pay for one for the weekend via this link.
Lauren’s Picks: Day 1
Festivals are my favorite way to discover new music, so be sure to catch a few of these lesser known acts on Day 1 of the festival.
- Lex: Main Stage, 5:45-6:45 PM. This dynamic four piece hails from Los Angeles and was discovered by Daft Punk engineer Peter Franco. They released their self-titled EP on May 5, featuring alluring phantasmical synths and a live electronic performance merging art, fashion, design & technology. For fans of: Lykke Li, Lana del Rey, Billie Eilish.
- Hippie Sabotage: Sierra Tent, 5:00-5:45. This dynamic brother duo hails from Sacramento, CA where they’ve been making music together since the mid-2000s. They were thrust into the limelight in the Spring of 2014, however, when Ellie Goulding shared their remix for “Stay High” by Swedish singer Tove Lo. Expect them pull from their extensive and wide ranging remix catalog featuring everything from ethereal vocals to dirty beats accompanied by their signature subtle touches that don’t overwhelm, but move you from the core. For fans of: ODESZA, Adventure Club.
- E-40: Sierra Tent, 8:45-9:30 PM. E-40 is no stranger to the rap scene: he released his first EP in 1986. He’s released 22 albums to date and in 2014, his single “Choices (Yup)” charted at number 125 on Billboard and number 43 on r&b/hip-hop chart. This East Bay Rapper isn’t just about music though; he recently announced plans to release a 40 ounce malt liquor which I expect you can guess the name of. For fans of: Too $hort, Mac Dre, The Coup.
My friend Chris is in an exhausting number of bands. He might be the musical equivalent of me. Every time I turn around, he’s posting a show he’s playing somewhere in the Northern CA area. In addition to often playing solo, he’s also in my favorite Northern CA band Dad’s LPs, who will be playing Tahoe twice this summer. Dad’s LPs are a super fun energetic rock/pop outfit and you can catch them Saturday, June 20th in the Heavenly Village at 5:00 PM or at Live at Lakeview on Thursday, July 30th.
In addition to Dad’s LPs, Chris is also the frontman for Big Eyed Fish, a Northern CA Dave Matthews Tribute Band. Chris and his DMB troupe were recently in Tahoe to play at the new music venue Vinyl, inside our recently opened Hard Rock Resort and Casino. As a side note, Vinyl features live music almost every night of the week and it’s often free! To say that Chris is a Dave Matthews fan would be an understatement. DMB is his self-professed most favorite band in the world and I’m actually a huge Dave fan myself, so when he asked me to come down to the show and snap some photos for their marketing efforts, I was thrilled to accommodate the request. It was a joy to be able to capture him playing the (extremely difficult) songs of his music idol.
In addition to Dad’s LPs and Big Eyed Fish, Chris also plays with The Diva Kings. You can catch the Diva Kings next at Redwood Winery in Plymouth, CA on August 8th.