At House of Coco, we always like to stay ahead of the curve. When exploring new places, we go beyond the unspeakably obvious to get to the real essence of a place. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of luxury tour operators Abercrombie & Kent to bring you unlimited access to New Orleans, with a list of must-dos that you didn’t even know you could, along with our classic ‘Big Easy’ favourites.
Visit the historic French Quarter
The old world charm of the French Quarter is the prime tourist destination in the city, and for a good reason. Just twelve blocks wide by six deep, ‘the Quarter’ is the original French settlement of New Orleans from back in the 18th Century. Don’t be fooled by the name, most of the original French architecture was destroyed by the Great Fire of New Orleans, and replaced by the wrought iron balconies of Spanish colonial style that NOLA is instantly recognised for.
Check out America’s most haunted graveyard
That’s right, St Louis Cemetery No.1 (if one wasn’t creepy enough, there are three) is considered the most haunted cemetery in America. Because the entire city is built on a swamp, bodies have been buried above ground here since 1789 – making it easier for their spirits to walk the earth. If you believe all that poppycock then you’ll probably ruin your pants on a cemetery tour, but make sure you book, the graves are off limits unless you’re with a licensed guide.
Cover your face with sugar
Usually, I wouldn’t step over the threshold of somewhere that doesn’t serve alcohol, but I’d walk barefoot over a mile of broken glass just to get to Café du Monde. An iconic setting since 1862, this place is famous for its beignets (square donuts with mountains of powdered sugar) and cafés au lait. It’s an institution, and an absolute must.
Go one-on-one with a top Creole chef
If you take one look at the queues at the main foodie haunts and decide that’s not for you – Abercrombie & Kent can give you VIP access to one of NOLA’s top chefs. Check out the classic Commander’s Palace, or maybe John Besh’s haute cuisine at Restaurant August for a once-in-a-lifetime chef’s tasting and wine pairing that you’ll struggle to forget.
Tear up Bourbon Street
If Royal Street is the backbone of the French Quarter by day, then Bourbon Street is its naughty little sister by night, teemed with bars, jazz joints and burlesque clubs. Couple that with some famous Louisiana hospitality and you’ve got yourself a good night.
Dive into NOLA’s cocktail history
What some visitors perhaps don’t appreciate while they’re dancing on a bar necking Absinthe from the bottle, New Orleans is absolutely steeped in cocktail culture. Join an expert cocktail historian to pair some of the world’s first cocktails, in the bars where they were conceived, with classic creole and Cajun fare, ending at a hip, local bar for a demo and try your hand at making them yourself.
Sound fun? Visit abercrombieandkent.co.uk/usa/deepsouth or call one of the experts on 01242 547717.
Images courtesy of New Orleans CVB.