Taking place in a famous party town, we know that many dealers are looking forward to a great January convention. But there’s so much more to the Big Easy than the French Quarter. We chatted up some NOLA locals to get the scoop on the best off-the-track sites you can visit on your trip.
Haunted History Tours
Dabble in New Orleans' occult past. Haunted History Tours offers a variety of fun late-night activities to scare and delight you. One popular option is the Vampire Tour, which starts nightly in front of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. They also have a Voodoo Tour and Tour of the New Orleans Cemetery.
The foodie opportunities in New Orleans are endless! You may want to try the 2015 restaurant of the year, Sac-A-Lait. The menu changes frequently, but each dish presents Sac-A-Lait’s modern take on traditional Louisiana cuisine. You may want to start with alligator and move onto snapper or the best Gulf fish at the moment. But—no matter where you dine—be sure to check out amazing regional beer options.
The Laura Plantation
Explore NOLA’s rich and complicated past with a tour of the Laura Plantation. Spend an afternoon at the antebellum home and grounds while historians share the story of Laura Lacoul, a Creole woman who grew up on the plantation, using her memoir to illustrate lives of the plantation’s women, slaves, and children.
Garden District Walking Tour
Hop on the trolley to visit NOLA’s beautiful Garden District. A fantastic alternative to the bacchanal revelry of the French Quarter, the district is home to many luxurious antebellum houses. Plan a walking tour to see private properties, including the Payne-Strachan house where Jefferson Davis died. Make time to visit Lafayette Cemetery, one of the areas fabled “cities of the dead.” Once you have your fill of the sites, pick up lunch and a few souvenirs on Magazine Street: Sucré is a staff favorite for pastries and macaroons.
New Orleans Beignets
So, this isn’t exactly a secret, but our contacts confirm that Café du Monde really is the beignet mecca of New Orleans! They have a number of locations, but the French Market café on Decatur offers a sprawling outdoor patio that lets you relax while enjoying a café au lait, a plate of sugary beignets, and some of the best people-watching in the city. It’s open 24 hours, so go late if you’re feeling adventurous!