Best Day Ever

A Packed, Laid-Back 24 Hours in New Orleans

by Nathalie Jordi
Nice day for a stroll.

Nathalie Jordi splits her time between New York (where she's part of the People's Pops revolution on ice) and New Orleans (where she's studying at Tulane). Needless to say, she covers a lot of ground. At a leisurely pace, of course. It's a proper ramble.

1. For me, the best day ever starts with a green drink in the courtyard of Satsuma in the Bywater, a juice bar and vegetarian breakfast/lunch spot; its cavernous interior is a mellow but social place to spend the morning.

2. I'd follow that with a yoga class at Swan River Yoga in the Marigny, a light-filled room above a beautiful courtyard.

3. Then I'd ride my bike back through the colorful cottages of the Marigny and up Esplanade Avenue towards City Park, where I'd gulp down a killer bowl of gumbo from Liuzza's by the Track for lunch.

4. The perfect afternoon in New Orleans is about 70 degrees and sunny, and we have a lot of those in autumn and spring. I'd while away a couple of hours digesting with a book near the oak tree at the entrance to City Park (it's garlanded with enormous wind chimes). One of the ways I fell in love with this city was through great books like The Moviegoer, All the King's Men, The Earl of Louisiana, and that inimitable classic, A Confederacy of Dunces. I'd bike home, listening to the calliope echo off the Mississippi and the whistle of freight trains winding through the Bywater.

5. Cocktail hour! For bad drinks in a setting so classically Southern they're worth 'em, I'd head to the terrace of Columns Hotel, where streetcars roll down St. Charles Avenue at a snail's pace and the gin and tonics are $2.50 during happy hour (on second thought, maybe they're not so bad after all). For a real good cocktail, I'd head straight for Arnaud's French 75 bar, where Chris Hannah would make me his famous "Bywater" drink.

6. If I was in the mood for a dress-up meal, I'd angle for a date night filled with oysters at Pascal's Manale, Gulf fish showered with a "snowfall" of crab at Upperline, or the rabbit at Patois. if I wanted to keep it simple, I'd drive to Harahan for spicy boiled crabs at Charles.  

7. Then back to my neighborhood and over to D.B.A. or the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street in time to catch Meschiya Lake or Walter "Wolfman" Jack. (Ahwooooooo!)

8. I'd walk home, cloaked half in darkness, half in gas-light, breathing in the sweet olive and magnolia. I love that if the windows are open, from the bedroom you can hear the French Quarter mules clip-clop their way back to the stables where they spend the night.


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