September 30, 2015
An exhilarating, colourful whirlwind of a city, known for its 1920s architecture and Southern hospitality, New Orleans is a great place to find yourself on business. From rib-sticking Creole cuisine to where to get yourself a classic Sazerac cocktail, make the most of your time outside of the boardroom when on business in New Orleans.
Where to stay: A convenient, elegant and authentic place to rest your head, the Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel set within easy reach of both the Central Business District and the lively French Quarter. The rooftop pool, bistro, cocktail bar and stylish rooms make it a favourite among business travellers and tourists alike.
Alternatively, if you want to spend the night in the historic French Quarter, the Omni Royal Orleans is a charming hotel with a rooftop pool and bar, opulent marble and glass décor and the supremely popular Rib Room, a revered local dining institution. Another landmark of New Orleans hospitality, the freshly renovated Roosevelt New Orleans, is situated in the business district and offers travellers a tranquil spa, Italian dining room and a tasteful jazz and blues bar.
Where to eat: Famous for its bacon sprinkled with brown sugar and pecan nuts, Elizabeth’s is a popular neighbourhood restaurant that serves up hearty breakfasts, fresh seafood and punchy cocktails right on the Mississippi River. If you can escape the office for a business lunch, Galatoire’s is an icon on the New Orleans dining scene; the 110-year old restaurant is still drawing plaudits for its refined take on Creole cuisine in an ornate, unpretentious environment. And who could travel to New Orleans without trying the local fish and seafood? Set off for GW Fins to sample house specialities like fried soft shell crab, blackened swordfish, and of course, the ubiquitous seafood gumbo.
Where to go for evening cocktails: As the birthplace of jazz and home to countless shadowy speakeasies and trendy bars, New Orleans is a prime spot for post-work cocktails. For something special, try Cure, an atmospheric, wood-clad bar that channels the golden age of cocktails with a medicinal menu. At the forefront of New Orleans cocktail culture, Arnaud’s French 75 takes up a sliver of space in the French Quarter, serving up rare spirits and meticulously honed classic cocktails, such as that New Orleans favourite, the Sazerac. And if you’re looking for live music with a local vibe, The Spotted Cat Music Club is a small but energetic hideaway hosting jazz and blues shows every night.
Top sights: If you can snatch some time between meetings, the ragtag array of French, Spanish and American influences in New Orleans makes for some fascinating sightseeing. Jackson Square, in the heart of the French Quarter, is a breezy open space, renowned for its cathedral and concentration of pianists and other musicians plying their trade in the leafy plaza. If you’re looking for history, then the glass-fronted National World War 2 Museum on Magazine Street offers a detailed series of exhibitions across three separate buildings. And for those in search of art, the New Orleans Museum of Art houses a 40,000-piece collection ranging from furniture to Japanese photography, as well as a five-acre garden filled with sculpture.
Great gifts: New Orleans is brimming with quirky shops, galleries and markets, perfect for gift and souvenir shopping. Just off Jackson Square, Faulkner House Books is an independent literary treasure trove of rare volumes and undiscovered fiction. For children (and big kids with a sweet tooth), Southern Candymakers is a family-owned sweet shop stocking Louisiana favourites like chocolate alligators and praline pecans, while the Jamie Hayes Gallery sells whimsical New Orleans inspired prints, children’s books and colourful voodoo dolls. And for a quintessential New Orleans shopping experience, head to the French Quarter’s French Market Flea Market, a six-block sprawl of trinkets, antiques and handcrafted clothing.
Going local: Use your precious spare time wisely; whilst the French Quarter is the irrepressible, carnival heart of the city, the outer districts possess an abundance of hometown charm and lesser-known local attractions. Visit up-and-coming Magazine Street for quiet bakeries like Bittersweet Confections and cult dive bars like Le Bon Temps Roule, which shuns fancy cocktails for a varied selection of craft beers and hard liquor. Another insider tip is to skip the packed tourist boats that head across the Mississippi and instead catch the $2 ferry to the historic neighbourhood of Algiers Point.
Where to break curfew: Once you’ve wrapped up your business in New Orleans, it’s time to cut loose and enjoy the world-famous Mardis Gras spirit that makes the Big Easy such an enticing early hours prospect. For the real New Orleans night vibe, make for Frenchmen Street; away from the harsh neon lights and stumbling crowds of Bourbon Street, this musical district is dedicated to live acts in low-key haunts like Blue Nile and d.b.a, along with friendly street parties and late-night eateries.
Thanks to our partnership with Delta, visiting New Orleans on business has never been easier.
What’s your experience of being on business in New Orleans? Did you visit any of the places in our guide? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Finlay Renwick