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 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 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 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 , where I'd gulp down a killer bowl of gumbo from 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 , , , and that inimitable classic, . 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 , 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 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 , Gulf fish showered with a "snowfall" of crab at , or the rabbit at . if I wanted to keep it simple, I'd drive to for spicy boiled crabs at .  

7. Then back to my neighborhood and over to or the on Frenchmen Street in time to catch or . (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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