When it gets cold and dreary here in the Midwest, I jones hard for balmy New Orleans. Below are some of my favorite places to go for a dose of the south.
The best podcasts from south of the Mason-Dixon.
Southern Gothic is an independently produced documentary-style podcast exploring the eerie legends and dark history of the American South. New episodes of this uniquely spooky podcast, written by siblings Brandon and Bryanne Schexnayder, are released every fortnight.
Beyond Bourbon Street
Mark Bologna, a native New Orleanian, was born and raised in Gentilly — just down the road from Lake Pontchartrain in the heart of the city. It’s easy to tell that Mark loves his hometown, and often offers his insider guidance to help visitors plan their perfect trip to New Orleans.
Louisiana Eats! is a radio show for people who cook and people who love to eat well — all with a Louisiana point of view and Poppy’s distinctive Louisiana voice. In each program listeners join Poppy as she meets people who produce, cook, and eat the foods we enjoy and treasure — exploring kitchens and stores, farms and waterways where favorite foods are produced and prepared.
As relentless and inescapable as the river that flows past it, a decidedly dark history courses through the streets of New Orleans — a city haunted by 300 years of accumulated legends and myths. Some of it is rooted in fact. Some is rooted in folklore. This podcast offers a fascinating look at all of it.
Takin’ It to the Streets
Takin’ It to the Streets® is WWOZ’s coverage of second line and Mardi Gras Indian events.
Websites and publications with loads of lagniappe.
My Spilt Milk
My Spilt Milk covers New Orleans’ music and culture first and anything else that interests the author second. The author has covered music, art, books, and food in New Orleans since 1990, with work appearing in local publications like Gambit and Offbeat, as well as national publications like Rolling Stone and Spin.
Like A Cajun
Like A Cajun promotes Cajun culture through Cajun dance lessons, merchandise, and online courses. This site is owned by a local Cajun family in Louisiana.
The Carroltonian on Instagram
Emily Manger’s vignettes of historic Carrollton, New Orleans capture the heart and spirit of a beloved historical neighborhood. If you love New Orleans architecture, Emily’s Instagram account is a Must Follow.
504ward is a nonprofit collaborative initiative, founded in 2008, with a mission to keep talented young professionals in the great city of New Orleans. Our goal is to connect talent to key people, events and opportunities and ensure that New Orleans is a place to thrive and grow. Twice weekly e-mails highlight opportunities for civic and social engagement and leadership development, and often include special event discounts just for young professionals — plus, they have a strict ‘no ads’ policy which makes their email content all the more enjoyable.
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is one of the premier events in the Big Easy, showcasing what the city does best. In its 27th Anniversary year, NOWFE has become one of most incredible culinary events in the nation, attracting over 7,000 gourmands and connoisseurs as well as art and music lovers.
The New Orleans Lifestyle
The New Orleans Lifestyle organization is dedicated to the proliferation of New Orleans culture and the carefree lifestyle locals lead.
The Historic New Orleans Collection
The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Founded in 1966, THNOC has grown to include 10 historic buildings making up two French Quarter campuses. THNOC’s holdings comprise 1,000,000 items that document everyday life as well as momentous historical events spanning more than three centuries. The Collection includes 35,000 library items, shelves of documents and manuscripts that extend more than two miles, as well as 350,000 photographs, prints, drawings, paintings, and other artifacts.
Magazine Street Merchants’ Association
Magazine Street is one of the south’s most recognized thoroughfares, dating back to the early days of the expansion of the city beyond the original French Quarter. The Merchants’ Association created this great full of great info to promote Mag Street.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival really needs no introduction. The festival began in 1970 with the performances of Majalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, and the Eureka Brass Band. If you go, make sure to try the Crawfish Monica.
Visit New Orleans
The official tourism site for New Orleans, this site has a nice mile-wide inch-deep overview that gives visitors plenty of information without overwhelming. New Orleans is full of festivals and major events throughout the year, which makes the calendar (especially the Year at a Glance calendar) very helpful. You can get an idea of the major events that will be happening during your upcoming trip.
Frenchmen Street Live
Frenchmen Street is a live music and entertainment district in New Orleans located in the Marigny neighborhood at the edge of the French Quarter, and this site offers a complete listing of all live music shows, festivals, and special events. The street’s music venues feature the best live music New Orleans has to offer (as well as an insanely popular Halloween party.) You can find some of the city’s premier restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries all within a 3 block area.
Times-Picayune / The Advocate / Gambit
The Times Picayune, Advocate and Gambit are all well-known newspapers in New Orleans, and they merged into one entity in 2019. The Picayune and Advocate have both been delivering news for almost two centuries.
In-depth news and investigations for New Orleans. The Lens aims to engage and empower the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast by providing the information and analysis necessary to advocate for more accountable and just governance.
Big Easy Magazine
Big Easy Magazine is the online home for progressive New Orleans, featuring original content published both weekly and monthly. The issues covered are not always unique, but the Big Easy Magazine approach is. Issues from race to politics and from LGBTQ issues to the environment are examined through the eyes of the people of New Orleans.
Jan Ramsey started OffBeat Magazine and its associated entities almost three decades ago as an effort to improve and expand local music culture and business.
Antigravity is a free monthly magazine distributed throughout the New Orleans metro region. Antigravity specializes in original content that spotlights New Orleans artists and those passing through. Coverage also includes social justice issues, food, reviews, opinion pieces, comics, and original photography. Antigravity is in its 13th year and comes out the first week of every month in print, with the web version following usually a week after.
A multicultural news outlet, the Louisiana Weekly has been publishing news that matters to Louisiana residents since 1925. The Louisiana Weekly connects communities of color to news, information and resources of interest to foster community outreach and development, education and research, cultural preservation and socio-political and socio-economic awareness.
New Orleans Tribune
The New Orleans Tribune was founded in 1864 and is dedicated to social justice and civil rights for all Louisiana citizens. The Tribune is one of the most respected African-American community newsmagazines.
Kickass New Orleans artists, artisans, and shops.
Dark Horse Photography on Instagram
A local Louisiana photographer in the Houma / New Orleans area. Houma is where my family is from, and these shots were my first visual introduction to Houma! Lots of variety and vivid, beautiful images that embody all the weird and wild aspects of life in Louisiana.
The website of local photographer Will Brown. Will shoots city scenes and locals mostly on film and in black and white, giving his shots that perfect New Orleans flavor. There’s often a lot of humor in his images, which I always enjoy.
NOLA Heart and Design on Instagram
A talented artist and teacher, Shelley posts gorgeous paintings and really excels at portraits. You can definitely see her love of New Orleans in each piece, and I love the way she mixes media and works across styles.
Oldentimes Productions on Instagram
Some of the most unbelievable images of the cityscape I’ve ever seen — lots of drone work, and it never gets boring. Click here to see my latest favorite from Oldentimes.
Ghost Light Gallery
New Orleans artist Jamie Winn specializing in watercolor on wood automaton art. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything as cool as this — in my mind, it’s the epitome of southern gothic macabre. Follow them on Instagram @ghostlightgallery for demonstrations of the moving pieces. Jamie is also the owner/operator of Space Tiger Tattoos, if you’re looking for a very legit place to get new ink.
Typewriter Gypsy on Instagram
This gal is my spirit animal! I always wanted to set up shop in Nashville, Indiana (our local artists’ colony and the closest thing to New Orleans we’ve got) and offer short stories based on facts from patrons’ lives. Typewriter Gypsy took the idea to the best place in the US and made it work, offering folks on the street poems on-demand for a pretty amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Love seeing a fellow writer do something as cool as this, and so very much in the spirit of New Orleans — takin’ it to the streets!
NOLA Boards is a homegrown, handcrafted cutting board, countertop, & custom furniture business located in the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Wanting to combine their talents, Mandy Simpson & her husband Daren Sumrow of New Orleans Woodworking teamed up in 2014 to create these one of a kind pieces of functional art. These boards are constantly making their way onto my wish list, and if I ever get to choose new countertops/furniture for my New Orleans home, they’ll be the first ones I call.
Mrs. Crafty NOLA
Katie Riles creates awesome custom designs that are available in her Etsy shop. Check her out on instagram @mrscraftynola and be sure to check out her New Orleans neighborhoods map, which has already become a classic piece of New Orleans art, in my opinion.
Hové is known all over the world for its fragrances, with a rich history extending back to 1931. They have tremendous knowledge and there are a dizzying array of scents to choose from. The shop is now located at 434 Chartres Street, and has recently expanded into fashion with the Hové clothing brand.
Sweet Olive Soap Works
In addition to running @thecarrolltonian on Instagram, Emily Manger founded Sweet Olive Soap Works out of a desire to promote the healthier aspects of the region and the culture she loves. Following her Grandma Anna Mae’s basic techniques, Emily spent two decades experimenting with various recipes and inventing her own along the way. Each batch is handcrafted from scratch with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.
An artist currently based in New Orleans. I discovered Trista’s work when I saw one of her prints in Arrow Coffee and had to buy it. Her style is unique, vivid and detailed.
Called “one of New Orleans’ most interesting artists” by 411NOLA, Ally has shown work across the world. I love her whimsical style, and fell in love with her Wonderful World of Animals series. You can find her work at the flagship Gallery Burguieres, Cocoally Boutique just around the corner which offers Ally’s designs on merchandise, and the newest location on Magazine Street which features their most animal-loving and vegan-pride designs.
A native of New York City who grew up in Portland and San Francisco, Emilie found her artistic voice and made her career in New Orleans. Though she was the daughter and granddaughter of prominent artists, she received no formal instruction or artistic influence from these masters and built up her technical skills over time through trial and error. Her breakout piece was a drawing of the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio at the Spotted Cat.
The most fun New Orleans Mardi Gras krewes.
Krewe de Mayahuel
I attended Krewe de Mayahuel’s Day of the Dead second line in 2018, and gained a whole new respect for the tradition. The experience was somber and full of meaning, yet there was a feeling of solidarity and togetherness. I signed up for a couple of handmade calaveras (you may know them as ‘sugar skulls’) to commemorate a loved one who had passed earlier in the year. I missed out on picking mine up the day of the second line, so the family that runs the Krewe graciously invited me to their home to get them. As with most people I’ve met in New Orleans, the hospitality, kindness, and warmth was off the charts — they even saved me a handmade skull candle to go along with my calaveras. I highly encourage you to attend a Krewe de Mayahuel event if you want to meet some wonderful, talented people.
Krewe of Iris
Founded in 1917, Krewe of Iris is the oldest all-female Carnival Krewe. Iris parades on the Saturday before Mardi Gras day, and has a membership of over 1600 active riders. Riders always wear hand painted masks and traditional white gloves in the spirit of carnival anonymity, and their signature throw is custom designed and hand decorated sunglasses.
Krewe of Nyx
The largest parading Krewe ever in Mardi Gras history with over 3383 riders in 2019! This is an all-female Krewe that forms the Nyx Sisterhood, bringing women together from all walks of life, all across the country, and around the world. Members currently reside in 44 states and 3 different countries. Their signature throw is hand decorated purses.
Krewe Des Fleurs
Krewe Des Fleurs is more than just a Krewe — they’re a NOLA-based costume and performance collective. Each year, a local artist sketches, builds a prototype and then guides members through a series of workshops to recreate the prototype, building larger than life collars, corsets, or headdresses in the image of a different flower.