So you’re in New Orleans for TSE 2018 and you want to make the most of it – but where to start? Well friends, do not despair because #teamONE would never leave you hanging. We took it upon ourselves to arrive early and pack in nearly a full day’s worth of serious reconnaissance, just in time for you to solidify your itinerary for the week (or start planning your next vacation, if you’re not currently in town for this year’s event)! Here’s how we spent just under 24 hours of adventuring, and our recommendations for places and spaces to check out, in beautiful NOLA.

Josephine Estelle
Imagine an Italian nonna and a Louisiana maw maw teaming up in the kitchen to blow your tastebuds away, and you’ll start to get the menu at this charming osteria (located in the Ace Hotel). They serve pasta made fresh in-house, an amazing wine made by Italian nuns, and massive oysters – we’re talking requires-two-hands massive. Let’s just say we did our grandmothers proud.

Side note: you could spend an entire evening just exploring the many, many cool spaces around the Ace Hotel, so it would be wise to leave yourself some extra time.

Photo: by @jennhur

The Spotted Cat Music Club
Obviously nightlife is a big part of any trip to New Orleans, and our team was set on experiencing the vibrant music scene that’s so synonymous with the city. We saw Pat Casey & The New Sound when we stopped by, and can vouch that The Spotted Cat hits all the right notes (see what we did there?) – and we were only slightly thrown by the piano in the bathroom. Definitely worth a visit for a comfortable atmosphere, great drinks, and music that will make you a believer in the gospel of jazz. 


Café Du Monde
So you’ve been out all night soaking up jazz with a side of Old Fashioneds? Sounds like the perfect time to visit Café du Monde, open 24 hours a day, for one of their famous beignets. We strolled over to the Decatur Street location of this NOLA mainstay and can vouch for the power of powdered-sugar-covered pastry after midnight.

Photo: TripSavvy

This place is a feast for the eyes as much as the belly. The level of detail in the interiors is mesmerizing, and don’t worry, the food will not fall short of the standard set by the design. May we suggest the gumbo… for breakfast. When in NOLA, right?


Palace Market
This beautiful open-air market has a clear mission to provide a space for local artists to share and sell their work, in the heart of popular Frenchmen street. This is a place to find really unique, handmade things – some of our favourites were Atella Designs, 1 of 1 Blazers, and Zipper Magik.


French Market
The Market’s slogan is “hip scene, historic market” and that seems to pretty much sum it up. This open-air market originated as a Native American trading post along the Mississippi River, and has since evolved into a cultural hub filled with food, handmade goods, and retail shops. We won’t name names here, but one of us bought gator jerky. 


Compère Lapin
From the name (it means “brother rabbit” and comes from Caribbean and Creole folktales featuring a mischievous rabbit) to the spot-on-perfect design of the space to the creative, mouthwatering menu, we loved absolutely everything about this place. The smoked tuna is out-of-this-world – make like a bunny and get yourself over here.


Mardi Gras World
As their Instagram bio so succinctly puts it, this is Where the floats of Mardi Gras are made!” You can see why a group of event profs would have a special level of appreciation for this place. We’re giving this spot an honourable mention, as we didn’t actually make it here before closing time.   


New Orleans Museum of Art

And another honourable mention to NOMA. The museum was sadly closed on Monday during our whirlwind tour, but if we can sneak this in before we leave we absolutely will. The Museum is home to over 40,000 works of art, and a 5-acre sculpture garden, and it looks breathtaking to say the least.

We’d love to hear about your own NOLA adventures, so if you hit up any of these spots during your visit or have other recommendations for us, let us know on Twitter or Instagram. And for those attending TSE this week, we’ve got one more must-do for you!

PS – Love a good city guide? Check out Dustin’s Guide to YYC.

Banner image: Life With Laughter: YouTube