La Nouvelle Orleans

  • Celedon is a refreshing complement to the more neutral French grey and buff colours in this cozy family room.
  • The formal living room is filled with fine antiques Terri has sourced during her many trips to Europe.
  • LEFT: A velvet sofa rests handsomely beneath a hand-painted wooden screen.
  • Silk drapes puddle decadently onto gleaming parquet floors.
  • Antique dealer Terri Goldsmith arranges a bounty of hydrangeas and lilies in her elegant foyer.
  • The garden and pool mirror the formality of the home.
  • Manicured walkways are outlined with neatly clipped box wood hedges.

Sweeping down the intricate wrought iron staircase, surrounded by luxe floor mosaics and crystal chandeliers, who wouldn’t feel like a French empress? Terri Goldsmith gives Dabble a royal welcome, New Orleans style.

Unlike the proverbial shoe maker’s child, antique dealer Terri Goldsmith enjoys living in a well-appointed home. One that shows off her masterful skill in decorating with fine furnishings, attention to detail and savoir faire.

Photography by Cherie-Lynn Buchanan

3 Days in New Orleans

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Dabble’s Perfect New Orleans Itinerary

Day 1

MORNING If you’re staying at Soniat House or the Ritz-Carlton, breakfast is covered. Otherwise, head to the French Quarter and order a chocolate filled or straight up croissant from Croissant D’Or Patisserie. This will surely give you the fuel required to explore and shop the Quarter for the rest of the day. 617 Ursulines Avenue. (504) 524-4663

NOON The courtyard at Cafe Amelie is a perfect spot to lunch before continuing to prowl the Quarter. Once fortified, take a tour of Hermann-Grima house with its 19th century charm. Next, head to the French Market for souvenirs and end the afternoon with the best margarita in the world (yes, the world) at El Gato Negro.

EVENING Taking the streetcar to Upperline is a trip highlight. Getting a warm greeting from the owner makes you feel like a local and a VIP.

Day 2

MORNING Work up an appetite with a 40 minute stroll from the French Quarter to Magazine Street. Once there, breakfast is guilt-free, so stop at the first bakery. Or, cab it to Velvet and indulge in a Spanish latte and a tea cake (aka mini-cupcake). Either way, use the street-by-street guide (above) and shop ’til you drop. 5637 Magazine Street. (504) 450-2129

NOON Sure, it’s a few blocks off Magazine Street but no obstacle is too great for a chance to eat at Atchafalaya. If fried green tomatoes sound intriguing, this is the place to try them. Don’t linger if you plan to see Lafayette Cemetery (in nearby Garden District) as it closes by 3:00 pm.

AFTERNOON There’s more Magazine Street to explore and once that’s finished, stroll the adjacent Garden District with its antebellum homes and star appeal.

EVENING Fish lovers should try GW Fins and pork lovers, Cochon. Either way, end the evening with the joyful music coming from Frenchman Street.

Day 3

MORNING Decision time…is it a day-trip to Oak Alley Plantation or a wander through the National WWII Museum? Oh heck, try to fit them both in. You can rest when you’re back home. Head to the plantation first, then take a cab to the museum and start the tour with lunch in one of the on-site restaurants.

EVENING Finish the New Orleans culinary tour with dinner at Louisiana Bistro. The inventive menu changes frequently. Post dinner, take one last stroll through the French Quarter and Bourbon Street if you’re so inclined.

New Orleans Gallery

New Orleans Food Guide

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Where to Eat

Cafe Amelie: A courtyard table at Cafe Amelie is just about the best seat in town. Order a leafy green salad and tall iced tea if you’re ready for a break from heavier southern fare. 912 Royal Street. (504) 779-5188

Upperline: The impeccable service, homey atmosphere and personal greeting by owner, JoAnn Clevenger, contribute to his position. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the food and there’s none better. 1413 Upperline Street. (504) 891-9822

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Central Grocery: It’s difficult to argue with foodies who insist Central Grocery is still the best muffaletta in town. Join the lineup at this humble Sicilian grocer, order the famous stacked sandwich to go and share it with a friend once you find a vacant bench by the nearby Mississippi River. 923 Decatur Street. (504) 523-1620

GW Fins: Exceptional service (a uniformed waiter discreetly swaps a white napkin for black to avoid lint transfer to dark pants) and divine seafood make GW Fins a winner. The feast begins with buttery biscuits, so sweet it feels like having dessert first. Try the scalibut, a scallop topped halibut dish. 808 Bienville Street. (504) 581-FINS PS. Thanks to our waiter, Karl, for recommending Two Sisters, an authentic soul food restaurant in Treme . 613 Royal Street. (504) 522-7261

Atchafalaya: If you’ve never heard of boudin stuffed quail, order it anyway. No visit to Atchafalaya is complete without this local dish. Husband and wife team Rachel Jaffe and Tony Tocco opened three years ago and there’s been a lineup ever since. 901 Louisiana Avenue. (504) 891-9626

Louisiana Bistro: The mood is merry and maybe that’s because diners trust Chef Mars to dazzle the palate with his oft-changing menu. Order whatever the waiter recommends and enjoy a first-rate meal. 337 Rue Dauphine. (504) 525-3335

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Where to Drink

El Gato Negro: In a town famous for its syrupy mixed drinks, the handmade, fresh fruit margaritas at El Gato Negro really stand out. Consider a contemporary combination of pineapple and cilantro or opt for muddled fruit like blackberry, blueberry or strawberry, which renders the thick straw useless. There’s a foodie in the kitchen, so stay for dinner. 81 French Market Place. (504) 525-9752

Cochon: Those desiring a truly southern experience will surrender to the promise of moonshine served nightly at Cochon. Well-loved for their pork specialties, Cochon serves an authentic spread of Cajun and German dishes. Try the pork cheeks if you can get past the name, the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As for the moonshine…let’s just say it’s an acquired taste. 930 Tchoupitoulas Street. (504) 588-2123

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What to Experience

New Orleans Cooking Experience: We loved this hands on experience. Most teachers are local chefs like Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant. Jackie ‘Boo’ Macomber peppers her classes with colourful commentary and Chiqui Collier can only be described as a ‘hoot’. 2275 Bayou Road. (504) 945-9104

Meltdown: On hot days the gourmet popsicles at Meltdown go down pretty easy. Show up early if you want the popular chocolate sea salt with pistachios. Or try the more adventurous cucumber, kefir and lime. 508 Dumaine Street. (504) 301-0905

Shopping on Magazine Street

© CL Buchanan Photography

“Money’s like manure, it don’t do no good if you don’t spread it around.”

Kimberley agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment, uttered to her in deep drawl as she contemplates a purchase in one of Magazine Street’s tempting shops. Ultimately she relinquishes her credit card, an activity she performs repeatedly while shopping the Garden District.

© CL Buchanan Photography

Top 4 Design Blocks on Magazine Street

Between Canal and Jackson
Specializing in tabletop, kitchen and gift items, just try to leave Quince without making a purchase. Nearby, Piranesi offers a tailored collection of continental antiques and objets d’art. Agora is a cooperative featuring several vendors and a tempting range of home finds.

Between Jackson and Louisiana
Antiques, vintage and contemporary furnishings are just up the front steps of Perch. At Neo Phobia, strains of the Partridge Family lure shoppers inside to find treasures from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Best store name goes to Belladonna Day Spa and Retail Therapy. Come for massage or browse the linens, candles and decorative toss cushions. When it’s time for a break, cool off in the mint green atmosphere of Sucre where you can try a decadent truffle or a grown-up milk shake like the Velvet Hammer with vanilla, brandy and nutmeg.

Between Louisiana and Napoleon
A visit to Maison de Provence is a virtual trip to the French provinces thanks to the well edited selection of owner Terri Goldsmith. Still more European antiques and garden statuary at Balzac Antiques. And, it’s a lucky day when you find Alex Williams at his Potsalot Pottery wheel turning out one-of-a-kind treasures.

Between Jefferson and Henry Clay
With a name like Pied Nu (French for barefoot) you’d expect (and will find) easygoing style and effortless chic. Don’t miss neighbouring Hazelnut for a wide selection of gift-worthy purchases.

Welcome to Bourbon Street

New Orleans

There’s always a lively crowd on Bourbon Street.

If you’re mining for big personalities and unique characters, then Bourbon Street is pay dirt. From the sublime to the surreal and everything in between, the action (and the alcohol) never stops.

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Dabble Savvy

United Cab, which uses only licensed drivers, provides the most reliable ride in town.

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ABOVE This street performer has the blues.

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ABOVE A soleful jazz performance.

New Orleans Travel Guide

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New Orleans is a haunted place. However, it isn’t inhabited by ghosts and vampires as popular tours would have us believe. Instead, it’s steeped in a history so rich and vast the present pulses with it. a0 Dabble walked NOLA’s celebrated streets, met its unique characters and discovered its historic and modern charms. Oh… and to had a little fun too.

Where to Stay

Soniat House: Staying at Soniat House is a bit like spending the week with your favourite great aunt. Provided she has fine European antique furnishings, a private courtyard and bubbling fountain and wakes you from a blissful sleep with homemade biscuits. Divine. 1133 Chartres Street. (504) 522-0570

Hotel Ritz-Carlton: First class is the only style available at the Hotel Ritz-Carlton. If you’re due for a splurge, add club level service to your bill and enjoy an open bar throughout the day, excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner bites and an attentive concierge staff. As you step off the fourth floor elevator there’s even a cookie bar. Heaven. 921 Canal Street. (504) 524-1331

W Hotel: Worldwide, the W Hotel caters to a youthful fashionista set. In New Orleans there are two locations to choose from. W Hotel New Orleans on Poydras is just a little removed from the Bourbon Street fray while the W New Orleans – French Quarter is right in the centre of activity. Both have swimming pools and a lively bar scene. 333 Poydras Street. (504) 525-9444 ~ 316 Chartres Street. (504) 581-1200

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Getting Around

Big Easy Scooter: For $60 a day, the adventurous can rent a Buddy 50 scooter in bright pink or another sorbet colour. Expect to get some envious stares while zipping through the French Quarter and Garden District. 3926 Magazine Street. (504) 269-6465

United Cab: For long treks, grab a cab. United uses only licensed drivers and provides the most reliable ride in town. (504) 522-9771

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What to Do

Honey Island Swamp Tours: Offers a two-hour boat tour that’s sure to satisfy the gator hunter in your family ($23 adults, $15 kids). Visitors to the Cypress River swamp learn about folklore, history and the ecology of the swamp and its inhabitants. 41490 Crawford Landing Road, Slidell. (985) 641-1769

National WWII Museum: History buff or not, a trip to the National WWII Museum is time well-spent. The museum is divided into two distinct sections: one focusing on the European effort and a second centred on the Pacific conflict. Beyond All Boundaries, a new film produced by Tom Hanks, shows daily on a 120-foot wide screen. On-site restaurants, American Sector and The Soda Shop, thrive under chef, John Besh. 945 Magazine Street. (504) 528-1944

Oak Alley Plantation: Historically, Oak Alley Plantation served as a sugar cane estate before the Civil War. Its antebellum (Latin for ‘before the war’) mansion is typical of other estates along the Mississippi River, taking its cue from French Creole and Caribbean plantation design. Though disappointing to learn the slave quarters are no longer there, its architectural and historical significance makes it a worthwhile visit. 3645 Highway 18. (225) 265-2151 Check out Plantation Adventures to book a tour. 1-866-671-8687

Horse-Drawn Carriage: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the French Quarter is a must. Choose a floral adorned mare and a chatty driver from the lineup outside Jackson Square. But wait for dark, when the ghost and voodoo stories seem eerily possible.

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Mardi Gras World: For a $20 admission, visitors to Mardi Gras World in the Warehouse District get up close and personal with enormous parade floats while learning how they’re made and what’s involved in this annual tradition. Lead by a knowledgeable docent, the tour begins with a brief video and a slice of king cake (traditional sweet bun with colourful icing). Fun for the whole family. 1380 Port of New Orleans Place. (504) 361-7821

French Market: Set beside the Mississippi River is the permanent location of the French Market, an ideal spot for souvenir shopping. If you love hot sauce, there’s a shop devoted to nothing but the spicy stuff. You’ll also find the feathered Mardi Gras masks for a lot less money than the same versions on Bourbon Street. 1008 North Peters Street. (504) 522-2621

Longue Vue: Quite possibly the best way to learn about interior design and architecture is through historic home tours. Be sure to visit Longue Vue, its Classical Revival home and garden setting a delicious way to peek into the past. 7 Bamboo Road. (504) 488-5488

Hermann-Grima: If you’re keen to step inside a 19th century French Quarter home, then put Hermann-Grima on your must-visit list. The horse stable and functional outdoor kitchen from 1830 are part of the reason it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974. 820 Saint Louis Street. (504) 525-5661

Garden District: Stroll the Garden District to enjoy one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in the USA. Located north of Magazine Street. While there, take in the eerily exquisite Lafayette Cemetery. Save Our Cemeteries offers knowledgeable and respectful tours. (504) 525-3377

Shop the French Quarter: Sure Magazine Street has the largest selection of home design, but there’s still plenty to shop in the French Quarter. Nadine Blake is a tiny gem. 1036 Royal Street. (504) 529-4913 For antiques, Soniat House and Ann Koerner carry an impressive selection. 1133 Chartres Street. (504) 522-0570; 4021 Magazine Street. (504) 899-2664

 

What’s in Store at Quince

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Specializing in tabletop, kitchen and gift items, just try to leave Quince without making a purchase. Located between Canal and Jackson on Magazine Street in New Orleans, it’s the perfect stop before your next dinner party. Step inside and take a look at what Quince has in store.

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ABOVE: Vintage inspired linens, silverplate flatware, napkin rings, chef’s aprons, and now, a new line of printed paper products – such as pads of 50 printed paper placemats – are just a few of the items that Quince offers from the Cake Vintage line of merchandise.

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ABOVE: A fun & funky line of adult aprons, children’s aprons, dish towels, and tablecloths with a vintage inspired look.

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ABOVE: A gorgeous line of flatware and serving pieces, including cheese knives, spreaders, salad servers, and carving sets.

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ABOVE: Just about everything for the table and kitchen.

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ABOVE: Owner Kate Palmer followed her passion post-Katrina with the launch of Quince, a premier source for tabletop and event planning.

New Orleans Architecture

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ABOVE: Magnolia Mansion.

Take any Garden District tour and you’re bound to see where Sandra Bullock and John Goodman live. But the real stars are the homes that make up one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in all of America.

During the French and Spanish colonial periods, the Creoles established the French Quarter. But the Garden District was created by newly monied Americans who brought European revival styles to their new homeland.

The most popular styles of Garden District architecture include the shotgun house (so named because you can shoot a shotgun through the front door and its pellets will exit the back door), two storey townhouses (classical, narrow facades), double-gallery houses (similar to townhouses, often larger with covered porches and wrought iron railings) and raised basement bungalows.

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ABOVE: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button house.

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ABOVE: Shotgun style house.

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ABOVE: Centre Hall Bungalow.

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ABOVE: Tudor Style house.