You can’t keep a good city down. It’s been a little more than two years since Hurricane Katrina came crashing down on New Orleans, and the city is proving that it’s still got the goods as a tourist darling, with beloved landmarks and new attractions opening (or reopening, as the case may be) almost every week. Here are some of the highlights.
By Jaye Revell
New from noted chef Josh Besh is a little slice of Alsace called Lüke (333 St. Charles Avenue, 504-378- 2840, www.lukeneworleans.com), which serves traditional brasserie dishes and daily specials like pan-roasted calf livers over pommes sauté. Reopening its doors and joining the list of local institutions like Brennan’s, Drago’s, and Ms. Hyster’s Bar- B-Que is the Camellia Grill (626 South Carrollton Avenue, 504-309-2679), whose fans so missed its burgers and breakfasts, they plastered the building with sticky notes during the restaurant’s absence.
SLEEPTwo of the city’s largest hotels, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans and the Fairmont, remain closed. But the Avenue Plaza Hotel (from $119, www.avenueplazaresort.com) is a picturesque property located in the Garden District. It’s known for its reasonable spa rates and the serious panorama afforded from its rooftop hot tub.
SEEBack in business since October, the Old U.S. Mint (lsm.crt.state.la.us) has debuted the exhibit Gold, on view through January 2. The hundreds of golden treasures on display include a 108-pound boulder containing more than 22 pounds of crystalline gold and a few of the millions of coins minted at the facility between 1838 and 1909. After having been displaced for the past two years, the city’s pro basketball team, the Hornets, has returned to New Orleans Arena for the current NBA season.
SHOPMaking a home for itself on bustling Magazine Street is a new shop called Perch. (2844 Magazine Street, 504-899-2122, www.perch-home.com), which is devoted to unique interior goods and designs by the likes of Barclay Butera and Todd Hase. The store’s private label, Privé Collections, features local artisans’ and furniture makers’ handiwork. Best of all, a portion of the store’s sales goes back into the community.
DONot only are people coming back to New Orleans, but so are the fish: Many claim that the fishing is better now than it was before the storm. A great place to try your luck is the Chandeleur Islands, about 90 minutes south of town, which happen to have some of the best wade fishing on the Gulf Coast. If you can’t imagine traveling to New Orleans without seeing exactly what the city has had to come back from these past two years, then consider a post- Katrina city tour from Tours by Isabelle (www.toursbyisabelle.com). And, by the time you read this, the St. Charles Avenue streetcars (www.norta.com) should be back up and running, ferrying riders on the historic line between Canal Street and Napoleon Avenue.