Hotel at a Glance: Lafitte Guest House & Gallery
Bourbon Street is arguably New Orleans' most famous thoroughfare, slicing through the heart of the French Quarter and hosting thousands of revelers each year during Mardi Gras. One of the best places to view the lively street is from a private, wrought-iron balcony at the historic Lafitte Guest House & Gallery boutique hotel.
- 150-plus-year history: The house was built by the wealthy Gelieses family in 1849.
- Old-World elegance: a black-and-white checkered tile floor in the foyer, white Doric columns in the doorways, and chandeliers above four-poster beds in guest rooms
- New Orleans flair: Mansion rooms have exposed brick and wrought-iron balconies that bear intricate latticework and look out to the courtyard.
- In-house art gallery: Paintings by Russian-born artist Vladimir Kush grace the walls.
Highlights of New Orleans’s French Quarter
- Let the good times roll: that's the town’s unofficial Cajun creed (“Laissez les bons temp rouler!"). Priorities here are inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand.
- Check your attitude at the door: "Stop thinking of New Orleans as the worst-organized city in the United States," writes author Dan Baum in Nine Lives, his post-Katrina book. "Start thinking of it as the best-organized city in the Caribbean."
- Feast on beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar at the legendary Café Du Monde, near the towering St. Louis Cathedral
- Neon lights on Bourbon Street advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs.
- More New Orleans nightlife awaits on the slightly less touristy Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter.
- Jazz fills the air at the Spotted Cat Music Club, where a sign warns that both drinks and drunks are barred from the piano—but like all rules in New Orleans, it's one that's bound to get bent from time to time.