Hotel at a Glance: Blake Hotel New Orleans
Situated a few blocks south of the French Quarter in the Central Business District, the newly remodeled Blake Hotel New Orleans is set along famed Saint Charles Avenue. It overlooks Lafayette Square, a tree-lined park that hosts a free summer concert series. The jazzy tunes, Cajun-inspired food, and lively atmosphere of the French Quarter are just a short walk from the hotel.
- Praise from the press: It was named a “star-worthy destination” by the Today show.
- Onsite dining: Cafe at the Square serves up breakfast entrees, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Diners can also sip drinks from its new bar.
- Room with a view: Guest rooms offer glimpses of the city skyline or Lafayette Square.
- Guest-room perk: Bath & Body Works toiletries
- Must-do activity: Ride the historic St. Charles Streetcar; there’s a stop right in front of the hotel.
New Orleans’s French Quarter: Let the Good Times Roll
"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." Some folks think there is something distinctly foreign about New Orleans, a place where people’s priorities seem inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: "Laissez les bons temp rouler," or "Let the good times roll."
Historical buildings with intricate wrought-iron balconies line the narrow streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. Here, street musicians often fill the air with jazz music, their trombones and tubas swinging back and forth. Just off the Jackson Square park and near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the legendary Café Du Monde serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait.
And then there's Bourbon Street, where neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs and crowds gather along 13 city blocks. The nearby Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter, provides a slightly less touristy taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars dominate this historic two-block district, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week. 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.