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Dreaming of Nola

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Croissant d'Or Patisserie
The fabulous, throwback Croissant d’Or bakery on Ursulines Street in the French Quarter. Arrive early on the weekends to pick up your café au lait and raspberry croissant or quiche Lorraine, otherwise you’ll have to brave the lines. I have met some very lovely folks—both locals and visitors—in the patisserie’s queue after sleeping in too late.
Banana Trees
I love the mix of the French and tropical influences in New Orleans. Here, a grove of banana trees hovers above a leafy corner of Dauphine Street in the heart of the historic French Quarter.
To Market
Every street in the Quarter seems to house a wonderful, deli-like market where you can pick up everything from coffee to sandwiches to bleach. Here, Matassa’s Market.
Spring Blooms
New Orleans is currently in full spring bloom, and the weather has been delicious—breezy and not too hot. Here, a bevy of blossoms upon Magazine Street, the wonderful shopping drag that houses everything from antiques outposts to restaurants.
Charming Boutiques
A few of the charming boutiques that line Magazine Street. Standout boutiques include Gerrie Bremermann’s elegant antiques outpost, Perch and Neophobia for fabulous mid-century finds. And stop for a café au lait and colorful macaroon at the easy-chic Sucré.
SnoWizard on Magazine Street, a great place to stop for flavored ice SnoBalls on a hot afternoon.
Famous Residents
Rocker Lenny Kravitz’s home on Dauphine Street. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but that’s not surprising in the French Quarter. Step inside a seemingly dilapidated shotgun-style home, and enter an elegant interior plucked from a shelter magazine. Other Nola celebrity residents include Brangelina and Helen Mirren.
W New Orleans
The stunning entrance to the W New Orleans hotel in the heart of the French Quarter. I love this arrangement of lights dangling overhead. C’est chic.
Disks with Purpose
What are all of those silver disks imbedded in the New Orleans’ sidewalks? They house pesticide to knock off the very pesky Formosan termites that have nibbled at the city’s infrastructure to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Vintage Signs
I love the vintage, tiled street signs upon walls scattered throughout the French Quarter that tell the history of a particular street. Here, the former Camino de Bayona.
Produce Vendor
A fruit-and-vegetable seller who travels through the French Quarter daily, vending whatever is in season. He lets you know he is coming with his microphone. Melons seemed to be the big push this week.
Marigny neighborhood
The Praline Connection restaurant in the heart of the very happening Marigny neighborhood. I love the Junque Shop in the heart of the Marigny: They were having a 50-percent off sale this past weekend.
My friend Sean’s very cool and cosmopolitan-chic Sylvain restaurant on Chartres Street. Try the Brussels sprouts salad followed by the duck confit. And don’t pass up a potent, sublime Sazerac cocktail, a Nola tradition.
Camellia Grill
The historic Camellia Grill in the Quarter, a favorite spot for breakfast. Saddle up to the luncheon counter and order a wonderful omelet.
Mardi Gras
I love the thousands of Mardi Gras necklaces that dangle from the trees along St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District. It’s like a slice of Candyland twinkling overhead.
St. Charles Avenue streetcar
Catch the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, a wonderful way to see the city, including the leafy Garden District with its sprawling mansions.
Bloody Mary
I love a good to-go Bloody Mary in New Orleans. Here, a kicky, spicy version picked up at a bar along Decatur Street.
Antiques in the French Quarter
John and our friend Raina head out to explore the city’s wonderful antiques outposts in the Quarter. We purchased a wrought-iron hall tree and a pair of mantels with faux bamboo details.

There’s nothing better than a long weekend in New Orleans, and John and I scamper down to the Big Easy whenever there’s a hole in our too-busy schedule. Owning our interior design business, we are naturally crazy about the city’s antiques shops—from Lucullus in the French Quarter and museum-like M.S. Rau to the bric-a-brac and mid-century finds to be unearthed along the Garden District’s Magazine Street. On the dining front, we love Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, the moonshine and the wood-fired oyster roast or mustard-crusted ham hock at Cochon and a relaxed brunch upon shrimp and grits at charming Café Amelie’s verdant courtyard. And we top it all off with a sassy Sazerac cocktail at the Napoleon House or the Swizzle Stick Bar, a very chic and buzzy watering hole in the Loews hotel on Poydras Street. As they say in Nola, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll).

Text and photos by Jason Oliver Nixon

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