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Day 2: Outside the Quarter
Fortify for another day of walking with breakfast in the Quarter at gay-owned Petunia's (817 St. Louis St.; 504-522-6440; $8-16); the kitschy-pink d?cor of this 1830s townhouse jockeys for attention with giant crepes.
Then, explore the serene burial grounds of voodoo priestesses and city founders with Historic New Orleans Tours (504-947-2120), run by local historian Rob Florence. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest in the city, dating back to 1788, and is appropriately craggy and mossy, filled with crumbling tombs and twisting paths. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District is where local scribe Anne Rice set many scenes of her Vampire Chronicles.
Add to your earthly possessions Uptown on Magazine Street (from Felicity to Audubon Park), the city's coolest shopping district, with art galleries, antiques, contemporary design and home-accents shops, and clothing stores.
For weekday lunch or dinner Monday to Saturday, visit Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave; 504-524-4114; $24-28), a hip, popular Southern bistro featuring fresh, inventive cuisine from 2007 James Beard award-winning chef Donald Link. The Warehouse/Arts District, a stretch of old industrial warehouses that have been renovated over the last 20-plus years into an artsy enclave, is home to the Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St; 504-528-3805). It's worth a look for its revolving exhibits of various media by local artists. Galleries are open Thursday through Sunday.
Julia Street in the Warehouse/Arts District is also home to many contemporary art galleries. Gay-owned, Arthur Roger Gallery (432 Julia St; 504-522-1999), in operation since 1978, represents regional and national artists, and with over 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, is one of largest galleries in New Orleans. Arthur Roger will gladly provide information on the Coordinated Gallery Openings, which take place the first Saturday of each month.
Yes, we've all heard of Emeril, but don't miss Chef John Besh of the classy Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St.; 504-299-9777; $27-46), where innovative concoctions are complimented by the elegant exposed brick and paneling of the dining room. The seafood dishes are particularly delicious.
Wind down the evening back in the Quarter with a relaxed pub crawl. One of the nation's oldest continuously operating gay bars, Caf? Lafitte in-Exile (901 Bourbon St.; 504-522-8397), established in the early '30s, attracts mostly men, in their 30s to 50s. Good Friends (740 Dauphine St.; 504-566-7191) is a welcoming place with an upstairs balcony area called Queen's Head Pub that provides a bird's eye view of the neighborhood.
At the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is Napoleon's Itch (734 Bourbon St.; 504-371-5450), a friendly, smoke-free martini lounge popular with locals.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four
More New Orleans
New Orleans: Introduction
New Orleans: Where to Stay
New Orleans: Where to Eat
New Orleans: Where to Play