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Muffulettas, King Cakes, and lots of booze: your pre-Mardi Gras guide for 2020

If you think New Orleans is just a bunch of people playing jazz music and drinking booze in the streets all day, well, that is definitely a huge part of it, especially during the city’s Mardi Gras festival. And don’t get me wrong, I practically live for both of those things; but of course what I am most interested in is the array of southern cuisine and restaurant options in this foodie town.

However I will say that it is nearly impossible to avoid having some good old fun during the week leading up to the annual event, as the city prepares itself for the parades, beads, dressing up, music, food, dancing, and of course—drinking your face off until the sun rises (if you can make it that far!).


If you are looking for that quintessential NOLA street view, then definitely book your stay at The French Quarter Guest House; the view from the wrap around balcony alone is worth every penny spent, and their direct-buyer deals can sometimes give offers discounted lower than third party sites. The hotel has a few other locations throughout the city, but if you want to be in the center of the action while also having the option to conveniently watch from above, then FQGH is where it is at.

Napoleon House

Tradition is one of the biggest things about New Orleans. You will learn as you travel around that there are certain NOLA food staples like the muffuletta—a thick, buttery ham and salami sandwich with provolone, Swiss, and mortadella, that drips deliciousness with every bite stacked in between two slices of sesame bread. Napoleon House is famous for their muffuletta, so I had to take a walk over to find out for myself:


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A muffuletta is nothing without its counterpart—a classic Old Fashioned. Oh, and one thing you must know: the drinks are much stronger in New Orleans!

copper vine

NOLA’s Financial District is one of those places that has seen a LOT. Like the space at Copper Vine Wine Bar & Pub for instance at 101 Poydras Street: one of New Orleans’ most historical landmarks that is more than 100 years old. The restoration of the space is almost as impressive as the menu created by chef Mike Brewer.


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At night there is a club that opens in the landamark’s upstairs space; it is also available for private events and features impressive rock n’ roll themed decor and vintage accents.

pythian market

Pythian Market is a centrally located food hall featuring Bar 1908 and lots of food options like 14 Parishes Caribbean and Meribo Pizza that represent the diverse food and beverage culture of NOLA. During Mardi Gras they have a full-on themed Christmas tree and King Cake cocktails.

Pythian is your stop for the high-demand King Cakes!


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14 Parishes: soul food at its finest:


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Grab your beignet and head to the back: the chances are that you’ll hear live music while doing so is higher than average:


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Cafe Du Monde

It goes without saying that you HAVE to visit the famous and original Cafe Du Monde on Decatur Street—and I am not kidding: get there at 6am before a crowd of people rushes in for their much anticipated morning coffee and beignet; the cafe is 24 hours and is extra packed in the morning.


One thing about New Orleans you must know: the best dive bar is in the French Quarter and it is called BMacs on Saint Louis Street. Prepare yourself for way-too-strong drinks, cheesy 80s rock hits playing, football games pertaining only to all things Saints, and hands down the best hospitality in the city.

hotel monteleone and the carousel bar

Walking into the Hotel Monteleone is something straight out of a movie. There is something to be said about being inside a place where famous literary figures like William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway used to frequent. Not only is the Monteleone known for the historical clientele, but partially because of it being one of the very last family-owned hotel operations; 5 generations of Monteleones have been running the business since its opening in 1886. Inside there is the Carousel Bar, that actually spins around while you sip cocktails and enjoy the ambience.


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Even just walking down the streets of New Orleans is its own experience. Whichever neighborhood you decide to walk through, expect a rainbow of colors and patterns with street art everywhere you go.

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.