The Big Easy’s Big Birthday

New Orleans turns 300.

By Allison Entrekin

This year marks the 300th anniversary of NOLA’s founding, and the revelry is just getting under way. In February, extra-large Mardi Gras floats honoring the city’s cultural roots will roll along St. Charles Avenue. The biggest, from the Rex Organization, pays homage to voodoo queen Marie Laveau, pirate Jean Lafitte and other New Orleans icons.

The rest of the year, expect commemorative concerts, citywide art exhibits and themed neighborhood fetes. “Three hundred years is a big deal,” says New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr., a member of the city’s Tricentennial Executive Committee. “We’re a city of perpetual evolution, and that’s really something to celebrate.” (Tap here for a full calendar of events.)

You can’t go to New Orleans without partaking in its much-touted food scene. Turkey and the Wolf (739 Jackson Ave.; 504-218-7428; lunch for two, $20*)Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant of 2017—wows critics with gourmet comfort food like gooey collard-green melts. And at Maypop (611 O’Keefe Ave.; 504-518-6345; dinner for two, $50), in the emerging Central Business District, acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta makes his mark with Vietnamese-Creole cuisine.

To toast the anniversary with a cocktail, belly up to Hot Tin (2031 St. Charles Ave.; 504-323-1500; cocktails for two, $22), a recently opened rooftop bar. A favorite of Mad Men star and New Orleans resident Bryan Batt, it serves groovy cocktails, such as the bourbon-based Hibbity Dibbity, and views of the Garden District. Sazerac House (500 Canal St.), a French Quarter museum dedicated to the city’s official cocktail, is set to open later this year, giving vacationers one more reason to celebrate.

  • *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax, or tip.
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: February 2018