There are many choices when it comes to luxury accommodations in New Orleans, but I was drawn to the modern rustic style of exposed brick walls and original wood floors in the guest rooms at the Q&C. Curious about the name and always intrigued with the backstory, this hotel was renovated in 2014 and became a Marriott Autograph Collection property. The 196 room hotel has not one, but two buildings next to each other which are appropriately named the Queen and the Crescent. The quaint bar and open kitchen restaurant is located at street level in the taller Queen building. It’s one of the cozier bars in NOLA with its amazing craft cocktails and Louisiana brews. Each morning, breakfast was delicious and a side of andouille sausage added local flavor! They are known for their brick oven pizzas, savory snacks and live music events. The personalities of the friendly staff, seasoned bartenders, and diligent management feed into the hip vibe! There’s a fitness area and two meeting spaces, The Den and The Library, which are located in the Crescent building. I love the mixture of leather, metal, wood, and early 1900’s touches. A shuffle board and several comfy conversation areas invite interaction. The rooms are true to the vintage architectural bones of the building with their industrial yet clean, urban feel. Being in the heart of the central business district at 344 Camp Street, it is a favorable, quiet location. It’s within walking distance to both the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. Mother’s and Restaurant August are both local favs and just around the corner.
The Queen, the taller of the two historic buildings, is 12 stories high. It was completed in 1913, and originally built to house the railroad offices for The Queen and Crescent Route…hence the newly abbreviated and trendier hotel nickname: Q&C Hotel Bar™. The railroad line had obviously been named after the route that linked two major cities in 1883. It made two runs a day between Cincinnati, “The Queen City”, and New Orleans, “The Crescent City.” Cincinnati had been locally nicknamed The Queen City and was used in the 1854 poem, “Catawba Wine”, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In traveling, I’ve learned the more nicknames a city has, the more layers of fun and interests! You’ve probably heard at least a dozen or more for NOLA. “The Crescent City” became popular after it was coined in the 1835 travelogue written by Joseph Holt Ingraham. He eloquently penned a line using the descriptive nickname “from its being built around the segment of a circle formed by a graceful curve of the (Mississippi) river at this place.”
In 1926, The Queen and Crescent Limited was additionally introduced as a luxurious express passenger train with pullman cars and a dining car. A traveler could ride between the two cities in a little over 22 hours. The Great Depression hit a few years later, and the line struggled financially until service ended around 1949. Throughout the years, the building changed hands and purposes multiple times and first became a hotel in the 90’s, with the latest acquisition and renovation by Marriott Autograph Collection, meaning it is distinctively independent and not like any of their other hotels. Each one in the “Collection” has a lot of style and a unique story. A vintage train theme is the subtle undercurrent in the design features. The custom wallpaper in the guestrooms pay symbolic homage to both the railroad and the city with an elegant black and ecru graphic repeat pattern depicting a train engine, fleur de lis, and beads draped in a flower garland. White subway tiles line the bathroom behind the sliding “train” door. Black and white framed jazz prints are hung strategically in the rooms. Love the Q&C! (qandc.com)
it takes a second visit to a city to truly embrace its beauty and flavors! New Orleans surprisingly stole my heart on this trip after walking around extensively. As an artist, I’m inspired by the highly-stylized architecture, colorful painted shutters and doors, decorative signage, ornate cast iron railings and fences, and all of the native flowers and foliage. Oh…and the food, shopping and entertainment! Here’s just a handful of recommendations!
is not only one of New Orlean’s most desirable areas, but one of the nation’s “most preserved city districts and home to the rich, famous, the strange, and the dead” according to Free Tours by Foot. It’s easy to get there by hopping on a historic St. Charles streetcar. Operating since 1835, it is the oldest continuously running streetcar line in the world. Affordable at $1.25! Walking tour guides are knowledgeable about the history of the gothic Lafayette Cemetery No.1, the various styles of architecture, celebrity acquisitions, film locations, etc. Sturdy and comfortable shoes are a must, so tread with caution. The houses are fabulous — but some of the sidewalks are buckled and uneven.
is so photogenic with all the colorful paint, plants, flowers, trees, highly decorative cast iron fencing, railings, and porches. I am charmed by the blue-and-white street tiles that spell out street corner names all over The Crescent City. These alphabet squares started being embedded in the intersections of concrete sidewalks in the 1880’s. Take note as you walk to shop and dine. I highly recommend all of the restaurants that I tried: Superior Seafood, Superior Grill (yes, same owners) and the darling La Petite Grocery!
is a shopper’s paradise. It stretches six miles and is a delightful mix of residential and shops, restaurants, bars, and a whole lot of character. There are so many cute stores and far too many to list all of them, so I encourage you to look online at Magazine Street shops. Just a handful of my favorites were Peony, Shake Your BonBon, Lucy Rose, and Monomin. Walk as much as you can to see the individual businesses up close. There are a lot of pretty, free-standing houses with decorative touches which house local businesses.
is lined with grand Queen Anne-Style mansions. It is also the backdrop of part of the Mardi Gras Parade route. You’ll see dazzling strands of beads high up in the branches of tall trees that are still glistening in the sun long after the parade. Architect Thomas Sully designed a lot of the gorgeous mansions. Take the time to stop in two of them: The Chloe and The Columns. They are both so lavishly decorated with layers of textures, color, artifacts, collectibles, and art. Have a refreshment in one of the gardens or by the pool at The Chloe.
is a National Landmark and is named after General Andrew Jackson. His bronze statue is a focal point in the center of the park. The elegant Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, built in 1914, looms majestically over the square. I love the energy of the open-air artist colony and all the vendors, the street performers, live jazz, fun boutiques, restaurants, bars, and Jax Brewery. You certainly can’t miss the historic Cafe Du Monde’s easily recognizable kelly green and white striped awnings. Famous for their beignets, cafe au lait, and chicory, it’s a must-stop, but don’t miss Cafe Beignet, also! Mule-drawn carriages line the Decatur side of Jackson Square to offer leisurely tours of the area, and just beyond is the Mississippi River where there’s plenty of riverboat cruises to choose from.
abounds! Friendly doormen clad in shamrock green jackets greet you at Pat O’Brien’s Dueling Piano Bar. It’s a lively performance and an interesting treat watching local Alvin Babineaux play his aluminum “Finger Tray” with his plastic thimbles. The opulent Hotel Monteleone overlooks Royal Street and is the home of the famous 25 seat revolving Carousel Bar. Try lunch on the balcony at Royal House and dinner at Antoine’s, the famous 1840 establishment and birthplace of oysters Rockefeller. Frenchmen’s Street offers all genres of live music and a colorful art bazaar. It seems to be more of the hangout for locals.
in the French quarter is…interesting! There’s a lot of flash, sequins, and kitschy souvenirs. One thing for certain..there are no fashion rules in NOLA. You can be totally casual or “sparkle plenty.” Whimsy…everywhere! Antique stores are full of chandeliers dripping with dazzling crystals and jewelry store windows showcase gemstone brilliance.