We took a while to decide where to stay on our most recent trip to New Orleans. You are spoiled for choice really. Most choose to base themselves in the Downtown and Warehouse District. This is where the big chain hotels are and it is just across the street from the French Quarter, the heart of New Orleans, and of course Bourbon street. Within the French Quarter there are several smaller B&Bs, small hotels and apartment rentals as well.
On this trip however, we chose to base ourselves near the Garden District. Many tourists only see the Garden District from the tram but it is worth a good walk around. The neighborhood was where the new American residents to New Orleans were based, those who were weren’t so interested in living where the European residents based in the French Quarter. The New Americans were wealthier, worked in cotton, sugar, insurance and shipping, and hired leading architects at the time to create beautiful and grand homes with gorgeous gardens. Fewer tourists come through the Garden District but they are missing out. There are many excellent walking tours around this area, but it’s just as easy to venture over and explore it yourself.
We found a great classic shotgun house in the Lower Garden District (shotgun houses are long narrow houses popular in the Southern USA and in particular in New Orleans) through airbnb (highly recommended), and were able to spend the weekend there as locals. What is great about Lower Garden District is that you can easily walk into the French Quarter through the Warehouse and Business District, or into the Garden District. If you aren’t up to walking, the green street car line (St. Charles) connects all these too. The downside of this area is that although you are central to both, you aren’t actually in either neighborhood which means that every trip out to eat or sightsee requires a bit of a walk.
But if you are a coffee lover, this is where you want to be. Within a couple of minutes of waking up here you can be at any one of a handful of really good coffee spots (according to my husband, the coffee drinker). There is HiVolt (which I’ll review next), Moko has great coffee too, and then there is French Truck Coffee which is impossible to miss, both because of its bright yellow building and the smell of freshly roasted coffee (for you coffee lovers). They are also known for their bright vintage Citroen trucks that they use to deliver their beans to some of the best restaurants around town. From this location you can watch their roasting facility and even take a walk around or a roasting course. They do offer a hot chocolate, a cocoa powder base to which they add some extra spices including a slight pinch of cayenne. But really if you are a coffee drinker, try their coffee.
Verdict: A great spot to stop on your walk from French Quarter/Downtown to the Garden District. Grab a coffee/hot chocolate and a bag of beans at Truck,1200 Magazine Street, New Orleans, USA