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CarolSue Ayala's Southern road trip

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3322 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
The Garden District has a lot of things going for it but I'd put Slim Goodies at the top of the list. They're renowned for their sweet potato pancakes (light, fluffy, amazing) and clever names for their breakfast mashups like the above Jewish...
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6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Audubon Park sits on the site of a former sugar plantation—the only plantation in the city that wasn’t subsequently developed for homes or businesses. It’s about 25 minutes via streetcar from downtown, but feels a world apart,...
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3029 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Skip the cheesy French Quarter T-shirt shops in favor of this Garden District spot. Designs come from online design contests, and tees are printed daily.
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923 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
The fragrant, pleasingly cluttered Central Grocery is a holdover from an era when Italian-run groceries occupied storefronts throughout the city. This timeworn shop across from the French Market still boasts an old-world charm, filled with tall...
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2036 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
My first advice to anyone visiting New Orleans is always the same: explore the wonderful neighborhoods outside of the French Quarter. Take the St. Charles Avenue streetcar and when you're tired of gawking at the Garden District mansions, hop off...
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209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Lunch is the time to visit Galatoire's—a sight and scene for all senses. Well-respected locals come to dine and celebrate, and the joie de vivre (especially on a Friday afternoon) is unparalleled.
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813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
The French 75 is attached to historic Arnaud’s Restaurant, founded in 1918 and located just off Bourbon Street. Once you get through the doors, you’ll feel miles away from the crass college-age drinkers and luridly colored beverages a...
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Bywater, New Orleans, LA, USA
The French Quarter, the Central Business District, and the Garden District are well-trodden neighborhoods—and it's there that you'll find the largest concentration of hotels, restaurants, and bars. But it's worth checking out the rest of the city,...
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623 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
This Frenchmen Street landmark offers up a steady parade of remarkable local musicians from late afternoon until early morning, with an emphasis on foot-tapping traditional and swing jazz. Musicians play on a low stage against the front window;...
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2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119, USA
“Well, we’ll see about that!” loudly harrumphs an endless of stream of out-of-town customers, eager to challenge the claim that Willie Mae’s makes “the world’s best fried chicken.” They’re usually...
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726 St Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Preservation Hall occupies a worn Creole town house that was originally built as a home in the early 19th century, and that had evolved into an art gallery and performance space by 1961. (It was founded by a man of philanthropic bent who fretted...
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1400 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
New Orleans' cemeteries are part of the city's culture as well as its landscape—and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. Opened in 1789 on the edge of the French Quarter, the cemetery is home to the tomb of Marie Laveau, a...
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130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
A Sazerac is composed of whiskey and absinthe, and nowhere sports classier digs for this signature cocktail than the Sazerac Bar of the Roosevelt Hotel in downtown New Orleans, where the low lights flow over heavy wood tables and the big leather...
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1433 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
There are three old streetcar lines that run in New Orleans. We enjoyed a ride down St. Charles, the oldest of the lines. The trains were beautifully worn originals and gave us a glance at the front of many beautiful old homes. There were also a...
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1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Chef Tory McPhail was recently named James Beard's Best Chef South and his forward-looking take on Creole classics keeps this New Orleans institution, which has launched the careers of the likes of Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, current....
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New Orleans, LA 70114, USA
If you're looking for some quiet time while visiting New Orleans (what?), consider heading across the river to Algiers Point—a residential section of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi River, full of Creole cottages and other...
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1000 Howard Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113, USA
Discover a history that can be felt and a little local flavor with one of the many tours available or explore it all on your own. The beauty of this cemetery is a reflection of it's location. Worn and unkempt, its air of mysterious romanticism can...
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1332 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
The Garden District was developed in the middle 19th century, and is where the mercantile elite built their in-town estates. Unlike the narrow parcels of the French Quarter or surrounding neighborhoods, house lots here were divided up with just...
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930 Tchoupitoulas St suite a, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Cochon is the brainchild of chefs Donald Link (also of Herbsaint and Pêche Seafood Grill) and Stephen Stryjewski, who have taken Cajun-style cooking out of the comic books and given it an updated, serious sensibility. You’ll find...
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Algiers Point, New Orleans, LA 70114, USA
Is there anything more romantic than a sunset? Do as the locals do and watch the sun go down over the Mississippi from Riverview Park, a.k.a. "The Fly." For river views from a different perspective, take the ferry to Algiers Point, where you can...
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8420, 2231 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117, USA
This venue has closed.

Every time I get a chance to spend some time in NOLA, you'll find me on Frenchmen Street, Marigny, Bywater, 9th area. This art market, while not really a hidden gem, is always worth a visit. Grab a cocktail and catch some...
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The six-block-long French Market is full of vendors peddling knickknacks, pralines and beignet mix, and boozy, frozen beverages to go. There's a daily open-air flea market from 9 am-6 pm, and a farmers market each Wednesday that features live...
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1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Neal Bodenheimer, the cocktail guru behind this brand-new spot, calls his latest venture "proto-Tiki." But don't expect an over island theme. In fact, the spot is pretty minimal—and the rum cocktails are excellent.
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New Orleans, LA, USA
Frenchmen Street is, more or less, the local-music version of Bourbon Street. It also has its share of tourists trundling about with go-cups in hand, but they’re drawn more by the music than the drink. Plan to spend an evening (things start...
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401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
The very first restaurant that was recommended to me by the bellhop at my hotel was Mother's Restaurant. Mother's is one of the oldest and most successful restaurants in the NOLA. The line to get inside stretches down the sidewalk to the back of...
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544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
A two-story dining room with an always-packed raw bar, The Ordinary serves some of the South’s best seafood. Here, chef Mike Lata dishes up must-try options like a seafood tower, crab toast, fish chowder, and triggerfish with fingerling...
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1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203, USA
Line up--with cash--and get your box of chicken, perfectly fried to a crisp. It comes with flattened tater tots, slaw, delicious hush puppies, and a roll of bread. There's no place to eat inside at Price's, but head back to your car, grab a seat...
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698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Leon’s is a meticulously renovated former auto-body shop that's now famous for oysters and fried chicken. Don’t overlook chef Ari Kolender’s shrimp roll, though—lightly dressed with horseradish mayo, it’s served...
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116 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
John Rutledge was an active player in early American politics, signing the Constitution and serving as South Carolina’s first governor. But his townhouse on Broad Street, now the John Rutledge Inn, was built before he even attended his first...
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75 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
After a multi-phase expansion completed in 2016, the former Restoration on King dropped "the King" from its name and gained a new restaurant, spa, coffee shop, and several dozen more suites. The sleek and modern rooms at the boutique Restoration...
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3125, 166 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Charleston's French Quarter didn't earn its title until the 1970s, when a group of preservationists started touting the area's historic concentration of French Huguenots to protect buildings in danger of demolition. Opened in 2002, the French...
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149 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
This Gilded Age residence, built for a cotton merchant and his bride in the 1880s, was renovated and opened as a hotel in 1998 after stints as a masonic meeting place and an insurance office. It's a testament to some serious preservation and...
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207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
For those seeking a true taste of Charleston, it’s hard to recommend anywhere better than Hominy Grill. You’ll likely have to wait for a table, but just grab a drink in the front courtyard until it’s your turn to sit. Meals...
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Charleston, SC, USA
A colonial classic, Charleston might initially come off as a little ye olde. But if you look more closely, this 340-year-old harbor city actually lives in the present. Bars reinvent Southern spirits, boutiques showcase new spins on cotton, and the...
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2 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Two Meeting Street Inn is a Queen Anne Victorian bed & breakfast in the South of Broad neighborhood. The house overlooks White Point Gardens and the Battery, with great views from the front porch. The three story home has 9 rooms and serves...
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Charleston, SC, USA
Last July, Suzanne Pollack and Lee Manigault launched the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits. They teach even the most hapless of hosts to decorate with style and throw themed gatherings, such as a men’s-only dinner party, through classes...
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70 Cunnington Ave, Charleston, SC 29405, USA
Travelers visiting Charleston typically stick to the downtown area, but if you're interested in Civil War history, head up to "the Neck," the area between downtown and North Charleston, to Magnolia Cemetery. The marshside cemetery is where the...
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1870 Bowens Island Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
Bowens Island Restaurant has existed in one form or another since 1946. The original building, covered in Sharpie messages scrawled by diners over the years, burned to the ground in 2006. Owner Robert Barber rebuilt it...
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3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414, USA
A visit to a Charleston historic plantation is typically on every traveler’s itinerary, but choosing which one can prove difficult. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens makes its case with Lowcountry wilderness rather than tamed rows and...