New Orleans At A Glance
From the sounds of brass bands to the smell of sweet magnolias on the breeze, New Orleans is a timeless gem of southern culture and charm in Louisiana, USA. With neighborhoods as diverse as the Garden District’s antebellum mansions, junkyard funk in the Bywater, and most notably, the French Quarter’s classic iron balconies, company retreat participants can easily be immersed in the soul of this captivating city.
Also known as the Crescent City, with its location on a prominent curve of the Mississippi River, New Orleans has a rich history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures dating back to the early 1700’s. Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, Cajun Cooking, and a vibrant Jazz scene are but a small few of the things NOLA is known for, however once in town, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of offerings for corporate groups that impart a much more culturally diverse experience than just the beaded throws on Bourbon Street.
Why New Orleans is Great for a Company Retreat
The ‘Scene’ in New Orleans is eclectic - with food, music and cultural options to suit groups with diverse tastes and budgets. Whether you’re looking for upscale dining or down-home cooking, New Orleans is home to many notable chefs and a fantastic array of restaurant venues that would provide the perfect local backdrop to highlight a corporate event. Needless to say, there is certainly no shortage of musical talent around every corner -- the acoustic sounds of grassroots bands fill the air on Royal Street for passers-by to stop and enjoy a tune, jazz heritage comes to life in the French Quarter’s Preservation Hall, and lively Brass Bands are woven into the fabric of life in New Orleans, from weddings to funerals! We highly recommend organizing a private Second Line Parade for retreat participants, so they can “buck-jump” with the big brass bands as they dance their way through the city streets.
Safety and Security Despite the bad rap that New Orleans experienced post-Katrina, most areas have completely rebuilt and are again welcoming to tourists both day and night. It’s always advised that if you’re not familiar with New Orleans, stay to the best known and most visible neighborhoods, but overall, people are genuinely very friendly and enjoy celebrating life with strangers and friends alike.
Where to Stay in the City
Moniker’s Top Hotel Pick for Groups: Ace Hotel New Orleans
The Ace Hotel New Orleans is a hip and happening gem in the Warehouse District, just 5 minutes walk from Canal Street and the gateway to the French Quarter. Playing on the warehouse design style of the neighborhood, the Ace feels cozy yet modern and features a rooftop oasis with bar and pool, as well as an award-winning restaurant, Josephine Estelle. Meeting space and group dining options are plentiful on property, with high ceilings, outdoor terraces and a live music venue that can be used for private events.
Moniker’s Pick for the Budget-Conscious Group: Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
Conveniently located within a 10-minute walk of the French Quarter, The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is steeped in history, dating back to 1854 where it functioned as a chandlery, trading goods for sailing voyages. Fast-forward to modern times where it has been transformed into an art-focused, brick and beam beauty, with minimalist touches that make for a warm home away from home in the Warehouse District.
Moniker’s Pick for a Boutique or Character Hotel: The Eliza Jane
Tucked away in the Central Business District, The Eliza Jane (part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt) is two blocks from the French Quarter, and offers a charmingly Parisian atmosphere with a secret courtyard and one of the top-rated French restaurants in the city, Couvant. Like New Orleans itself, the hotel is imbued with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ - vibrantly soaked in history and culture, as a former newspaper headquarters dating back to the late 1800’s.
Where to Eat | Best Restaurants for Groups in the City
Where can’t you eat in New Orleans?? A mecca for foodies, the culinary offerings in New Orleans are well worth leaving that diet behind for, as good quality food can be found in any neighborhood, at any time of the day. Whether you indulge in a fancy four-course meal, take in a Sunday Jazz Brunch, or chow down at BBQ joint, there are plenty of offerings for all palates.
Recommendations for Lighter Fare
- Central City BBQ - Highlighted by a multi-coloured mural dedicated to their mascot pig, this spacious BBQ joint has reclaimed wood walls, farmhouse tables, and mouthwatering BBQ.
- Effervescence (Champagne bar) - An elegantly casual champagne bar with chef inspired sharing plates, and a cute courtyard, sits on the edge of the French Quarter and is a must for champagne tasting flights.
Recommendations for More Serious Sit-Downs
- Tujague’s - This ‘Grande Dame’ of New Orleans dining was founded in 1856, and still serves up a traditional Creole menu.
- Commander’s Palace - Nestled in the middle of the tree-lined Garden District, it’s been a New Orleans landmark since 1893, and the go-to destination for Haute Creole cuisine and whimsical Louisiana charm.
What to Do | Best Group Activities in New Orleans
Sunset River Gambler Cruise
The famed Steamboat Natchez is the classic tourist experience, as you set sail into the sunset to the sounds of riverboat jazz and indulge in a Creole‐inspired dinner.
Bayou Airboat Swamp Tour
Experience the true Cajun Countryside - Louisiana plantation homes, grassy marshes crawling with alligators, and an authentic home-cooked Cajun lunch on the shores of the Bayou.
Winston’s Wisdom | Final Thoughts
Escape the lure of Bourbon Street’s beads and fluorescent lights to catch a wide range of live music on Frenchmen Street, or explore even further out to the Bywater or Magazine Street to take in a more local scene -- venues like Tipitina’s, Howling Wolf, Bacchanal, and the Music Box host some of the best and most unique talent in the region.
With an impressive roster of festivals throughout the year, the ideal times avoiding the most crowding and enjoying some warm weather, are late February through April, and between September and November.