Rathbone Mansions
Historic New Orleans Hotel, Steps From the French Quarter
musicians.jpg

Insiders Guide of things to do, eats and drinks in New Orleans

Rathbone Mansions Insiders Guide

With its unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktail bars, and party atmosphere, there's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best cities to visit. We've got you covered with insiders' tips on the best places to visit, eat and drink during your stay. Click through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.

New Orleans has a unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktails galore, and a low-key, Southern fun atmosphere. There's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best US cities to visit.  We've got you covered with tips on locals' favorite spots to check out during your stay. Scroll through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.

 

BOOK YOUR STAY WITH US NOW!

A Different Take on New Orleans

I came across an article that touched on a topic I’d never seen before. It appeared in the August 2019 issue of AFAR magazine, a relatively new publication that I signed up for recently. Sarah M. Broom, a writer who has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker, among other publications has written an intriguing piece.

 

Broom grew up in New Orleans East, a neighborhood most travelers and visitors to NOLA don’t see. During a summer home from the University of North Texas, she took a job – her very first one – in the French Quarter. This resulted in Broom’s change of heart as she gained a new perspective of the city where she had lived all her life.

New Orleans East is the place to go if one wants to see how the people behind NOLA’s magic live – when the music stops

New Orleans East is the place to go if one wants to see how the people behind NOLA’s magic live – when the music stops

 

WHERE IS BOURBON STREET?

 

Her barista job was at CC’s Coffee House on Royal Street where she found that, along with coffee orders she answered questions: the most popular one being about the famous Bourbon Street.

 

bourbon st.jpg

On her 15-minute breaks she stared through the window of the place where she worked and observed the people walking by. But, on her lunch breaks she wandered the streets with her camera, e.g., a man playing a horn along the Mississippi or a juggler on stilts leaning against a street sign. These were the photos she took back to Texas as memories of the place she grew up.

 

HER FIRST TIME IN THE FRENCH QUARTER

 

french quarter map.jpg


Despite living all her life in New Orleans she had never spent time in the French Quarter until she worked there. It was life changing, or as she writes, “After that summer I based all my stories about my growing-up years that played to the ‘non-natives’ imagination.” She wrote scholarship essays and told stories about young boys tap dancing with Coca-Cola bottle tops on the bottom of their sneakers.

 

Traveling home after work involved a journey with employees and their uniforms: Napoleon House wore all black with white lettering, females in black with white aprons were hotel cleaning women while those in green-grass outfits worked at the Hotel Monteleone. Brown’s uniform was khaki pants, a burgundy cap and a matching polo shirt.

 

RETURNING HOME BY BUS

 

Broom traveled by bus to the corner of Downman and Chef Menteur where she waited to transfer to a second bus. She confesses that she “took no photos of New Orleans East because this was not what her college friends wanted to see.” The reality of Broom’s home district was this: no iconic street lamps, no street musicians playing on a flat industrial landscape, no streetcars with joggers alongside them, few restaurants, no cafes to stop in for a quick cup of java.

 

She found the French Quarter to be a marvel + escape from the East New Orleans where she lived on the short end of Wilson Avenue.

 

SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?

 

Later in life Broom came to realize that she had embraced a New Orleans myth AND writes “I came to lay that much of what was wayward and backward about myself on New Orleans: I can cook, I love jazz, BUT I am interesting because…

Sarah M. Broom.jpg

 

Yes, you are Ms. Broom and we salute you.

 

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

 

NOTE: The above was excerpted from: The Yellow House by Sarah M. Brown that was published by Grove Press in August 2019.