It’s been two years since I’ve seen my dad, so the day my second vaccine was two weeks old, my daughter and I hightailed it to New Orleans. For those who haven’t ventured forth yet, traveling is a whole new world. While it was nice to have plenty of elbow room on the plane (masks on, of course), five days with no hotel housekeeping got old (and dusty). New Orleans, a city whose main industry is tourism, is lurching back to life. Lucky for us, we had a fantastic late Friday boozy lunch at Galatoire’s (a family tradition), feasted on buckets of crawfish and a few too many fried oysters. New Orleanians are a resilient bunch, and it was restorative to be there. When we asked our airport cabbie how he was, he replied, “too blessed to be stressed!” Could be a new motto! See below for a few newish spots in NOLA. Rosedale Chef Susan Spicer, famous for Bayona (one of my favorite garden eateries), has opened an off-the-beaten-path casual spot that is so much fun. The garden fills up with neighborhood folk, and the place turns into a party or at least having been party-starved for so long, it sure felt like it. We dallied for hours on a Sunday morning over spicy Bloody Marys spiked with okra, over-the-top pimento grilled cheese, andouille sausage and egg biscuits, plus house-made smoked salmon and latkes. From burgers to classic BBQ Shrimp, the NOLA-accented menu is sure to please everyone in your group. https://rosedalerestaurant.com The Broadside Broadside is a new outdoor music venue in Mid-City with a roster of local bands starting at 1pm and playing through the evening. We spent a sunny afternoon rocking out on socially distanced Adirondack chairs. So fun to hear some live music after such a long time! The calendar offers up an exciting selection of local music styles, from brass bands to folk and funk. Tickets are inexpensive ($15 to $25) but essential. Check out who’s playing here: https://broadsidenola.com JAMNOLA JAMNOLA is a must-see installation of 12 New Orleans-themed rooms conceptualized by twenty local artists. It’s a joyful celebration of the culture of the Big Easy (or, as my dad says, the Little Difficult), from crawfish boils to Mardi Gras Indians and native musicians like Dr. John and Lil Wayne. Great for kids, too. Reservations are necessary. https://jamnola.com Cane & Table There are, of course, a plethora of great bars in New Orleans, but Cane & Table could be one of my favorites (after The Napoleon House). This chic spot in the French Quarter is known for craft cocktails and small plates, and caters to well-heeled New Orleanians. The atmostpheric interior features the original raw plaster of the 1830 building, paired with mottled mirrors and crystal chandeliers, giving off an old New Orleans vibe. The courtyard garden is glorious, but reservations are a must if you’d like a table amid the tropical flora. https://www.caneandtablenola.com Looking for more on NOLA? See this article.