New Orleans is the most romantic city in the country, don’t you agree? And you can see it in so many distinctive ways. We’ve got horsedrawn (or muledrawn) carriage rides through the lacy iron-adorned streets of the French Quarter; we’ve got the elegant St. Charles Avenue streetcar ride for $1.50, past the Victorian mansions and live oak trees and ivy-covered universities; we’ve got the free ferry ride from Canal Street across the Mississippi River, with the stately old-world façade of St. Louis Cathedral looming in the background, like something out of Disney, as you glide slowly across the river. There are reasons so many movies get filmed in the city. We live in the prettiest European –or is it Caribbean? – town you’re likely to find in the United States.
A night out for Valentine’s Day, either on Valentine’s Day itself or during the following weekend, could start out with any of these unique tours of the city, and could progress to cocktails at the always-romantic historic Napoleon House at 500 Chartres Street in the French Quarter, on the courtyard ; or could extend to dinner at another beautiful courtyard restaurant in the Faubourg Marigny, Feelings Café, to the elegant piano accompaniment of Tom McDermott, open for dinner Thursday through Saturday, with music on Fridays; or you could always do it up right and hop off the streetcar at Commander’s Palace, 1403 Washington Avenue, in the Garden District to dine in the courtyard there . Or check out some live music on Frenchmen Street, where you can hear anything from modern-day chanteuses in silk gowns with flowers tucked behind their ears, to raucous brass bands, to mellow traditional jazz bands or swinging straight-ahead jazz. The Spotted Cat, Snug Harbor, La Maison, The Three Muses-they’re all waiting for you there on the dance floor!
But if you don’t want to sit in a courtyard and sip Pimm’s Cups, or dine on deep brown briny seafood gumbo or sautéed trout with lump crabmeat, or tap your toes to music, you can still indulge in romance in New Orleans. Just saunter through the French Quarter, or share a plate of beignets at Café du Monde (isn’t it fun to get powdered sugar on your chin?), or dream in the magic of a very old city that’s seen its share of lovers, and still survives to delight new visitors. We think it’s a place you’ll fall in love with.