Saints and sinners alike come marching into NOLA for Mardi Gras, but these picks from celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani prove the Big Easy is worth celebrating year-round.

musicians performing in colorful new orleans street
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
| Credit: Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

This James Beard Award–winning corner joint in the historic Treme neighborhood serves up "the best fried chicken, red beans, and bread pudding in New Orleans," says Giuliani. Consider it the tastiest hangover food ever.

Pontchartrain Hotel

A favorite of luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Tennessee Williams in its glam heyday, this restored Garden District boutique hotel is full of details—brocade-style wallpaper and velvet couches—that nod to its 1927 beginnings.


"Alon Shaya's Saba is a reason in itself to travel to New Orleans." The stylish spot on Magazine Street is "possibly the best Israeli restaurant in the United States." A must-try dish? "The lamb hummus is so good, I often order a second round."


"No New Orleans trip is complete without a visit to Frenchmen Street for some music and dancing." You'll find both at this live-music spot, which has welcomed performers—from hot up-and-comers to classics like the Treme Brass Band—for almost 20 years.

Saint Claude Social Club

"My favorite local artist, Mallory Page, turned me on to this chic women-owned boutique," which offers clothing from female-fronted brands like Raven + Lily and Primecut. "Shopping there will make you feel like a local."

Commander’s Palace

This landmark restaurant is as old-school NOLA as you can get. "If there's one place to try gumbo or turtle soup in New Orleans, it's here." After a jazz brunch, go for a tour of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 across the street.