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New Orleans is your home for history and tradition this holiday season

The National Geographic Traveler lists New Orleans as one of the Best Trips of 2014.  They mention our hot summer months as the time to come for hotel deals in New Orleans, but we know that December is also a great time to visit our city for fun activities and holiday specials.

While we may not have snow in New Orleans, there are many places that twinkle with lights and fun activities to fill your December days and nights.  Our favorite  is Celebration in the Oaks in City Park.

New Orleans Holiday activities

Cajun Night Before Christmas light display at City Park Celebration in the Oaks

It opens November 29 and runs through the holiday season.   City Park’s oak trees are covered in hundreds of thousands of white lights amid extravagant, detailed light displays across 13 acres.  There are musical events and entertainment ranging from children’s choirs and bands to Irish dancing.

The new light display opening this year is Christmas in the District.  Launching November 30 along the Convention Center is an incredible ribbon of lights and spectacular displays synchronized to New Orleans Christmas music.

New Orleans holiday shopping

Modern Market on Magazine Street nominated as 2013 “Retail Star to Watch”

New Orleans consistently rates high among travel writers and travel magazine readers as a great city for shopping.  In and around the French Quarter you can find everything from original artwork and grand antiques to handcrafted voodoo dolls.  On the edge of the quarter, the French Market is the oldest public market in the country and is the best place to find regional food items, local music cds, and gifts for every family member back home.

Running through our Garden District neighborhood, where our New Orleans bed and breakfast is located, is  the world-renowned Magazine Street.  Six miles of some of the best antique stores, art galleries, craft shops and classy boutiques to be found anywhere in the city.  During the month of December, the stores have extended hours, holiday decorations, and hold special sales and events to celebrate the Merriment of the Holiday Season.

New Orleans holiday dining

“Wake up” to a holiday feast at your favorite restaurant!

Reveillon Dinners are a Creole tradition from the 1800’s to “wake up” with a dinner following midnight mass.   This holiday convention has been transformed in restaurants that serve sumptuous holiday feasts at incredible rates.

Currently 34 restaurants are offering 4-course meals starting at $34.00, including our neighborhood restaurants:  Commander’s Palace, Upperline, Brigtsen’s and Martinque Bistro.  Christmas New Orleans Style also lists which restaurants are open on Christmas and New Years.

Check with us next week for information on holiday home tours, Christmas concerts, bonfires to light the way and more.  Check out our New Orleans bed and breakfast special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast today for your chance to stay in this historic city this holiday season.

The Top 5 Seafood Restaurants in the New Orleans Area!

Last week, we penned a Love Note to Louisiana Seafood; now that we’ve extolled its virtues, here is our top 5 list of where to get it. The restaurants are recommended by staff (and guests) and in close proximity to our New Orleans bed and breakfast.

1. Jacques-Imo’s is best described by Bonnie Rabe’s favorite menu item, the Innkeeper of New Orleans Garden District bed and breakfast “Godzilla meets fried green tomatoes.” This Carrollton area restaurant is a perennial favorite because there are always different kinds of fish prepared in a variety ways. A perusal of their current menu lists over 20 seafood entrees from Fried Mirliton with Oysters to Amberjack Provencal. They only take reservations for large groups, so hit this popular eatery early.


Crawfish Macque choux

Crawfish Macque choux

2.  Mandina’s has been a mid-city institution since 1932, and the post-Katrina renovation is bigger and better. Check out the “House Specials” menu for our favorites including Trout Meuniere, Grilled Shrimp over Pasta Bordelaise and of course, their famous Turtle Soup.

3.  Superior Seafood is the new kid on the block that has an old New Orleans feel to it. It is located on the historic streetcar corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenue. It features an oyster bar including a sampler plate that serves two traditional New Orleans fare–Bienville and Rockefeller–plus something new called “Angels on Horseback.”

4.  Guy’s PoBoys – 5257 Magazine, New Orleans, LA, 504-891-5025. It is the proverbial hole-in-the-wall as Guy’s doesn’t even have a website and takes cash only. Sit down for a few minutes as all the po-boys are individually made by the owner. Hang out with the locals, have a Barq’s Rootbeer, and talk about the daily news as this is a nostalgic place of days-gone-by.

5.  La Thai may sound strange to some as we have a Thai restaurant on our list, but Chef Merlin’s Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is what keeps us coming back on a regular basis! Chef Merlin has won several seafood awards including 1st Runner Up as the King of Louisiana Seafood, 2010-2011.


Shrimp po boy - ask for it "dressed"

Shrimp po boy – ask for it “dressed”


This is by no means a comprehensive list of the best seafood restaurants in New Orleans, so you’ll have to make several trips to the Garden District bed and breakfast to experience them all.


A Love Note to Louisiana Seafood

Seafood gumbo often comes with a crab claw

Louisiana Seafood: it draws many visitors to our cities and our restaurants; most locals won’t eat it anywhere but here. At our Garden District B&B, we spend a lot of time around the breakfast table talking about food. Our staff has the arduous task of trying out as many restaurants as we can, and we keep the beautifully photographed magazine Louisiana Cookin in every guest room.

Delicious seafood is not just an indulgence for us. The traditions of catching, cooking and eating seafood are an important part of Louisiana life. Everyone from the finest chefs to neighbors at the crab boil has a seafood recipe to share.


Blue Crabs!

Blue Crabs!

Heart healthy seafood is also an important part of the state economy. One out of every 70 jobs in Louisiana is seafood related, providing 90% of the crawfish, 70% of the shrimp and 70% of the oysters to the US. If you’ve eaten a blue crab on the East Coast, it’s probably from Louisiana.


Grilled oysters on the halfshell

Grilled oysters on the halfshell


Our New Orleans Garden District Bed and Breakfast is surrounded by incredible seafood choices. Check out the restaurants on the Grand Victorian B&B Explore New Orleans page and talk about seafood with us. We’ll help you pick the best restaurant for the seafood dish you’re craving.

Revive a Tradition with Reveillon Dinners in New Orleans


“Reveillon” the French word for “awakening” was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Now, reveillon dinners in New Orleans restaurants offer an opportunity for you to eat at some of the city’s finest restaurant at prices that make tasting four or more courses affordable.

 Christmas New Orleans Style lists many Revillion Dinner menus in this annual guide to enjoying the holidays in New Orleans.  Take a peek at Reveillon Dinners at these restaurants recommended by the Innkeeper at the Grand Victorian:

Commander’s Palace  http://www.commanderspalace.com/

John Besh’s  Restaurant August http://www.restaurantaugust.com/

Dominica Restaurant in the Roosevelt Hotel http://domenicarestaurant.com/

The Roosevelt Hotel holiday decorations include 20 birch trees reaching to the 20-foot ceiling, a canopy of white birch branches decorated with thousands of lights, along with 26 Douglas fir Christmas trees, trimmed with gold ornaments, bows and lights. 

If you start a new tradition with Reveillon Dinners, experience more history with a stay at the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast.  There are rooms available at discounted Papa Noel Rates.

Cool Down with New Orleans Coolinary Summer!

Cool down this summer with New Orleans’ restaurants summer specials. Over fifty local restaurants are participating in the COOLinary summer promotion and feature mouthwatering 2 or 3 course lunch for $20 or less and 3 course dinners for $35 or less.


From the French Quarter to the Central Business District, and even in our neighborhood in the Garden District, you can treat yourself to a delicious, affordable meal. Down the street from the Grand Victorian, Commander’s Palace is offering $20 lunches and $35 dinners. The enchanting restaurant nestled in Magazine Street, Martinique Bistro, is offering $35 dinners from their special menu. And on our street corner, Coquette has recently joined the COOLinary tour and will release their delectable menu later this week.


Check out the extensive list of restaurants participating in the COOLinary promotion across the city:


5 Fifty 5

7 on Fulton

Andrea’s Restaurant

Antoine’s Restaurant


Bombay Club

Bon Ton Cafe

Bourbon House

Brennan’s Restaurant

Brigtsen’s Restaurant

Broussard’s Restaurant

Cafe’ Adelaide

Cafe Degas

Cafe Giovanni

Charlie’s Steak House

Chartres House Cafe

Commander’s Palace


Court of Two Sisters

Desire Bistro and Oyster Bar

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

Eleven 79

Emeril’s Restaurant


Grand Isle Restaurant


La Bayou RestaurantLa Cote Brasserie

Latils Landing – Houmas House Plantation and Gardens


M bistro

Martinique Bistro

Mesón 923

Mike’s on the Avenue

Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant

Muriel’s Jackson Square

One Restaurant & Lounge

Palace Cafe

Pascal’s Manale Restaurant

Pat O’s Courtyard Restaurant

Pere Antoine

Restaurant August

Roux on Orleans

Royal House Oyster Bar

Royal Palm Restaurant

Ste. Marie

The Crazy Lobster Bar & Grill

The Crystal Room

The Grill Room

The Original Pierre Maspero’s

The Pelican Club

The Sazerac Restaurant

Tujague’s Restaurant


The King of New Orleans Culinary

Raised in the south, John Besh attributes his success to his roots in Louisiana. New Orleans is lucky to host five of his six restaurants, including two-time Gourmet Magazine’s “Best Restaurant” August. He also owns La Provence, The American Sector, Besh Steak in Harrah’s Casino, and Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel.

In 1999, Besh was first awarded for his talents as one of Food & Wine’s “Ten Best New Chefs in America.” After opening August in 2001, he won “2006 Best Chef in the Southeast” James Beard Foundation Award. Nationally, Besh is well-known for his title of Runner-Up in The Next Iron Chef and his frequent guest-chef appearances on NBC’s Today Show.


When visiting New Orleans, make your reservation at one of Besh’s restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening in the Central Business District at August or a break from gambling to dine at Besh Steak, enjoy one of Besh’s southern-Louisiana inspired dishes. Only two miles away from Besh’s New Orleans’ restaurants is the Grand Victorian and this B&B is the perfect location for your stay in the Big Easy.

Fall leaves in a circle with Grand Victorian logo in the center



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