New Orleans: What's Hot And What's Not For 2014

Jan 20, 2014

Welcome to 2014. While you’ve been making and breaking resolutions, I’ve been scouring the in and out lists to find out what’s hot and what’s not in New Orleans for the new year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be caught wearing a mini instead of a midi, or high-top boots instead of wedgy sneakers. So 2013.

So let me share with you a few trending topics in areas important to New Orleanians. Like, well, drinking.

No, that splash sound you just heard is not a Hand Grenade being poured on Bourbon Street. That’s someone diving into a swimming pool... At their local bar, like the Indulge Island Grill or The Country Club. It’s a hot trend in this hot city. So forget the hot tub and take a dip at your local watering hole. Literally.

NOLA bars are bringing out the child in us in other ways, too.

Grown-up conversation has passed the torch to new happy hour pastimes, like the boutique bowling at Fulton Alley or the giant Jenga set at Barcadia. Yep, bar games are in, pub trivia out.

Speaking of clubs, while Frenchmen Street and the French Quarter play Battle of the Sound Ordinance, the in-crowd is checking out local bands at new boutique venues in 2014.

Small, chic concert venues like Gasa Gasa on Freret, the Civic downtown or the Marigny Opera House are hot; 10,000-seat arenas so not.

The Civic Theater.
Credit The Civic Theater

  Of course, nothing hits closer to a New Orleanian’s heart than his palate. So, foodwise, what’s in and what’s out in the Crescent City?

Well, bag the beignets and opt instead for a dossant at Manhattan Jack or a cruffin at Gracious Bakery, the local bakery versions of hybrid pastries. Live juicing is in. I suppose that means that dead juicing is not.

As for where you eat? Until recently, it has been a transitory experience, with the hip among us dining at food trucks and pop-ups that are here today, gone tomorrow. Intentionally.

Now, however, pop-up retail outlets, pop-up art galleries, pop-pop movie theaters — really, anything pop-up EXCEPT restaurants is in. Although the jury’s still out on food trucks...

Looking for hip neighborhoods? Here’s one that boasts an art movie house, an iconic 50-year-old corner dive that serves catfish and mac and cheese, a historic park and the requisite drive-through daiquiri place. You guessed it: Chalmette. And Bywater, where you go indoors to eat street food, is so hip it’s not.

Unfortunately, the Saints are out. But only for now. The Pelicans are in. So is Stand Up and Get Crunk, because the fans demand it. But let’s retire Who Dat, like dat, treux dat, drew dat and any other dis and dats. Butchering the English language is so out. Obvi.

Finally, a couple of hot trends for the uber-sophisticated among you. If you aren’t buying stuff with bitcoins, you are hopelessly last year. Yep. Get out of the stock market and start dealing in the Internet’s new imaginary money. The bitcoin, or gold for nerds.

A mock bitcoin, decoration or toy, holds no actual bitcoin. Made of brass.
Credit Isokivi

And wearables are ultra hot. Not the fabric or fashion version, but wearable tech. Like Google Glass, smart bracelets, e-fabrics.

So there you have it. Welcome to 2014, when you can spend imaginary money, wear your computer and swim at your local bar.

But only if you’re cool.