Scott Simon Gives Us An Inside Look into NOLA

Scott Simon Gives Us An Inside Look into NOLA

SSCaptureWe’ve got an updated take on  New Orleans  courtesy of iHeartNOLA blogger Scott Simon. Read on to re-discover the Big Easy.

Amtrak: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a NOLA blogger.
Scott: I started blogging about NOLA after Katrina with the distinct purpose of sharing with the rest of the world why people fall in love with New Orleans. It’s a magical and mesmerizing city, and I set out to share why it’s such an important place to live, visit, and then return for good.

NOLA has a reputation as a party town, but what are some unexpected things about NOLA that locals know to be true?
When it comes to partying, we certainly know how to turn it up. Besides the standard offerings of advice and directions, I always offer one very important note…pace yourself, friends. The recipe for a great night, weekend, or even a week-long romp through NOLA is eat, drink, dance, rest, then repeat. Locals know that New Orleans is not all Bourbon Street. Have a drink at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, and then a spin (literally) at the Carousel Bar at The Hotel Montleone. Don’t forget to find your way to a neighborhood bar deep in the French Quarter and truly experience what it’s like to drink like a local.

PDCaptureWhat are some of the best new food spots in the Big Easy?
2014 was a tremendous year in food for New Orleans. Events like New Orleans Food & Wine Experience (NOWFE), Tales Of The Cocktail, and last but not least, Boudin, Bourbon and Beer have really elevated our game.

Don’t get me wrong, fine dining is perfect for Valentine’s and Mardi Gras, but the stuff I crave on a weekly basis doesn’t require a sports coat. My two new favorite spots around town are Pizza Domenica for amazing slices and garlic knots, and Oxalis for a top notch burger.

Lastly, Merchant is the perfect place to help soften your hangover with precisely pulled espresso and fresh crepes.

MCaptureNew Orleans seems like a place where history and modern day collide. What are some examples of both in events, things to do, or culture?
History and the modern day collide every day in New Orleans.  For instance, the speakeasy cocktail culture here in New Orleans is fast becoming second to none. In terms of local commerce, the historic Riverwalk has been re-imagined along the Mississippi into a huge high-end retail outlet. I think the best way to answer is this…New Orleans is still all about tradition and history, but it’s the folks who make their way down here, fall in love with the city and all its magic, who make it modern.

Anything else people should know about New Orleans? Good places to shop or explore? Yearly festivities that are a must-do?
We have some of the best museums in the country. Within a few blocks in the Arts District, there’s The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Contemporary Arts Center, and The National WWII Museum.

NOLACaptureMagazine Street is lined with shopping, eating, drinking, and art filled galleries. Some of the places I love to visit include the new Billy Reid shop, Friend, and the brand new Red Arrow Workshop. There’s also Garden District Books, and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 which makes for a unique tourist experience. The Prytania Theater is a kitschy single-screen theater and gloriously old school in every way.

Last but not least, in recent years, music festivals like Voodoo Music Experience and The BUKU Music + Art Project are giving the cultural landmark, Jazz Fest, a real run for its money.

Want more? Check out Scott’s curation of #NOLAGRAMS on Instagram. Inspired? Book your own Amtrak adventure to NOLA today and tell us your favorite places in the comments below!