By Matthew Wexler
I can’t completely wrap my head around New Orleans, and I’m okay with that. It can be beignets and café au lait at dawn or slurping booze out of a sippy cup at 4 A.M. Bourbon Street reminds me of a mythological college campus where the average age is 40 and oversized Tommy Bahama is the dress code. Add to this the fact that you can step into one of the French Quarter’s legendary restaurants and experience the unparalleled culinary history of the United States. This August commemorates ten years since the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, and the city’s nickname, “The Big Easy,” occasionally feels like an oxymoron. The undulating vibe of jazz and craft cocktails is all for the taking, but peel back the layers and you’ll discover a blissfully scrappy town still struggling to redefine its post-disaster identity. New Orleans is a living, breathing version of the American Dream, with all the myriad aspects of life just waiting to be experienced.
I’ve set up digs at the Windsor Court Hotel (300 Gravier St. Tel: 504-523-6000.www.windsorcourthotel.com). Developed by New Orleans businessman James “Jimmy” Coleman, Jr. more than 30 years ago, the property completed a $22 million restoration in 2012 and is a stunning tribute to English décor and French Vogue. Brimming with lavish furnishings and fresh flowers, the property never feels stuffy and I’m happily ensconced in my city-view room furnished in shades of robin egg’s blue. I didn’t come to New Orleans to stay in the room, but by week’s end I will happily take advantage of the spa, at which point I hope the massage therapist can purge the toxins from my multi-happy hour expeditions.