This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
For New Orleans, nothing makes a post-Katrina comeback official like hosting a Super Bowl. And when such A-listers as Will Ferrell and wife Viveca, Jon Cryer, New York Giants owner and producer Steve Tisch, Elektra president Jeff Castelaz, ICM president Chris Silbermann, Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer David Feldman and WME agents Josh Pyatt and Boomer Malkin touch down for the Feb. 3 weekend, Hollywood will find the city’s mainstays as good as they’ve always been.
“I do not go to New Orleans without going to Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave.),” says Fox Sports analyst Sean Tuohy, who will stop by the Garden District landmark while in town to cheer on his son Michael Oher, the Ravens offensive tackle depicted in 2010’s The Blind Side. (Also by the Commander’s Palace team: SoBou at 310 Rue Chartres, a tapas venture that Esquire named as one of 2012’s best new restaurants.) On Jan. 21, Beyonce Instagrammed her visit to homey standby Mother’s (401 Poydras St.), which CBS Sports vp Harold Bryant likes for “a nice breakfast or for something very spicy.” Jacques-Imo’s (8324 Oak St.) “is one of those places that both locals and tourists swear by,” says local WDSU-TV sports anchor Fletcher Mackel of the no-frills Creole restaurant. “You go through the kitchen to get to the dining room, and business people with their ties undone are coming in.”
On the newer side, early adopters Josh Brolin and Seth Rogen have been spotted at Root (200 Julia St.), a Modern American instant hit. Sylvain (625 Chartres St.), a gastropub in an 18th century carriage house, has attracted Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio since opening in 2010. Says NFL patriarch Archie Manning of Cajun newbie Restaurant R’evolution (777 Bienville St.), “All my friends have been there, and it’s on my bucket list.” Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari was so taken with the rabbit and dumplings at Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas St.) in March that he added a stand-up comedy date in New Orleans so he could eat there again.
For drinks, the recently renovated but still-revolving Carousel Bar draws Rod Stewart and Pink to historic Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.; rooms from $289), which since 1886 has been a haunt for writers from Truman Capote to Anne Rice. Cocktail lounges Bellocq at the Hotel Modern (936 St. Charles Ave.; rooms from $165) and Cure (4905 Freret St.) -- Cure’s Midnight in a Perfect World cocktail features tagliatella liqueur, single-barrel bourbon and vermouth from Turin, Italy -- up the city’s mixology credentials.
There aren’t enough nights in the week to hear all that New Orleans musicians have to offer. Jazz trumpeter Jeremy Davenport holds court Thursday through Saturday in his eponymous lounge at the Ritz-Carlton (921 Canal St.; executive suites from $4,000). On Thursdays, folks flock to hear Kermit Ruffins at Vaughan’s Lounge (4229 Dauphine St.) or trumpeter Irvin Mayfield at his Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel (300 Bourbon St.). “It’s a wonderful contrast that one of the best, most elegant jazz clubs is right in the heart and excitement of Bourbon Street,” raves Treme’s Wendell Pierce. For those without an itinerary, local WWL-TV reporter Scott Satchfield recommends hopping from the nightly live music and extensive beer selection at d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen St.) to its neighboring clubs on the thoroughfare he calls “the heartbeat of New Orleans, where locals go to let loose and hear music.”