By now, you may have seen our blog on attending the 2022 SHRM Annual Conference & Expo, but if not, here it is!
But if you’re here for all the extracurricular activities within The Big Easy – aka New Orleans – then you’ve come to the right place. Why? We’ve got the inside scoop. While we could’ve had a regular old copywriter scour the internet for all the tourist traps in existence, it’s better to take the word of someone that has lived in – and loves – the city itself. So, we did just that by leveraging our very own social and email marketer, Renee LeBouef, hailing all the way from Larose, Louisiana.
In fact, Renee will be at SHRM 2022 with the rest of the Whispir team at booth #5753. So, if you’re in attendance, make sure to stop by and get all the local recommendations firsthand!
Book an in-person demo with our team!
But, really quick, where do you stand on the pronunciation? Is it New Orleans or New Orleans? Those in the know will tell you it’s New Orleans. Well, no matter how you pronounce it, come to the SHRM 2022 conference, stay awhile, and enjoy all the cultural meccas the city has in store for you. Starting with…
Things to do in New Orleans – by location
First, let’s start with the obvious. You have to walk around. We know, it’s not very vacation-y to do any walking, but as they say, “When in Rome!” We’re pretty sure that applies here. Either way, we suggest a nice stroll (or 8) to soak it all in.
The French Quarter
Make sure to take extra time at the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. And if Mass isn’t taking place, go ahead and stroll right in. If you’re a people watcher (who isn’t?) then this is a great place to see all the action.
Our local expert tells us that Royal Street is the best for walking the French Quarter – hands down. Must be all the art galleries and the must-see Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights workshop.
If you need to loosen the tie, ditch the heels, or simply take the edge off, make a quick stop at the Crescent City Brewhouse. This area is a hot spot for local artists.
While our local expert would never recommend Bourbon St. when it’s not Fat Tuesday, they do insist that visiting Pat O’Brien’s and Ticklers Dueling Piano Bar is a bit of a bucket list must.
With Magazine St. running all the way uptown, you’ll find plenty of great shops and restaurants along the way.
If you’re our type of people, then this downtown bowling alley is right up, well, your alley. Located by Harrah’s, it offers solid pub food and a low-risk activity – aka, bowling.
Bywater & Marigny Neighborhoods
Now we’ve come to the funky, hipster part of town. We’re not saying you need to clutch your pearls or anything, just that you can really catch the NAWLINS vibe here.
This is where you’ll find all the colorful houses you’ve heard about, including the infamous shotgun-style homes. You’ll also find the Paladar 511 with its MELT IN YOUR MOUTH PANCAKES, Pizza Delicious where you’ll find arguably the best pizza in the city, and Crescent Park where you can see the bridge and nurse your pending stomachache.
If you’re not up for the walking portion, then riding the streetcar up and down Carrollton to see the university campuses of Tulane and Loyola is a pretty good time. Not only will you see gorgeous, multi-million-dollar homes, at just $1.25 a ride (must have exact change), that means you can afford a cocktail to sip while you ride.
If you can swing it, we suggest taking a 2-hour boat tour of the Mississippi River on the Steamboat Natchez. Best part? It’s still cool even when it’s foggy. If you’re up for it, you can take this all the way down to Canal Place where you’ll find all sorts of fancy shopping.
New Orleans restaurants: the local favorites
Be honest with us… you’re only here for the New Orleans food recs. Sure, shops are fine and dandy, and the iconic sights are all on Google image search, but there’s no substituting a fresh, one-of-a-kind cuisine after a long day at the SHRM 2022 expo hall. So, get the Tums and get to work… on these eateries. And yes, they’ve all been taste-tested. Editor’s promise.*
Reason: classic NOLA cocktails, beautiful open courtyard, upscale gastropub.
Café du Monde
Reason: one word – beignet. Also, cash only.
Reason: AMAZING burgers for $9.
Reason: it’s a po’boy! What else do you need?!
Cane and Table
Reason: lots of small plates/tapas to choose from, mixed with bigger portions.
Hint: get the baked cauliflower appetizer with the creamy goat cheese dipping sauce.
Surrey’s Juice Bar
Reason: it’s the oldest organic juice bar in New Orleans.
Hint: sit outside and listen to the music.
Reason: best steakhouse.
Hint: only if you’re feeling spendy. Also, there is a dress code.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
Reason: it’s one of the most notoriously haunted bars in the city.
Hint: talk to Marvin (head bartender) for all his stories, particularly about his pup!
Reason: Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.
Hint: go for the sliders and coffee, and share a donut.
Reason: best gumbo in the city.
Reason: best for brunch.
Hint: make a reservation.
Hint: get the Peking duck.
Reason: best for whiskey.
Looking for food with a view? These rooftop spots are literally UP for the task:
· Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin
· Troubadour Hotel’s Monkey Board
· Catahoula Hotel's Rooftop Bar
Want to feel like a tourist? No judgment here.
If you’re visiting the city of New Orleans, there are a few famous places you’ll be ashamed to admit you didn’t visit. After all, you don’t want to tell your friends or co-workers that you “saw some of the stuff on the way to and from the airport” during SHRM. But don’t worry, we’re only dropping a few here.
New Orleans Cemeteries
While it doesn’t feel quite as alive as the rest of the city (ba-doom-tish), New Orleans’ cemeteries are no less iconic or full of culture. The hard part is simply choosing which ones to go to. However, with Marie Laveau, one of the city’s famous voodoo priestesses famously buried in one of them, we’ll let you do the soul searching. Again, ba-doom-tish.
Whether you’re entertaining family travelers or simply want to experience some wildlife, this zoo features award-winning exhibits and hands-on animal encounters. Open 6/12 and 6/13.
The National WWII Museum
This world-class museum features several pavilions and exhibitions for you to explore as you learn about WWII via first-hand accounts, memorabilia, multimedia experiences, and more.
Jazz at the Blue Nile
More like a place to ‘hear,’ this lively venue calls Frenchmen Street home and features a long history of legendary performances. Definitely worth a stop.
Also, if learning and networking all day hasn’t tired you out, we suggest checking out all the ghosts that escaped the aforementioned cemeteries by going on a haunted drinking/bar tour. There are a few to choose from so we’ll let you take the Google wheel from here.
And last but not least: the 2022 SHRM Annual Conference & Expo
This global conference is a 4-day event that you can attend in-person or virtually, filled with more than 500 exhibitors, a host of workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities. But most importantly (IMO) is the Whispir team at booth #5753, where we’ll be demonstrating the benefits of an automated, omnichannel communications platform for HR professionals looking to streamline their hiring and onboarding efforts.
For those traveling, SHRM is providing discounted housing options for both in-person attendees and exhibitors. You can book yours at https://www.mcisemi.com/shrm2022/
Get your in-person or virtual day passes
*There is no editor, it’s just me.