10.45 million people visited New Orleans last year. Most of those people stayed in hotels. Hotels are where most of the available rooms are. More and more visitors to our city are staying in the almost 6000 AirBnB listings in New Orleans. Some of those listings are legal and licensed, most of them, though, are not so much. That’s generally a cheaper option if you want to skimp on your budget and take catch as catch can. Get out of the New Orleans tourist box.
There’s another way to visit New Orleans if you want to get out of the New Orleans tourist box. You can stay in a boutique experience inn run by professional innkeepers. Let La Belle Esplanade be your personalized New Orleans lifestyle headquarters while you’re here. You can be a tourist deeply embedded in this magical city. Visit New Orleans like you mean it. Experience New Orleans in the round with all your senses. New Orleans loves you. If you are bored in New Orleans, you have a hole in your imagination.
Visit New Orleans like you mean it.
What do I mean?
When people stay in a hotel in the French Quarter or in the Central Business District (what New Orleanians call the CBD), they get stuck in the French Quarter. When you’re in the French Quarter, you are in the tourist bubble. When you leave New Orleans after your delightful and memorable vacation, you think that New Orleans is all about drunken frat boys and bachelorette parties swaying and stumbling down Bourbon Street, shouting, singing, puking and generally being noisome. That’s one part of New Orleans. It’s not a part of New Orleans where I spend a lot of time. I live here and I don’t spend a lot of time in the French Quarter. That’s the touristy New Orleans.
The AirBnB tourists rent out a whole house, usually for a frat party or a stag party or for a bachelorette party. Why rent ten hotel rooms when you can rent a whole house for a fraction of the price split between the 16-20 people in your party. When you stay in an empty house, you pay for what you get—an empty house in a residential neighborhood where all the neighbors will call the cops when you sit on the front porch yukking it up at 3:00AM after coming back from the Bourbon Street.
This isn’t what New Orleans is all about. When you stay in an AirBnB property, there’s usually another one next door that’s full of drunken frat boys. Whole streets in New Orleans are nothing but AirBnB houses. How’s that for an authentic experience? During the week, the street is empty. During the weekend, everyone on the street is from somewhere else. The Marigny is like that. The Bywater is like that. Soon, the Garden District might be like that. Nobody can give you directions because nobody knows where they are.
How can you tell someone’s not from New Orleans?
People from New Orleans will say hello when they pass you on the street. They’ll strike up a conversation. They’ll ask how you’re doing. People who live in New Orleans are open and friendly. They are proud of their city and they’re happy to show it off.
People who aren’t from New Orleans, as a general rule, are cautious and shy. They’re guarded, on the lookout for pickpockets. They won’t look you in the eye when you pass them on the street. They’ll be staring at their phones trying to figure out where they are. They’ll be staring at their phones waiting for their Uber driver to take them to the French Quarter. They won’t say hello. They won’t know where they are. They just landed in New Orleans and they want to be where all the other tourists are: on Bourbon Street. New Orleans may seem like a strange city, but you don’t have to act the stranger while you’re here. Everyone you meet on the street is a friend you’ve just met.
People from New Orleans are the friendliest people on earth. We are proud of this city we’ve rebuilt since Katrina. We want to share and to help you discover what’s best about what we’ve up to these past 12 years.
Where are all the pickpockets in New Orleans? They’re where all the drunks and the easy marks are: in the French Quarter and on Frenchmen Street. Where does all the petty crime and theft happen? Same places: where all the tourists congregate. Nobody is hiding behind a bush on Esplanade Avenue waiting for nobody to show up in the dead of night in our quiet neighborhood. It just isn’t a cost-effective use of the criminal’s time. All the good pickings are where the tourists are fat, drunk and happy until they find themselves ripped off. It happens more often than you think.
Get out off the predictable New Orleans tourist grid. If you want to stay in a boutique experience inn, there is always La Belle Esplanade. It’s your personalized New Orleans lifestyle headquarters for as long as you choose to call our part of the city your home away from home. Our address is in a unique neighborhood off the usual tourist radar. We are close to everything you want to see, and our neighborhood is full of richly-textured city life and details that will ease you into the New Orleans state of mind. Life is what you make it. In New Orleans, life is lived in the round. The good times roll, of course, but New Orleans is more about making good memories that will last a lifetime than nursing a hangover the morning after.
Parades go down our street.
Good Memories are made on our street.
We love where we live. As unappointed and unofficial goodwill ambassadors for this wonderful city we call home, we love to share what we know about New Orleans. La Belle Esplanade is not your great-grandmother’s house overstuffed with antiques and signs telling you not to scuff the furniture. La Belle Esplanade is not a bed & breakfast in the usual sense of the term. Our inn isn’t run by amateurs who have day jobs. We are professional innkeepers. Our mission is to ensure you get as much out of New Orleans as this splendiferous city is willing to give. New Orleans gives a lot depending on your interests, your tastes, and your needs. When you love New Orleans, New Orleans loves you right back just as much, and more. We live in a kaleidoscope of a city.
We live in New Orleans. There are over 800 restaurants in New Orleans. The last time we counted, which was about three weeks ago, we’ve experienced 380 of them. We’re almost halfway there! The total is higher as I write this. We have to eat out all the time, not because we like it (though we do), but because we have to be able to talk about where our guests may want to go. Guess what? We don’t often eat in the French Quarter.
Get off the New Orleans tourist radar. People who aren’t from New Orleans think we eat crawfish étouffée and shrimp po’ boys every day while walking down the street with a trumpet in one hand. We do eat plenty of gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, and an occasional muffuletta, but we enjoy plenty of other things, too. Everything gets creolized in New Orleans. A lot of new restaurants are fusing southeast Louisiana cuisine with southeast Asian cuisine. The results are delicious. There are plenty of old-school New Orleans restaurants that are still serving up the classics as they have been for 50 years, 80 years, 102 years, and 177 years. Get out of the box of New Orleans tourist expectations and taste everything New Orleans has to offer your palette and your belly and your spirit. Quench your soul in New Orleans. Nobody leaves New Orleans hungry and you don’t need to visit the tourist traps to eat your fill of New Orleans culture or cuisine.
New Orleans culture is dense and richly woven. It’s in the very air. You can’t avoid it, no matter what street you’re on. It will caress your ears, it will dazzle your eyes and it will raise goosebumps on your skin everywhere you go. You don’t need to go to the French Quarter to get a taste of New Orleans culture. It’s everywhere. The people in New Orleans are the friendliest people on earth. They’re proud of their city. You’ll soon discover this at La Belle Esplanade. Ours is a low-key but fascinating part of New Orleans.
Where should you stay in New Orleans?
If you haven’t figured it out already by now, there is really only one place to stay in New Orleans. It’s La Belle Esplanade. We are a small five-suite boutique experience inn. We really are your personalized New Orleans lifestyle headquarters. Unfortunately, we only have five suites, each of which only sleeps two people sharing a bed. That means that on any given day we can only accommodate 10 people (5 couples) max. 10 million people visit New Orleans every year, on average. Only a microscopic percentage gets the chance to stay at La Belle Esplanade. First reserved: first served. There isn’t a lot of room at this inn. For those who seize the chance and make the reservation, there is no other place to stay. Good memories are made on our street.
As a boutique operation, we don’t use middlemen to offer our suites to just anyone. You won’t find La Belle Esplanade on Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc. You won’t be able to make a reservation with us through the same site where you booked your airfare. Why? It’s not because those sites might offer lower rates than we do. That’s a misconception that the big international online travel agent conglomerates like to sell to collect their commissions from unsuspecting travelers. If you want the best rate and the best service, book directly through our website, which happens to be the site you’re on now. The “Check Availability” button is located in the upper right of this screen. If we have a suite available, it will show up and your New Orleans adventures can begin. Get out of the New Orleans tourist box. Look over our website, read our blog’s archives, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you make a reservation. If you have any questions, we’re happy to answer them before you commit.
Good memories are made on our street.
Good meals, good conversations, and good times, these are some of the most important ingredients of what make up a good life. New Orleans is all about all three. La Belle Esplanade embodies all three. That’s our daily routine in a pecan shell. Our boutique experience inn is located a 15-minute picturesque stroll from the French Quarter, as the pelican flies, and a 15-minute stroll along our beautiful street to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art in the other direction. In between, there is plenty to discover.
If you want to be a tourist there are plenty of ways to do that in New Orleans. You can choose the options most people take and get caught in the tourist bubble, in the seductive tourist trap.
Shops in New Orleans sell more than novelty tee shirts and cheaply made souvenirs. Get outside the French Quarter and see for yourself. Jazz music is the soundtrack of any New Orleans day. We don’t live in the French Quarter or on Frenchman Street. We rarely go to listen to music in either locale. If we want to listen to jazz, we open our windows. There is an amazing and welcoming New Orleans waiting to be discovered, a New Orleans that’s ignored by the guidebooks, by the travel websites, by magazines, your friends who have been here before left without any idea of how grand our city is outside the confines of the New Orleans tourist box. Make your own New Orleans adventure on your own terms.
Visit New Orleans like you belong. You can do a lot worse than venture forth outside the tourist zones. You won’t be rooked in the parts of the city where New Orelanians live. Quite the reverse. You’ll discover why we love where we live. You’ll discover why we choose to call this amazing city home. No one regrets living in New Orleans. There are few other places like it on this whole wide spinning globe.
Planning for your stay.
My usual advice is to not make too many plans or too many reservations (except the reservation to stay with us). New Orleans will take care of you. Even when nothing is going on, something is going on in New Orleans. You’re not going to see everything that is happening, so my advice is to not even try. Enjoy where you find yourself. You will. New Orleans really is like no place else. Go anywhere in the world and tell people you’ve been to New Orleans. They’ll know where you’re talking about. A small city, New Orleans punches well above its weight class. If you are bored in New Orelans, it isn’t the city’s fault. The very air will invigorate your flagging spirt and it will spark daydreams. You’ll find yourself entertaining plans to move here. The more the merrier. New Orleans loves you.
The most interesting place to stay in New Orleans is La Belle Esplanade. As I mentioned above, we only have five suites. We have very, very limited availability. Staying with us is both a New Orleans adventure and a New Orleans treat. Plan ahead and book early. Book directly through this website. There’s no other way to make a reservation. We don’t enjoy saying no when people call to ask if we have any room available at our inn.
If you have any questions before you make a reservation, we’re happy to answer them. We want to make sure we’re the best fit for you and your expectations of what New Orleans can deliver. Maybe you do just want to get pass-out drunk while lifting your shirt on Bourbon Street. We’re not here to judge, but our boutique inn probably won’t be the best fit for you. Maybe you want to spend two nights in New Orleans and spend all your time in the National WWII Museum. It’s a great museum, but we may not be the best fit for you, either. Maybe you want to check out Tulane University or Loyola University before your children enroll. We’re not in that neighborhood, so we’re not be a good fit for that mission, either. If you’re interested in Dillard University, we are closer to that, though.
The people who stay with us tend to be people who are interested in discovering the real New Orleans. There’s a New Orleans that puts on a show for the tourists, and there’s another living, breathing, singing, dancing city that exists outside the predictable tourist bubble. Get outside the New Orleans tourist box and visit New Orleans like a New Orleanian. Dance like nobody is watching. Welcome to America’s most interesting city.
We look forward to meeting you and to sharing what we know about New Orleans. Curiosity is encouraged.
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…where every morning is a curated breakfast salon that covers all things New Orleans.
Good Friday, April 14, 2017: It’s a sunny day, a few clouds in the sky. At 6:30PM, the temperature is 80 degrees (F) and there is a soft lilting breeze through the hydrangea and live oak trees in our back garden. The fountain is burbling away. Our guests have all left for the evening to sample some of the restaurants and music venues in our neighborhood, outside the predictable tourist bubble. Come see for yourself what it means to love New Orleans.