An artisanal hotelier runs a craft hotel.

The Best of La Belle’s Blog

La Belle Esplanade has been open for business for seven years.  7.  Lucky 7.  We rolled the dice and here we are.  Rated the #1 place to stay in New Orleans since April 2014.  Let the good times roll.  Laissez les bon temps roulez.  Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind.  This blog has been called “The Best Written Blog in New Orleans” for very good reasons.  It is.  Just ask the Black Cat Magic Club.

Our website has gone through many incarnations over the years.  Here is the latest, the mostest, and greatest.  Times change.  New Orleans endures.  La Belle Esplanade is here for the duration.  Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind.  You either get New Orleans or New Orleans gets you.  Like a Sinatra song, New Orleans will stick with you.  Good memories are made in New Orleans.  The best memories in New Orleans are made on Esplanade Avenue.  I know.  I see it happen every day.  We live in a magical neighborhood in a magical city.  Get off the usual tourist radar and explore New Orleans like you live here.  Experience New Orleans like you belong here.  You do belong here.  How do I know?  Because you’re on the right website.  Make a reservation today.

La Belle Esplanade. Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind!

No one ever says their visit to New Orleans is too long, at least no one who stays at La Belle Esplanade says that.  The longer you stay the more you realize how much more there is to discover.  If you are bored in New Orleans, you have a hole in your imagination.  Something is always going on here, even if nothing is ‘officially’ going on.  New Orleans is a city in which dreams are hatched and those dreams have long lives.  Catch a wish.  New Orleans is calling you.  Esplanade Avenue is calling you.

Here is a rundown of the best blog posts over the past couple of years.  I’ve grouped them by category for your convenience.  There are plenty more blog posts, all of them written by the proprietor of this humble artisanal hotel.  You know how a craft brewery has the best beer?  How the neighborhood bakery has the best bread?  How the farm-to-table restaurant has serves the best locally-sourced meals—the meals you’ll remember, in good ways, the rest of your life?  La Belle Esplanade is like this.  La Belle Esplanade takes hospitality to a personal curated level to help you make good New Orleans memories that will make you want to come back to this wonderful city we call home.

An artisanal hotelier runs a craft hotel.
Never a moment to spare—even when it’s happy hour you’re humble narrator is hard at work bringing you the best of The New Orleans State of Mind!

If you take the time to read all our blog archives (and you can waste a lot of time there!) you’ll find that I rarely write about the inn, the rooms, breakfast, whatnot, the nuts-and-bolts of the business.  We’ve won the Travelers’ Choice Award two years in a row, and been ranked the #1 place to stay in New Orleans since April 2014.  If you want to know about what it’s like to stay at La Belle Esplanade, you don’t have to take my word for it.  There are over 600 reviews on TripAdvisor.  A tip of my fedora to the many people who have chosen to make La Belle their headquarters over the years.  I salute your excellent taste!


I rarely write about restaurants, either, unless something really catches my fancy.  There are over 1300 restaurants in New Orleans.  Frau Schmitt (who is the better half of this operation) and I have eaten at over 600 of them.  It is almost impossible to have a bad meal there.  That said, here are a few restaurants I’ve reviewed over the years:

-One of my favorite places on Esplanade Avenue:  Café Degas.  Its a nice place to have a leisurely New Orleans lunch, the best kind.

-If you are looking for the best Oysters Bienville in the city, I know where to send you.  I don’t go Uptown as often as I used to but when I do, I like to eat at Pascal’s Manale.  We sent three couples there in the past two weeks and they all raved about the food and the experience.  The restaurant has been open for over 100 years for good reasons.

-Viet Creole cuisine is a thing.  The best restaurant on Canal Street is Café Minh.  If you go, tell them Mr. King sent you.

-My favorite restaurant in the whole city is Antoine’s.  It’s the oldest family owned restaurant in the United States.  On the day Mary Tyler Moore died, I wrote the story of Frau Schmitt’s and my visit to Antoine’s.  Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation.  She probably would tell this story better than I did.

-You probably don’t come to New Orleans for Italian food, but if you do, we know where to send you.  It’s very close to La Belle, naturally.

-You probably don’t come to New Orleans for steak, either, but if you want to go to an old-school New Orleans steak house, I know just the place.

Advanced Placement in New Orleans
The 2nd most beautiful street in New Orleans, LA


It’s not all restaurants in our part of New Orleans, Esplanade Ridge.  Though there are 70 restaurants within a mile radius of our address, there are all sorts of other shops and good neighbors surrounding us.  I rarely venture more than a mile or so from our address unless I really, really have something to do further afield.  I even more rarely leave the city, itself.  New Orleans provides all my needs and our immediate vicinity, just as much.  We love where we live and we love sharing it with the people who choose to make La Belle their New Orleans home base.

-New Orleans is full of details.  No one minds walking here because the land is flat and the cityscape is full of interesting things to see.

-There is New Orleans DNA scattered all over the world.  It’s a small city but we can go anywhere in the world and say we’re from New Orleans.  New Orleans punches above its weight class.  It is gorgeous here and New Orleans does what it can to make the rest of the world gorgeous, too.

-It’s not all hustle and bustle in New Orleans.  In fact, there is rarely any hustle unless we’re talking about the dance.  Sometimes, I like to go to the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park at the end of our street to just take the time to smell the flowers.

-The New Orleans Museum of Art is right up the street from our address.  The museum is very nice but some times of year it’s even nicer.  One weekend the galleries are taken over by flower arrangers.  We live in a city that blooms with exuberance and you never know what you’ll find when you turn a corner.


Something that I perennially write about is The New Orleans State of Mind.  Why?  Because I live in it.  You should get into it, too, at least for a few days.  Visit New Orleans like you live here.  Be a New Orleanian, wherever you are.  Ours is a city densely woven and richly textured.  There is a certain pace and flavor to a New Orleans day.  I try to share that from time to time on our blog.  I also do it on Facebook, too, should you be inclined to follow us there.

-Why is New Orleans important?  When was the last time a parade of Mexican wrestlers went past your house?  Welcome to our world.

-Some people visit and they don’t know what to expect.  New Orleans isn’t Disneyland.  There are similarities —Walt Disney was inspired by New Orleans— but there are many differences, too.  Ours is a real city where people live out their lives.

-All tour guides have to be licensed by the city.  They study and take tests for the chance to share New Orleans with you.  If you want to take a bicycle tour, the best company is on North Rampart Street.  Bicycle tours stop in front of La Belle several times a day.  Flambeaux is the best.

Everyone has a bucket list of things to do before they die.  Put New Orleans on that list.

-When you get here, just enjoy wherever you happen to find yourself.  Don’t make too many plans.  The city is like a kaleidoscope.  Don’t fear that you’re missing out on something.


Many people call me the most interesting man in New Orleans.  Don’t ask me why.  I live with me and I don’t find my life that interesting.  I’m just a flaneur, a dandy, a man-about-town, a raconteur extraordinaire, an amateur historian, a philosopher.  I get around the city on a motor scooter and I have the soul of a poet.  None of that makes me particularly interesting.  People like me are a dime a dozen.  Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, lives with me.  She’ll tell you the same: there’s nothin to see here, folks.

Then why have I dedicated so much space in our blog’s archives to the subject of your humble narrator?  Give the people what they want.

-I happen to know the most interesting man in New Orleans.  He and I are one and the same.

-Should you want to meet the most interesting man in New Orleans, I can arrange an introduction.

-When you look good, you feel good.  Trust me on this.  The most interesting man in New Orleans also happens to be the best-dressed.

-Staying at La Belle Esplanade is unlike staying at any other hotel.  It’s better.  Ask your doctor about it.

The Best Written Blog in New Orleans.
A member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and recipient of the Travelers’ Choice Award.


There is a physical New Orleans and then there is a New Orleans of the heart.  Keep your eyes open in this wonderful city we call home and you’ll learn what it means to fall in love with New Orleans.  We’re here for you.  You have two friends on Esplanade Avenue.    Follow our blog, follow us on Facebook, subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.  Keep yourself in a New Orleans state of mind.  There is regular happy, and then there is New Orleans happy.  When you’re ready to visit, you know where to find us: we’re in the bright orange house with blue shutters.  Good memories are made on our street.

We only have five suites.  Ours is a small artisanal operation.  You know how you get the best beer from a craft brewery.  Well, you get the best hospitality from a craft hotel.  We know what we’re doing.  Let us share the real New Orleans with you, not the off-the-rack version.  Plug your dates into our calendar and see what we have available.  Plan ahead.  With only five suites we tend to fill up early.

Stay as long as you can.  No one ever says their visit to New Orleans is too long.  They always say it is too short.  The longer you are here, the more you’ll realize how much more there is to discover and explore.  There are good surprises around every corner.  New Orleans blooms with happiness.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us, that’s what we’re here for.  We look forward to meeting you in person.

À votre santè!

La Belle Esplanade

Tuesday, May 22, 2019: The tone of the blog will be changing in the near future.  You’ll see.  When you notice, tell me what you think.  If you want even more blog archives to trawl through, don’t worry, there is more where that came from.  Not only are old adventures and musings stored here, new adventures and musings will be following soon.  You can never have too much New Orleans in your life.  Cheers!