Avoid the tourist traps with these seven recommendations for where to stay, shop, eat, and play in New Orleans.
Carousel Bar & Lounge
This watering hole at the historic Hotel Monteleone more than lives up to its name: The 25-seat circular bar revolves under a circus-like gazebo, making a complete cycle every 15 minutes. But its festive look belies serious literary cred. Heavy-weights such as William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Truman Capote all regularly went along for the ride. 214 Royal St., hotelmonteleone.com, sazerac $9.
Royal Blend Coffee & Tea House
In New Orleans, coffee often plays second fiddle to sugary beignets. Caffeine addicts should head to this java den deep in the Quarter, where exotic, single-origin roasts share the menu with the city's signature chicory coffee. 621 Royal St., royalblendcoffee.com, chicory coffee $3.50 per pound.
This isn't your frat brother's T-shirt shop. NOLA native Lauren Thom sells design-forward gifts like voodoo doll pins, red-beans-and-rice cufflinks, and sweet-tea-scented soap. 632 St. Peter St., fleurtygirl.net, sweet tea soap $6.
Librairie Book Shop
So, books are going digital? This hole-in-the-wall never got the memo. Sift through rare, used, and hard-to-find tomes on topics such as the history of The City That Care Forgot (that's New Orleans, for the uninitiated) or the poems of Arthur Rimbaud. 823 Chartres St., 504/525-4837, used books from $2.
Once the home of a Confederate hospital, this hotel is said to be haunted by ghostly infantrymen. They probably still recognize the spot, thanks to its ante- bellum trappings, such as antiques-filled rooms and an ivy-lined cobble- stone courtyard. 1024 Chartres St., hotelprovincial.com, from $119.
Don't mistake the people in line for tourists. This is where locals indulge their Cajun cravings for red beans and rice, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and seafood gumbo. And don't skip the fried chicken. It puts the city's homegrown Popeyes chain to shame. 1109 Decatur St., coopsplace.net, cup of jambalaya $5.
The Spotted Cat Music Club
This smoky dive in the Faubourg Marigny district is the city's premier jazz club-funky, eclectic, and refined. And that's just the clientele. The music ranges stylistically from cool jazz to zydeco-and lasts long into the night. 623 Frenchman St., spottedcatmusicclub.com, live music free.