This year, Valentine’s Day falls just two days after Mardi Gras Day and one day after Ash Wednesday, which means you have just enough time to party yourself out, atone for your sins, and be ready for some sweetness by next Thursday! I have to say, I truly believe New Orleans is the most romantic city in the U.S. – I especially like to walk in the French Quarter during a misty rain and pretend I’m in Europe. To quote Boris Vian:
There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or Duke Ellington. Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly.
If you can bring the love, I can show you where to find the music, baby: here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day dates, on my (arbitrary and quite subjective) scale of ♥ – ♥ ♥ ♥!
The traditional gifts are tried and true for a reason: pick out an original design from local jeweler Mignon Faget, order some flowers from Harkins, the Florist or Carrollton Flower Market, or satisfy your partner’s sweet tooth with something from Blue Frog Chocolates or Sucre. Pack up some wine and a light dinner in a picnic basket and enjoy the sunset looking out over Lake Pontchartrain, just off of Lakeshore Drive near the levee. Finish the evening sipping lattes from the Grindhouse Café while you watch Les Miserables at Prytania Theatre, the only single-screen movie theater in Louisiana.
Relax together with a “Duet Massage” from Woodhouse Day Spa in Mid-City or splurge on the “Marie Laveau Voodoo Bath” at The Ritz-Carlton downtown. Then catch the Creole Queen Valentine’s Day Cruise for a two hour experience on the water with food, drinks, and music. If you’d rather stay on land, check here for the local restaurants offering special menus for Valentine’s Day – I’d suggest Café Amelie, Sazerac, or Iris, but there are a lot of great options.
♥ ♥ ♥
Book a two day Valentine’s Day Retreat at the Hotel Monteleone, where you’ll be greeted with Champagne upon your arrival. For dinner, take your lover to the New Orleans Cooking Experience, where you’ll attend a special Valentine’s cooking class with native New Orleanian Chiqui Collier – the menu features crabmeat ravigote, oyster bisque, and Gulf fish Giovanna. Yum! After you’ve stuffed your bellies, head to the Old U.S. mint for Shakespeare in Love: A Hometown Valentine’s Day Concert featuring the music of Duke Ellington, played by locals like Irvin Mayfield and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown alongside the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.
Happy Valentine’s Day! P.S. – If you’re single like me, there’s no need to fret – many of these activities are just as fun done solo or with a group of friends!