(Photos: Courtesy @mchltckr, @visitneworleans, and @frankrelle)
Trips to New Orleans don’t really lend themselves to plans. Seasoned visitors will tell you that you might have reservations to Emeril’s or Arnaud’s, but you’re just as likely to end up eating oysters at Cooter Brown’s or drinking your dinner at The Bulldog, a local gastropub.
The key to traveling to the Big Easy is in the name — it’s all about flexibility. Some of the city’s best moments come from following spur-of-the-moment suggestions and tips from locals.
Social media is a great way to get in touch with the possibilities. Check out the variety of accounts below to find key members of New Orleans’ lively Twitter community. They’ll keep you in touch with the latest or help build excitement when you’re headed to the country’s most idiosyncratic city.
- @BeingNOLA: Like the well-known @sweden account, @BeingNOLA is “owned” by a different New Orleanian every week. The users come from all walks of New Orleans life, including tech, hospitality, the arts and academia. Some will take it upon themselves to answer questions about New Orleans; others provide a daily diary of their New Orleans experience.
- @nolacampanella: This historian and author posts interesting facts and photos of New Orleans past and present. Links to his work explain lesser-known aspects of local history and show the changing geography of the city over time. This account is a must-follow for visitors interested in history, urban planning, architecture and cultural anthropology.
- @The_Gambit: Though you’ll probably pick up a Gambit as soon as you get into town, the city’s heftiest alt-weekly runs a Twitter feed that zeroes in on local happenings, with a little splash of politics for good measure. Especially, check it out around holidays and major festivals, as the magazine is quick to list music line-ups, time changes, parade route variations, after parties and more.
- @dougmaccash: He’s not always the most efficient tweeter, but local theater and art critic Doug MacCash provides reviews and listings of edgier projects and openings. He also re-posts commentary from other locals, giving you a good idea of what people are doing and saying in the city’s art scene. This is a great source if you’re looking for off-beat event suggestions or explorations of local curiosities.
- @NOLADefender: As with @The_Gambit, you’ll find news mingled with local event listings and aggregation. The account skews toward a younger, hipper audience, and points out ultra-local goings-on like chili cookouts and benefit fashion shows. The website associated with the Twitter account faithfully posts daily music listings and highlights.
Head to Instagram for more portraits of life in the city. Professional photographers like Michael Tucker (@mchltckr) and Frank Relle (@frankrelle) will inspire you with their images of the untamed Louisiana landscape. Other accounts, like the slickly-curated @visitneworleans Instagram, showcase the classic images of parades and wrought-iron balconies that have a place in postcards from New Orleans.
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