TRIP HIGHLIGHTS*

October 11 – 13, 2017

AFAR Experiences returns to the Crescent City for the second year in a row, featuring an endless array of New Orleans’ fascinating people and places.

The official event program will commence with a late afternoon reception on Wednesday October 11th at 5pm, and conclude with a farewell party on the night of Friday, October 13th.

Note: when making travel arrangements, plan to arrive in New Orleans early in the day on October 11th, and depart the morning of October 14th – although we’d recommend spending a couple of extra days to experience all that this fantastic city has to offer!

Breakout activity descriptions are at the bottom of the page. 

*Itinerary details subject to change.

 

Wednesday October 11

5pm
Depart Windsor Court hotel

5:30pm – 7:15pm
Welcome reception and private concert at Preservation Hall
A trip to the Big Easy isn’t complete without hearing the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band at this renowned institution, a cornerstone of New Orleans’s history.

7:45pm – 10:30pm
Dinner with Chef Nina Compton
In the elegant Garden District home of creatives Sara and Paul Costello, we’ll be treated to the delectable culinary specialties of acclaimed chef, Nina Compton of Compère Lapin, one of the city’s hottest restaurants. Listen to the music of the Tom McDermott trio while shopping at a pop-up design shop featuring some of Sara’s favorite local makers.

Thursday October 12

8:45am
Depart Windsor Court hotel

9am – 11am
Speaker session I: New Orleans Past and Present
Historical geographer Richard Campanella is back by popular demand to set the stage for the two days ahead with an opening keynote to help give context to the city, from its rich and complex history to present day prominence.  

Speaker session II: The Future of the Waterways
There are few people more knowledgeable, and passionate, about the coastal waterways of Louisiana than author, historian and policy maker, John Barry. Hear about the city’s flood protection systems, coastal land loss and environmental devastation caused by the oil companies, and the ongoing lawsuits against them, of which Barry was a chief architect.

11:30am – 1pm
Son of a Saint picnic lunch
Enjoy a casual picnic in beautiful City Park, and meet Sonny Lee III, the inspirational and compassionate force behind Son of a Saint, a mentorship program for fatherless boys. Several of the boys from the program will join us for lunch and games, giving you a chance to chat with them about life in NOLA and their hopes and dreams for the future

1pm – 3pm
Breakout activities – day one
In small groups, spend some one on one time with remarkable locals, exploring the hidden corners of their beloved city. Cycle through historic neighborhoods; go beyond the gates and into the gardens of some of the town’s grandest homes; see the city through a camera lens on a photo safari; and much more. Breakout activity details will be shared with registered attendees 10 days prior to event date.

3pm – 5:30pm
Free time

6pm – 10pm
An Evening of R+B with Jon Cleary
After cocktails and dinner on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, hit the dance floor and swing those hips to the funky R+B sounds of Grammy award winning musician Jon Cleary and his band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. 

Friday October 13

10:30am
Depart Windsor Court hotel

10:45am – 12:45pm
South of the South
You may never want to eat a beignet again once you learn the fascinating history of the calas – a Creole rice fritter with a storied past - from renowned culinary experts Poppy Tooker, Dr. Jessica Harris and Lolis Elie. 

1pm – 2:30pm
Breakout Activities – day two
In small groups, spend some one on one time with local characters, exploring the hidden corners of their beloved city. Cycle through storied neighborhoods; go beyond the gates and into the gardens of some of the town’s grandest homes; see the city through a camera lens on a photo safari; and much more. Breakout activity details will be shared with registered attendees 10 days prior to event date.

2:30pm – 4:45pm
Free time

5pm – 6:30pm
The Cocktails of Bourbon Street
Nowhere celebrates cocktail culture quite like New Orleans. At the legendary French Quarter establishment, Arnaud’s, we’ll reunite some of the city’s top experts on the subject, including Wayne Curtis, Rien Fertel, Brett Martin and Richard Campanella. Get ready for a fun-filled discussion about the charm and history of Bourbon Street’s notorious libations.

7pm – 11pm
Final Night house party with Chef Michael Gulotta

Local designer and maven of the city’s social scene, Alexa Pulitzer, opens her home for what promises to be a New Orleans night to remember. We’ll celebrate with the food of acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta, a performance by the energetic Roots of Music, and the music of legendary clarinetist Dr. Michael White and his amazing jazz band. Plus, a few other delightful surprises are in store…



Breakout Activity Descriptions: 

Thursday
The Landscape of Art I
New Orleans is visually rich, with exotic sub tropical gardens, one of the largest urban public sculpture collections in America, three centuries of architectural gems, and homes filled with eclectic art collections. Stops on this Art + Gardens tour with arts maven Jeanne Nathan include the worldly City Park sculpture garden; an historic and contemporary Louisiana collection in a Creole cottage; a South East Asian inspired home and garden; and a riverfront studio in a classic Louisiana bayou setting; and the Make it Right contemporary architecture village.

A Walk Down Bayou Road
Join geographer Richard Campanella for a 3.5 mile walk along the remnants of old Bayou Metairie, across scenic Bayou St. John, and down the ancient Bayou Road, an important Native American portage which led directly to the French decision to establish New Orleans at what is now the French Quarter. This stroll will traverse historic neighborhoods in the 6th and 7th wards, including the Faubourg Tremé and magnificent Esplanade Avenue, and through the entire French Quarter, with architecture dating back to French and Spanish colonial times. Rain or shine; study walking shoes required.

Grand Dames of French Quarter Dining
Join Rien Fertel for a backstage tour of New Orleans's most elegant and historic restaurants. You'll start at Brennan's, a newly remodeled and re-imagined capital of Creole dining. Next, head to Antoine's, the nation's oldest family run restaurant, celebrating its 177th birthday this year. You'll finish the tour at Tujague's, a French Market favorite since 1856, and the original home of brunch, where you can enjoy a cocktail at the iconic stand-up bar.

Bike the Streets I: Mid-City, Bywater and Marigny
Local writer and NOLA expert Wayne Curtis leads a bike ride to two of the city’s newest linear parks — the Lafitte Greenway and Crescent Park, along with detours through Louis Armstrong Park and the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods, with a traverse of the French Quarter back to the hotel. Guests should be comfortable with urban biking and navigating traffic.

Nikon Photo Expedition
Dive into the visual riches of New Orleans’ distinctive architecture, history and natural beauty. Photographer Pableaux Johnson will lead you through the lush Garden District, one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Explore the photographic possibilities of the neighborhood — from the stately Victorian mansions to century-old live oak trees and a visit to the distinctive above-ground crypts of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. See the city through the lens of a Nikon camera, Afar’s photo partner.

I'll Do My Own Thing!
Feel free to select this option if you do not want to participate in one of our activities. NOTE: If you select this option, you will not be assigned an activity and may not be able to join an activity on-site.


Friday
The Landscape of Art II 
Jeanne Nathan continues the Art + Gardens tour where you'll see even more NOLA gems, including: the monumental works of southern narrative artist Keith Duncan in a repurposed school building; the arts-rich homes and gardens in the lush Garden District and Carrollton; a private sculpture garden in St. Rose; and a final stop in the French Quarter at a prize winning sustainable green garden.

Walk Downtown NOLA, End to End 
This 1.5 mile walk, led by geographer Richard Campanella, will take participants from “old Dryades Street,” once home to the city’s Orthodox Jewish population, and across what were once some of the most diverse and interesting neighborhoods in New Orleans, including Louis Armstrong’s old neighborhood, Chinatown, the “back of town,” and present-day City Hall. We’ll proceed through the heart of the Central Business District and visit the former Cotton District, “the Wall Street of New Orleans,” Newspaper Row, and sites associated with the slave trade. Rain or shine; study walking shoes required.

Grand Dames of French Quarter Dining
Join Rien Fertel for a backstage tour of New Orleans's most elegant and historic restaurants. You'll start at Brennan's, a newly remodeled and re-imagined capital of Creole dining. Next, head to Antoine's, the nation's oldest family run restaurant, celebrating its 177th birthday this year. You'll finish the tour at Tujague's, a French Market favorite since 1856, and the original home of brunch, where you can enjoy a cocktail at the iconic stand-up bar.

Bike the Streets I: Uptown, Garden District, Irish Channel 
Wayne Curtis starts this ride with a lunch-burning, 20-minute ride uptown to Audubon Park. From here, we’ll take our time winding back downriver through the Garden District, the Irish Channel, and the Central Business District, touring some of the city’s leafiest, most iconic neighborhoods. Guests should be comfortable with urban biking.

Nikon Photo Expedition
Dive into the visual riches of New Orleans’ distinctive architecture, history and natural beauty. Photographer Pableaux Johnson will lead you through the lush Garden District, one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Explore the photographic possibilities of the neighborhood — from the stately Victorian mansions to century-old live oak trees and a visit to the distinctive above-ground crypts of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. See the city through the lens of a Nikon camera, Afar’s photo partner.

I'll Do My Own Thing!
Feel free to select this option if you do not want to participate in one of our activities. NOTE: If you select this option, you will not be assigned an activity and may not be able to join an activity on-site.


Featured Locals

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    Richard Campanella

    Richard Campanella has been lauded for his unparalleled knowledge of New Orleans. In fact, he’s the only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award. A geographer with the Tulane School of Architecture and author of over 150 articles and nine critically acclaimed books on the city, Richard is happy to share his insight across all media platforms and was voted New Orleans’ “Most Informative Twitter Account“ in 2014.

    Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano of Tulane University

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    Wayne Curtis

    Wayne Curtis is a contributing editor at The Atlantic magazine and a freelance journalist. He’s written about travel, architecture, and cocktail culture for various publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, AFAR, and Saveur, to name a few. He’s the author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails, and The Last Great Walk, about an elderly man’s New York to San Francisco walk in 1909, and why it matters today. He lives in New Orleans and Grand Lake Stream, Maine.

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    Lolis Eric Elie

    Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans native who chronicles the food, history, and culture of the city. A former columnist for The Times-Picayune, Lolis has written for the HBO series Treme and published two books, Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. The PBS documentary he co-produced with Dawn Logsdon, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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    Rien Fertel

    Rien Fertel is a Louisiana-born and -based writer, historian, and teacher, who grew up washing dishes and bussing tables in his family’s chain of restaurants. He’s the author of two books, Imagining the Creole City, a literary history of New Orleans, and The One True Barbecue, a travelogue/personal reflection on race, labor, and foodways in the Deep South (coming soon). Rien’s work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, and dozens of other print and online publications.

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    Michael Gulotta

    Named one of Food & Wine’s 2016 “Best New Chefs in America” Michael Gulotta is Chef/Co-owner of Maypop and MOPHO in New Orleans. The talented toque, former Chef de Cuisine of John Besh’s Restaurant August and former contestant on Iron Chef Gauntlet, is revered for his signature Southeast Asian-meets-Southern Louisiana cuisine. Gulotta remains deeply connected to his city and home, working with farmers, fishermen and foragers to create sustainable restaurants.

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    Jessica Harris

    Jessica Harris is a culinary historian and considered one of the preeminent scholars of the food of the African Diaspora. She lectures internationally and holds a PhD from NYU. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence, and The New Yorker, and she has been profiled in The New York Times. Dr. Harris has been inducted into the James Beard Who's Who in Food and Beverage in America, received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, and recently helped the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria. She is the author of 12 cookbooks on the food of the African Diaspora.

    Photo Credit John Pinderhughes

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    Brett Martin

    Brett Martin is a Correspondent and Chief Food Critic for GQ Magazine, a two-time James Beard Award winner and a six-time selectee of the annual Best Food Writing anthology. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, AFAR, the New York Times and The New Yorker, among others, and on public radio’s This American Life.

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    Alexa Pulitzer

    Alexa Pulitzer is highly sought out for her custom stationery and private label collections, inspired by native New Orleans culture. For over 20 years, her company has manufactured its products in the U.S. and has become one of New Orleans’ proudest exports. Always seeking to give back, Alexa currently serves as a goodwill ambassador to the city and offered her services, pro bono, to rebrand the Office of Recovery & Development. Most recently, she was asked to design a logo for the New Orleans 300th Anniversary celebration in 2018.

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    Mark C. Romig

    Mark C. Romig is the President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency, and the President and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation, the support arm for the city’s 2018 Tricentennial Commission. Always striving to give back to his hometown, Mark is also involved in numerous charitable endeavors, including the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and the Fore!Kids Foundation, to name a few. You may even recognize Mark’s voice—he’s currently the stadium announcer for the New Orleans Saints.

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    Matt Sakakeeny

    Matt Sakakeeny is well versed in music, race, and power in New Orleans and brings an anthropological perspective to sound studies. As Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University and board member and proud supporter of Roots of Music, Matt strives to extend his musical expertise to the city’s youth through education and mentorship. Matt is also a community activist, the author of numerous articles and the book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans, and the bandleader and guitarist of Los Po-Boy-Citos.

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    Poppy Tooker

    Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table. A celebrated culinary teacher (Food & Wine praised her “fascinating culinary wisdom”) and award-winning author (New Orleans Magazine named The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook “Cookbook of the Year”), Poppy somehow finds time to host a weekly NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! Poppy has also been instrumental in reviving endangered foods and food traditions in NOLA and is celebrated for her work reviving restaurants and food providers following Hurricane Katrina.

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    Nina Compton

    Compère Lapin Chef/Owner Nina Compton has more than 15 years’ experience manning the stoves of some of the finest restaurants in the country. Graduating in 2001 from The Culinary Institute of America, Nina began her professional journey at Daniel in New York City, working and continuing her culinary education alongside world renowned chef/ restaurateur Daniel Boulud and his team. During a star turn on BRAVO’s acclaimed cooking competition show, Top Chef, on which she was a finalist and fan favorite, Nina opened her first solo restaurant, Compère Lapin in 2015 and within a very short time, she was named Food and Wine's Best New Chef 2017 as well as a James Beard Finalist for Best Chef South. In addition to her huge success on her first restaurant, Nina is also currently the culinary ambassador for St. Lucia.  EndFragment
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    Jeanne Nathan

    Jeanne Nathan is Executive Director of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans, a non-profit organization representing artists, designers, and producers. Understanding the creative industries are important for economic growth, Jeanne established the Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Arts and Entertainment in New Orleans, and co- founded the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans with Robert Tannen, producing cultural events that have helped build the warehouse arts district.

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    Thomas Czekanski

    Thomas Czekanski is the Senior Curator and Restorations Manager of the National WWII Museum, the top-rated tourist destination in New Orleans, which tells the story of why the war was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Over the last 15 years, Tom has supervised the growth of the museum’s collections and is particularly fond of the armored vehicle collection, which he operates on a regular basis.

    Photo by Jeff Johnston

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    John M. Barry

    John M. Barry is a prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author. In 2005 the New York Public Library named his book Rising Tide one of the 50 best books in the preceding 50 years, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood protection, and from 2007 until October 2013 he served on the levee board responsible for protetcing most of metropolitan New Orleans, and on the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is responsible for the state's hurricane protection.
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    Sara Ruffin Costello

    Sara Ruffin Costello,  a veteran of the magazine publishing world (Domino, Glamour, WSJ) is a freelance journalist covering art, food, travel, and fashion for various publications. Costello has written three books: Domino Book of Decorating, Jeffrey Bilhuber American Master, and the newest release from Rizzoli, About Decorating: The Remarkable Rooms of Richard Keith Langham. Costello and her family live in the Garden District in New Orleans where her decorating and dress design headquarters are located.
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    Paul Costello

    Paul Costello, a lifestyle photographer known for imagery that captures the beauty of everyday moments, has a long list of commercial and editorial clients that includes Kate Spade,  Vanity Fair, New York Times and Architectural Digest to name a few! Paul has shot several books including The Big Book of Chic, Julia Reed’s South, and One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood. 
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    Stephen Stryjewski

    Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef South,” Stephen Stryjewski is Chef/Partner of New Orleans’ award winning restaurants Cochon, Cochon Butcher, and Pêche Seafood Grill. In 2014, Pêche Seafood Grill won the James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant” award, and Cochon was recently named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. In 2015, Stryjewski and his business partner Chef Donald Link created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans. 
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    Jeremy Cooker

    Jeremy Cooker leads a small, talented team of marketing, development, and design professionals at New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. (NOTMC), where they promote and position New Orleans as one of the top destinations in the world. His love for New Orleans culture, food, music, and people is unmatched and he’s thrilled y’all are here to enjoy it all for yourselves!
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    Mitch Landrieu

    Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010. When Landrieu was elected in 2010, the recovery from Hurricane Katrina had stalled, the city teetered on bankruptcy and New Orleans Police Department was under federal investigation.  Today, New Orleans has rebounded and is one America's great comeback stories. In 2015, Landrieu was named Public Official of the Year by Governing. Prior to becoming Mayor, Landrieu served for six years as Louisiana's Lieutenant Governor, leading the effort to rebuild the state's tourism industry after Hurricane Katrina.  He is currently the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Sponsors

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    New Orleans. Follow Your NOLA

    There’s no place in the world quite like New Orleans.

    You can feel it the moment you step foot in Jackson Square. Or take a stroll down a tree-lined street in the Garden District. Or taste your first bite of seafood gumbo.

    Named a top travel destination by The New York Times, there are endless things to discover in New Orleans.

    Whatever your passion, NOLA has it all—a thriving music and arts scene, a rich and storied history and things to see and do every day of the week. So whether you are new to the city or ready for another visit, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this one-of-a-kind, Southern city.

    Everyone's NOLA is different. Start exploring: here.

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    The Windsor Court Hotel

    Southern charm meets classic English-style décor at this premier New Orleans hideaway just steps from the historic French Quarter and booming Warehouse/Arts District.  With 80% suite accommodations, Windsor Court also features a rooftop pool, boutique spa, museum-quality art collection, an award-winning restaurant, and two cocktail lounges. Exclusive Club Level floors available with access to the Club Lounge featuring daily food presentations and private Concierge.

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    Nikon

    Nikon is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance. The unique strength of the Nikon brand is attributable to the company’s unwavering commitment to quality, performance, technology and innovation. Nikon Inc. markets and distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Nikon 1 and COOLPIX digital cameras, Speedlights and system accessories.