AirTran flies from Baltimore-Washington International Marshall nonstop to New Orleans for about $287 round trip. Southwest flies from BWI nonstop starting at about $330 (or $260 including one stop). Delta's flights from BWI are significantly cheaper, starting at $150, but they include a layover.
WHERE TO STAY
International House Hotel, 221 Camp St., 504-553-9550, 800-633-5770, http://www.ihhotel.com. Chic but warm perch in the Warehouse District near the French Quarter. Rooms start at $109.
Hotel Villa Convento, 616 Ursulines Ave., 504-522-1793, http://www.villaconvento.com. Not fancy, but clean, well-situated and with a friendly staff. Bonus: Across the street are the best croissants in town at Croissant d'Or (if you get there early when they're fresh). Rooms start at $79 but sell out quickly.
Soniat House, 1133 Chartres St., 504-522-0570, 800-544-8808, http://www.soniathouse.com. Charming, gorgeous and genteel French Quarter hotel with an old-world appeal. The biscuits and homemade jam at breakfast are outstanding. Rooms start at $195.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Stanley, 547 Saint Ann St., 504-587-0093, http://www.stanleyrestaurant.com. Right on Jackson Square, this all-day breakfast and lunch spot by Scott Boswell of Stella! is a modern diner with fantastic egg dishes. Entrees $8.50-$19.
Cochon Butcher, 930 Tchoupitoulas, 504-588-PORK, http://www.cochonbutcher.com. Phenomenal sandwiches feature house-cured meats and house-made pickles from Cochon's Donald Link. Full bar. Sandwiches $7-$12.
Luke, 333 Saint Charles Ave., 504-378-2840, http://www.lukeneworleans.com. One of John Besh's many restaurants, this easygoing bistro makes a fine breakfast perch, especially with a selection of newspapers, jazz soundtrack, flaky biscuits and the world's best bacon, by Allan Benton. Breakfast entrees, $9-$22.
d.b.a., 618 Frenchman St., 504-942-3731, http://www.drinkgoodstuff.com. Fantastic live music and a wide array of spirits, including many single-batch bourbons and whiskeys.
Cure, 4905 Freret St., 504-302-2357, http://www.curenola.com. Inventive, balanced cocktails in a sleek atmosphere. $9-$11.
Sazerac Bar, The Roosevelt New Orleans, 123 Baronne St., 504-648-1200, http://www.therooseveltneworleans.com. Carefully made classic drinks, such as the namesake cocktail, the official drink of New Orleans. $10-$15.
Arnaud's French 75 Bar, 813 Bienville St., 504-523-5433, http://www.arnauds.com. Old-fashioned style and killer drinks, including a French 75 that replaces the gin with cognac. $8-$16.
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