New Orleans' French Quarter travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights

THE ONE MUST-DO BREAKFAST

Have you really been to New Orleans – the quirky, thumping heart of Louisiana – if you haven't got the icing sugar to show for it? A trip to Cafe du Monde is a precarious one, with the threat of a powdered shirt imminent at any time. But it's a rite of passage, especially when paired with chicory cafe au lait, a drink that pays homage to the city's French origins. The French Market location has been providing the full experience since 1862; leave with a can of coffee to continue the magic at home. See shop.cafedumonde.com

THE ONE SEAFOOD STRIP

Louisiana has great access to readily available Gulf oysters. They're flatter and milder than their Australian equivalents, but they're easy to devour at ACME Oyster Bar. Talented shuckers speedily slice the meat from shells, with deft movements and seamless motion. Served on the halfshell, either raw or chargrilled with parmesan and butter, these oysters are dinner and a show. If the line is too long, try Felix's opposite, where the shucking is just as fast, or the upscale Bourbon Oyster Bar on the corner nearby. At the latter, look up: vintage oyster platters line the ceiling.

THE ONE MUSEUM EXPERIENCE

New Orleans history is rich with characters, scandal, glamour, style and sounds, and one of the best places to get a taste of it all is at the Historic New Orleans Collection, a group of three museums and research centres across three blocks. The 520 Royal Street location is home to a ripper collection of galleries, including, exhibitions, a gift shop celebrating local artisans and a cafe. See hnoc.org

THE ONE MARKET MUST-DO

xxNOLA One & Only French Quarter, New Orleans USA ; text by Riley Wilson
cr: Paul Broussard (handout image supplied via journalist, no syndication) 

Photo: Paul Broussard

Can you ever have enough bivalve molluscs? J's Seafood Dock in the French Market would suggest not. While you're in the 200-year-old historic shopping district, consider stocking up on local pralines, snacks, socks or soaps from various food, fashion, art and knick-knack vendors. But make time for a dozen at J's, where oysters are poured onto ice from huge bags, then shucked to order until they run out. They've also got a shrimp-(prawn)-and-jalapeno grits offering, if you're so inclined. See facebook.com

THE ONE COURTYARD DINNER

Tucked off Chartres Street, right near Jackson Square, Sylvain offers a pause from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. The gastro-pub eatery has a moodily candlelit front bar area (built within a 1700s carriage house) but it's the courtyard out the back that makes for a NOLA night done right. Plates of charred cabbage and burrata salad pair well with effortlessly cool cocktails, best enjoyed under the fairylights and leafy trees. See sylvainnola.com

THE ONE MUSIC HALL

By Zack Smith Photography xxNOLA One & Only French Quarter, New Orleans USA ; text by Riley Wilson
cr: New Orleans & Company (handout image supplied via journalist, no syndication) 

Photo: Zack Smith Photography

If you listen close enough, you can hear the beat of 61 years of music pulsing through the walls at Preservation Hall, a New Orleans music institution. The Preservation Hall Band, made up of members across the age spectrum, plays four times a night, and tickets – once sold at the door with cash – are now bought online in advance. There's no real set seating inside, so bunker down wherever you can grab a seat. Come back time and again; it'll never be the same experience twice. See preservationhall.com

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THE ONE BOOKSHOP

Between the racks of antique tomes and secondhand current releases, Crescent City Books is a haven for the travelling bibliophile. Upon entering the corner shopfront, guests are greeted to a stack of books on New Orleans history and food culture. From there, it's onwards to towering shelves of materials, chests of vintage maps and prints, and glass cabinets full of 500-year-old books. Pack light, so that you can go home with a few new reads. See crescentcitybooks.com

THE ONE ESSENTIAL HISTORY LESSON

Jazz is a quintessential part of New Orleans history, and this is on display at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, which sits within the Old US Mint. The museum, which is run by the State of Louisiana, features exhibitions covering the city's relationship with jazz, the power of drums (including equipment that belonged to Warren "Baby" Dodds and Paul Barbarin), portraiture from many of the music festivals hosted in the Crescent City, as well as a recording studio. Traditional jazz (as well as its modern interpretations) is rooted in New Orleans, and the regular concerts at the Jazz Museum ensure that the beat lives on. See nolajazzmuseum.org

THE ONE SOUVENIR SPOT

If you're in the French Quarter and seeking a souvenir, then one of Forever New Orleans' three locations will hit the mark. The gift shops are stocked to the brim with kitsch, fashion and trinkets, as well as art and products by local artisans. Good luck getting out with anything less than a commemorative T-shirt, Bloody Mary seasoning, or Cajun cookbook. See shopforeverneworleans.com

ONE MORE THING

Turkey and the Wolf is where the city's hip and happening are eating their lunch. It's also where you can find a killer tomato-and-mayo Creole sandwich, made with the fattest beefsteaks you ever did see, as well as ripper salads the size of a bucket. Run by Mason Hereford, the establishment revels in its quirk, with teeny bottles of hot sauce and animal figurines. Servings are huge. No complaints. See turkeyandthewolf.com

The writer travelled at her own expense.