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Planning first trip to New Orleans - advice?

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We are planning our first trip to New Orleans in late October, a few days away from it all for my DH and I. We love food, music, and sightseeing. We had thought to go to Paris or San Francisco but decided to go somewhere new.

We have reservations at Hotel Monteleone, so our focus now is on restaurants, shopping, music and not to be missed activities.

Dining: We have reservations at Emeril's Delmonico's (is Nola or Emeril's a better choice?), Restaurant August and R'Evolution (anyone try it, it looks new). Still hoping for Stella but they don't seem to be taking reservations yet. Any other suggestions or alternatives to the ones currently in our sights? We thought we would hit some of the other standards for other meals - such as, Brennan's (breakfast), Commander's Palace (lunch), Pat O'Brien's (drinks), Mr. B's (brunch). I would also like to go to Tea - Ritz Carlton or Windsor Court? Other than Hurricanes, Gumbo and Beignets, any other don't miss New Orleans food? Also, any suggestions for artisan chocolates?

Music: other than going to Preservation Hall, not sure where to start our exploration. I like jazz & blues and my DH likes rock&roll. I'll admit, I've researched the food more than the music so I could use some help. Any street or area better than another?

Activities: A friend recommended a swamp tour or plantation tour. Any recommendations and does it take too much time away from eating and wandering. We thought we would do at least one cemetery tour and maybe a city tour as I love the old mansions (like from the setting of an Anne Rice novel).

Shopping: Any suggestions for uniquely New Orleans or southern souvenirs, gifts or local art. We like to pick up a locally crafted piece of art (pottery, textile, wood carving, painting etc) that doesn't break the bank but is a lovely way to remember our travels.

Thank you so much in advance. Already so excited for our travels.

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