Roseann Melisi Rostoker consummated a longtime love affair with New Orleans by making the city her home in August 2010. Three months later, she opened her restaurant, Red Gravy (125 Camp St., 504-561-8844; www.redgravycafe.com).
Located on a bustling stretch of Magazine Street, Belladonna Day Spa's (2900 Magazine St., 504-891-4393; www.belladonnadayspa.com) serene ambience sharply contrasts the busy pace outside. Oversized aquariums, neutral decor and a lush bamboo garden lend the space a sense of calm.
When customers enter Steve Herbert's restaurant, Cafe Gentilly (5325 Franklin Ave., 504-281-4220; www.thecafegentilly.com), he'll ask their names, and the next time they visit, he'll inquire about their "momma an' dem." "People come here because they know we'll treat them right," he says.
If passersby don't look carefully, they might miss Treasure Tattoo (2350 St. Claude Ave., 504-344-7989; www.facebook.com/treasuretattoonola), a vibrant little tattoo shop nestled on St. Claude Avenue. "We got lucky," owner Jamie Ruth says.
At Canal Furniture Liquidators (3534 Toulouse Street, 504-482-6851; www.canalfurnitureliquidators.com), customers can spend hours in the large warehouse store browsing everything from exercise machines to designer rugs. The majority of its furniture comes from area hotels.
At Breaux Mart (citywide; www.breauxmart.com), hundreds of locally sourced products, including craft beer, coffee, jams and jellies line the shelves. All five Breaux Mart stores offer grocery staples, meats and produce, and each location is specific to its neighborhood.
Hi-Brow Beauty Bar (126 Sierra Court, Metairie, 504-325-2222; www.hibrownola.com) is located in an unassuming house on a quiet street. Inside, the atmosphere is soothing, with music, scented candles and conversation.
Nestled inside a nearly 100-year-old cottage, Blue Frog Chocolates (5707 Magazine St., 504-269-5707; www.bluefrogchocolates.com) brims with sweet treats. Shiny packages of chocolates and candies cover the tables and a glass display case reveals an assortment of gourmet truffles.
Stocked with screen-
printed bamboo T-shirts, locally made soap and art depicting shotgun houses, it's clear that Bywater Clothing (4432 Magazine St., 504-502-6206; www.bywaterclothing.com) is an homage to New Orleans. What's less obvious is why the Magazine Street boutique is named for a downtown neighborhood.
Aloft New Orleans Downtown (225 Baronne St., 504-581-9225; www.aloftneworleansdowntown.com) curates a live music series featuring local bands including Renshaw Davies, Dana Abbott, Alexis and the Samurai and Andrew Duhon. "You never know who you'll find here," says New Orleans sales manager Maureen Greany.
Joey Hogh, general manager of Cadillac of New Orleans (3100 Lime St., Metairie, 504-885-3000; www.neworleanscadillac.com), says his dealership's brand is on a journey. Long a part of the American vernacular as shorthand for quality and class, Cadillac is coming into its own as a top-of-the-line contemporary automobile, he says.
Regular customers at Lakeview Brew (5606 Canal Blvd., 504-483-7001; www.lakeviewbrew.com) might be surprised to learn the cafe's owner doesn't drink much coffee. But Randie Porobil didn't open the coffee shop and restaurant in January 2008 because she had a passion for lattes.