Karen Dalton Beninato

Correspondent

  • New Orleans, LA, USA

Karen Dalton Beninato is a correspondent who lives in New Orleans and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide.com. A former newspaper features editor, she has written for publications including The New Republic, Times Picayune and The Lens and she blogs at The Huffington Post. She and her husband founded the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund after Hurricane Katrina to help musicians replace their instruments and return home. Karen enjoys food, music and the arts — so she lives in the right place.

  • On March 28, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    Where is the best architecture in New Orleans?

    1.    
    The best modern architecture in New Orleans can be found in the ever-expanding World War II Museum complex on a large scale, and at the Make It Right sustainable neighborhood in the 9th Ward launched by architecture buff Brad Pitt. MIR developments include a tethered home designed with the ability to float;  sidewalks porous enough to absorb floodwaters; and homes built above crypts to collect grey water; making it a living laboratory for new frontiers in architecture.

    For classicists, the historic French Quarter offers prime examples of Spanish, French and and Creole architecture, and the Garden District boasts antebellum homes up and down St. Charles Avenue including the storied Wedding Cake House at State Street that can be admired on foot or from the streetcar. Architecture tours may be scheduled in advance online, or booked at kiosks throughout the French Quarter.
  • On March 28, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in New Orleans?

    Ingredients are an excellent way to bring a taste of New Orleans home. Stock up on beignet mix to pair with your own stash of powdered sugar, mix and share with friends. Liquor including the bracing Old New Orleans Rum Gingeroo is a lively way to bring the party home. A vast array of hot sauce from the French Market is another popular way to come home with a kick.

    While you're in the French Market, browse through feathered masks from the relatively simple to ornate. They work for Mardi Gras, Halloween parties, costume balls or leading a mysterious life.

    Books a smart way to keep your New Orleans experience alive. A mix of new and used books can be found at the Maple Street Uptown, Marigny and Midcity branches; Faulkner House Books in Pirate's Alley; The Librairie Book Shop on Chartres Street; Crescent City Books, also on Chartres, and an antiquarian treasure trove is available at Beckham's Book Shop on Decatur Street. With the right book you can revisit New Orleans an infinate number of times.
  • On March 28, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in New Orleans?

    Ingredients are an excellent way to bring a taste of New Orleans home. Stock up on beignet mix to pair with your own stash of powdered sugar, mix and share with friends. Liquor including the bracing Old New Orleans Rum Gingeroo is a lively way to bring the party home. A vast array of hot sauce from the French Market is another popular way to come home with a kick.

    While you're in the French Market, browse through feathered masks from the relatively simple to ornate. They work for Mardi Gras, Halloween parties, costume balls or leading a mysterious life.

    Books a smart way to keep your New Orleans experience alive. A mix of new and used books can be found at the Maple Street Uptown, Marigny and Midcity branches; The Librairie Book Shop on Chartres Street; and an antiquarian treasure trove is available at Beckham's Book Shop on Decatur Street.
  • On March 26, 2013
  • On March 26, 2013
  • On March 19, 2013
  • On March 13, 2013
  • On March 12, 2013
  • On March 11, 2013
  • On March 5, 2013
  • On March 4, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    What is the one must-do activity in New Orleans?

    If you have one bucket list day in New Orleans the historic French Quarter is the sight to see and Jackson Square, complete with an Andrew Jackson statue, is at its heart. In one afternoon you can hear brass bands playing in front of the first cathedral in the United States, St. Louis Cathedral; have your fortune told if you're tired of guessing; and browse street art or shop in one of the surrounding galleries.

    Flanking the cathedral is the Cabildo, formerly New Orleans' city hall where the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the  Crescent City joined the union, more or less. Take advantage of one of the best French Quarter walking tours available with guides from Friends of the Cabildo. The Presbytere, a former courthouse, now houses the Louisiana State Museum holding a treasure trove of Mardi Gras memorabilia.

    Directly across from St. Louis Cathedral is the Moon Walk, named for former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu. The Moon Walk winds along the Mississippi River, the vista that has inspired countless dreamers from upstream, from Mark Twain to Tennessee Williams.
  • On March 2, 2013
  • On February 28, 2013
  • On February 28, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    What is New Orleans’ dining scene like?

    New Orleans' dining scene is on fire with creativity. Once a spot for chefs to hone their skills before moving on to New York, a reverse migration is underway with Big Apple chefs moving to New Orleans to learn in their mentors' kitchens. Newcomer Root is helmed by chef Phillip Lopez and his restaurant is hitting the top of many best-of lists already. With Cohiba smoked scallops with chorizo dust, it's plan to see Lopez is operating out of a whole new playbook.

    The dining scene is opulent, as exemplified by Restaurant R'evolution opened by local chef John Folse and Chicago's own Rick Tramonto. Even in a food town, diners have been wowed by the high end dining experience since opening night which was presided over by not only politicians but also by Catholic clergy a testament to both chefs' spiritual roots.

    Finally, the dining scene is playful. If a chef has ever had more fun coming up with his menus than Chef Chris DeBarr, I have yet to see it. His Serendipity, located in the American Can Company between a library and a coffee shop, offers an ever-expanded menu of only-in-New Orleans delicious outrageousness.
  • On February 28, 2013
    Karen Dalton Beninato answered the question: Karen Dalton Beninato

    What are the best bars in New Orleans?

    New Orleans is, by anyone's definition, a drinking town so top bar designation is stiff competition.

    Housed in a former firehouse uptown, Cure is the epicurean's bar of choice. Craft cocktails are taking New Orleans by storm and Cure was a frontrunner in that trend. Up for The Fourth Man? It's made of Rittenhouse Bonded Rye, Maurin Quina Aperitif, a whole egg, heavy cream and Angostura Bitters. Even in a drinking town, that's something to think about before you throw it back.

    In the Marigny, neighborhood the R Bar (stands for Royal Street) is ground zero for thousands of revelers parading by on Mardi Gras Day. Other days of the year it has the distinction of offering occasional haircuts to patrons as well as renting rooms upstairs in its Bar and Breakfast sideline. It's where Snoop Dog partied after the Super Bowl while making his late, late night rounds. The bar is a uniquely New Orleans vortex where anything can happen.

    Patrick's Bar Vin in the French Quarter has the warm feel of stumbling into a fine French wine bar. Just off the courtyard of Hotel Mazarin, its extensive list will satisfy even the most demanding palate. If you have the time and inclination to age your own wine. Patrick's offers a personalized climate controlled wine locker. The bar also offers mixed drinks, a favorite being (of course) the St. Germain Cocktail with sparkling wine.