La Nouvelle Louisiane

Louisiana is not only a sportsman’s paradise, but also a mecca for those who love the nightlife, food and hospitality our great state has to offer. Here at Louisiana Life, we’ve curated our annual list of the best of what’s new around the state from restaurants and chefs to hotels, outdoor activities and more.


Best New Restaurant

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Chef Eric Cook (the talented chef and owner also behind the popular New Orleans restaurant, Gris-Gris) opened his second restaurant, Saint John, in the French Quarter last fall. As to be expected from Cook, the menu features dishes influenced by the melting pot of cultures found in the Crescent City — a style that Cook calls “haute Creole cuisine.” 1117 Decatur St., New Orleans,

Runners Up
Supper Club
Early this year, Baton Rouge welcomed a modern dining parlor, dubbed Supper Club, to Perkins Road. Expect posh decor and a decadent menu of dishes prepared with premium ingredients. Caviar and Alaskan king crab, anyone? Count us in! 10480 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge,

Delta Biscuit Company
Monroe’s newest brunch spot, Delta Biscuit Company, offers lunch and all-day breakfast Tuesday through Sunday. In addition to the shareable Mess of Biscuits (served with whipped cane butter), other biscuit dishes include the sowbelly sliders and the biscuits and gravy. 2252 Tower Drive, Ste. 101, Monroe,


Best National TV Coverage

“How Did They Build That?”
The second season of the United Kingdom series, “How Did They Build That?” (hosted by actor Jay Ellis and aired on the Smithsonian Channel), continues to cover architectural wonders from around the globe, but this season focuses on American structures. The July 31 episode featured Trey Trahan and partner Brad McWhirter of New Orleans-based Trahan Architects discussing one of the firm’s award-winning projects, the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame. This international coverage brings into focus Trahan’s vision to incorporate Louisiana design elements into the architectural plans.


Best New Chef

Nouvelle Tava

After working as a pop-up and food hall vendor, Chef Manish Patel opened his first restaurant, Tava Indian Street Food, in late March. The menu features dishes like street corn and a variety of dosas (fermented rice and lentil crepes), while the cocktails also feature an Indian twist (try the Masala Old Fashioned). 611 O’Keefe Ave., Unit 8, New Orleans,


Best New Brewery

Nouvelle Utilitybrewing


Utility Brewing Company in downtown Ruston offers a continually rotating menu of craft brews, paired with wood-fired pizza — all made from scratch. Wine and cocktails also are available. Tip: Be sure to grab a 32-ounce crowler of suds to go. 206 N. Vienna St., Ruston,

Runners Up
The Seventh Tap Brewing Project
This new brewery and tasting room in Shreveport features a vast menu of craft beers, with everything from lagers and saisons to goses and stouts represented. 2640 Linwood Ave., Shreveport,

Miel Brewery & Taproom
Offering craft beer, hard seltzer, nitro coffee, slushees and non-alcoholic drinks, Miel Brewery & Taproom has taken New Orleans by storm. Be sure to check out the bevy of taproom events taking place throughout the year. 405 6th St., New Orleans,


Best Comeback

Lake Charles
Louisiana secured nearly $1.7 billion in federal disaster funding for storm recovery, including $450 million for Lake Charles’ ongoing recovery from hurricanes Laura and Delta in 2020. While recovery is still underway, Lake Charles has made major strides in rebuilding the community.


Best Renewal


L’Auberge Casino Resort
The L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles has undergone several property updates, including the addition of Drago’s among the many dining options. There’s also the Barstool Sportsbook (a new sports lounge that coincides with the legalization of sports betting in Louisiana) with a menu from Chef Lyle Broussard. Expect a great selection of salads, wings, burgers, flatbread pizzas and more. 777 Ave. L’Auberge, Lake Charles,

Runners Up
St. Stephen Basilica
This historic Napoleon Avenue Catholic church in New Orleans has undergone a restoration and was named a minor basilica (distinguished for ceremonial purposes from other churches) this past summer — making it the third basilica in Louisiana. 1025 Napoleon Ave., New Orleans,

Highland Park Wetland Trails
West Monroe has created the new Highland Park Wetland Trails for walking and biking around the former Trenton Street Golf Course. The trails opened in February, spanning 1.25 miles, and the project is part of a plan to link trails from Kiroli Park to downtown. 316 Otis St., West Monroe


Best New Attractions

Nouvelle Zipnola


ZipNOLA in Laplace features five zip lines, two sky bridges, a 2,000 square-foot elevated spectator deck and a spiral tree staircase built around the trunk of an old-growth bald cypress tree. The course covers a half mile through the Maurepas Swamp, allowing a bird’s eye view of alligators, turtles, snakes, waterfowl, wild boar and more. 301 Peavine Road, Laplace,

Runners Up
Thirsty Farmer
Husband and wife Michael and Savannah Ray started this new winery and vineyard in Calhoun this past summer. The family-owned winery crafts a nice selection of fruit-forward wines, bold reds and hard ciders. 531 LA-144, Calhoun,

Vue New Orleans
Located on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, this expansive observation deck and cultural exhibit offers panoramic views of the Mississippi River and beyond. Guests can also expect an extensive alcohol selection and excellent guest service. 2 Canal St., New Orleans,

Viking Mississippi
Viking River Cruises has unveiled the Viking Mississippi, a custom-crafted vessel designed for voyages on the lower and upper Mississippi River. Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the ship sails a number of different itineraries between New Orleans and St. Paul, Minnesota.


Best New Hotel

Nouvelle Virgin


Guests can expect nothing but style and panache from the Virgin brand, and the same is true for the new Virgin Hotels New Orleans. This posh hotel features The Pool Club (a rooftop pool and bar), Commons Club (a restaurant and bar with a menu from beloved Chef Alex Harrell), the Funny Library coffee shop and swanky design throughout. 550 Baronne St., New Orleans,

Runner Up
Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans
As the only luxury hotel in New Orleans, the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans has been a welcome addition to the Crescent City. It features the swanky Chandelier Bar, a resort-style pool, two signature restaurants from top-rated chefs (Miss River from Chef Alon Shaya and Chemin À la Mer from Chef Donald Link) and a luxe spa. 2 Canal St., New Orleans,


Best New Outdoor Space

Nouvelle Moncuspark

Lafayette’s new Moncus Park is a 100-acre green space featuring an amphitheater, a dog park, a weekly farmers’ market and ongoing public events (such as outdoor fitness and sign language classes). 2901 Johnston St., Lafayette,


Mountain Bike Trails at Kiroli Park
The new mountain bike trails at Kiroli Park in West Monroe span three miles through dense trees. Be on the lookout for more trails to be added in the future. In the meantime, guests also can enjoy the park’s playgrounds, conservatory, dog park, tennis courts and more. 820 Kiroli Road, West Monroe,


Newly Notable People

Nouvelle Jonbatiste

Musician Jon Batiste, who grew up in Kenner, recently won five Grammy Awards — including Album of the Year for “We Are,” Best Music Video for “Freedom,” Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for “Soul” (shared with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), and Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance for “Cry.” Batiste had 11 nominations, the most for any artist during the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.


Runners Up
Dennis Allen
Last February, the New Orleans Saints named Dennis Allen as the 17th head coach for the franchise. Allen, who spent the previous seven seasons as defensive coordinator for the Saints, also previously served as head coach for the Oakland Raiders from 2012-2014. Here’s hoping for another Super Bowl win!

Derek Stingley Jr.
Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who attended The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, was a first round draft pick (selected No. 3 overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He played college football at LSU, and he joins defensive end Tyson Jackson (2009) as the highest picked defenders in LSU history.


Best New Event

Red, White & Blue Airshow
Monroe’s Red, White & Blue Airshow — the largest airshow to be held in the area in 30 years — offers an opportunity to salute America’s heroes. The inaugural event was held in June and included the Air Force Demo Team F16 Viper, The Golden Knights, the Aeroshell Team, the Jelly Belly Team, Kevin Coleman, Charlotte’s Chariot and more. The Red, White & Blue Airshow will continue to be held annually.


Best New Bar

Nouvelle Panoramamusichouse


The Panorama Music House
After Hurricane Laura damaged the roof at The Panorama Music House in downtown Lake Charles, the owners decided to take things up a notch by creating a rooftop bar. Since reopening, it’s been a hopping spot for live music, beer and brunch. Be sure to check out the new music store on the first floor, dubbed Panorama Music Exchange, which features vintage vinyl, posters, instruments and more. 331 Broad St., Lake Charles,

Runners Up
Hideaway on Lee
Hideaway on Lee is a bar, restaurant and music venue located within a converted home in Lafayette. The interior is reminiscent of old hotel bars, and the cocktails change with the seasons. However, some classics are always on the menu (such as the Manhattan and Negroni). The food menu leans heavily on burgers — serving classic burgers, regional burgers and a few unique creations — and we suggest trying the California Love (a smash burger with American cheese, secret sauce and pickles). 407 Lee Ave., Lafayette,

The Main Lobby
This Black-owned bar in downtown Baton Rouge features a cozy lounge with brightly colored velvet seating and eclectic art, a rooftop bar with views of the state capitol and top-notch cocktails and bar bites. 668 Main St., Baton Rouge,