Because New Orleans is all about rebirth, reserve a room now at The Saint Hotel, soon to open in the French Quarter's Audubon Building: originally built in 1909 as an office high-rise, abandoned in '97, gutted during a 2000 project that ceased after Katrina, and now finally fully resurrected by an airline pilot turned hospitality magnate who's pumped $45 mil into making it Canal Street's smoothest destination (but not its final destination, as...watch out for that boiling cauldron of gumbo!). The breakdown:
The Drinking: The jewel's the wood-decked Halo Rooftop, offering a panoramic downtown view, lantern-lit, house DJ'd nights, a still-being-finalized cocktail program, and bites like Roquefort strawberries and lobster corn dogs. Taking its name and style from the hotel's cross street, the downstairs Burgundy Bar will host nightly jazz amidst ornate chandeliers and walls lined with burgundy velvet so plush, you could birth a panda on it.
The Dining: A "sleek, sexy, and altogether unique setting", Sweet Olive is set in an all-white room where scraped wood floors are offset by French lithographs, obviously not of Gérard Depardieu, as he hasn't been lithe since 1971's La vie sentimentale de Georges Le Tueur. The restaurant's headed up by Michael Stoltzfus -- chef and co-owner of the Garden District's vaunted Coquette -- who'll devise modern takes on Cajun and southern fare.
The Occasional Sleeping: Piano-lacquered white furniture sharply contrasts indigo blue ceilings, to which custom mirrored headboards extend. Meanwhile, the bathroom is graced with a marble bath and shower, an elegant purifier for after you've had a Hand Grenade blow up in your face...unless you never make it back, and your final destination is a Tropical Isle.