Out Of Office: Tips For Work Trips In New Orleans

A cellist for the Louisiana Philharmonic proves work and play can exist in perfect harmony, showing us what it means to feel the beat of the Big Easy during your business trip

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is the only full-time professional orchestra in the Gulf South. Catch it at the Orpheum Theater. Credit: Zack Smith


New Orleans is a city that marches to the beat of its own snare drum. It’s a hotbed of one-of-a-kind food, music and art and has been for hundreds of years—so there’s a lot to experience. How do you maximize your free time in the Big Easy while you’re here on business? Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra cellist Daniel Lelchuk—a professional musician who lives and breathes New Orleans art and culture—sat down with us to talk about how he navigates his city. Follow his tips for work and play so that you can, as the locals say, Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

At Carrollton Market you’ll find sophisticated, yet simple southern fare.

You have three meals—and only three—to get a taste of New Orleans. Where do you go for breakfast, a quick lunch and dinner?

Breakfast: I would go to Elizabeth’s in the Bywater. It’s over the top and rich, so I always try to walk there and walk back. Lunch: I go all the way across town to Carrollton Market. It’s a real locals’ place—some of the best food and drinks you can find. Dinner: I would go to Antoine’s, one of the oldest restaurants in the country. It’s a real experience. Ask for Charles Carter to be your waiter. He’s a legend, and rightfully so!

“The pizzas are almost as good as the best in Rome! I lived there for years, so I know!”

- Daniel Lelchuk

Where’s the best place to re-energize your mind during your lunch break?

I love sitting at a quiet cafe on the sidewalk during my lunch break people-watching. One of my favorites is Merchant. Not food related? Walking through the quieter parts of the French Quarter can be very relaxing. There’s hustle and bustle in the quarter, but other areas are peaceful, leafy and residential.

You have a free evening and an expense account! Where do you and your team or client go for fun—whether you’re in the mood for sports, music, film or something completely unique to New Orleans?

Well, of course, who with an expense account wouldn’t want to get great box seats at the symphony! The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is in residence at the Orpheum Theater. It’s a great place to spend an evening. After that, I would go to Domenica for some charcuterie and pizzas. The pizzas are almost as good as the best in Rome! I lived there for years, so I know!

You want to impress a new client, boss or colleague. Where do you meet him or her?

I love Cure. It’s uptown in a really cool neighborhood with a local but trendy feel. Superb cocktails, beautiful courtyard and a distinctive feel make it one of my all-time favorite bars. Equally good at all the classics and a huge line of original drinks.

Business is going great. Where do you and your colleagues meet for happy hour to celebrate, and what do you order?

It’s really fun to go to The Avenue Pub and sit on the balcony. Great food there as well. How can you go wrong with a mushroom bechamel toast and a fresh local IPA? Another of my favorite places is Andrea’s Restaurant. It’s a little ways away but easy to get to. [Chef Andrea Apuzzo] is from the island of Capri and makes wonderful fresh pastas as well as great seafood. I have a tradition of going there with my great friend Chris Pell, principal clarinet of the Louisiana Philharmonic. We get plate upon plate of pasta with different sauces and wash it down with some grappa.

You have a free hour or two and a camera. Where do you go to capture the best side of New Orleans?

I love bringing a camera to Crescent Park along the river. I also love going with a good camera through some of the old neighborhoods. There’s so much variety and color to take in.

You only have one hour to experience New Orleans. What do you do?

Spend half an hour having some authentic local food at Mandina’s or Liuzza’s. Then get on the streetcar and walk around the New Orleans Museum of Art and City Park.

The New Orleans Museum of Art is home to nearly 40,000 art objects. Credit: Richard Sexton

You’re only working a half day today. How do you spend the rest of it?

Of course practicing cello in my downtown flat is a big part of every day! But that aside, I love going to the New Orleans Athletic Club, one of the oldest [athletic] clubs in the nation. Bike riding along the lake is very fun as well. And then, as a reward, I stop in for a cold one (or two!) at the Bayou Beer Garden on my way home.

Get a fresh look from head to toe at Rubensteins, which offers tailored suits and clean shaves from an in-house barber. Credit: Rubensteins

You’ve been wearing the same cardigan once a week every week, and you know it. Where do you go to revive and reboot your business casual wardrobe?

Rubensteins! It’s been there since 1924, so they must be doing something right. Family-owned. They have everything from cardigans to white tie and tails!

What’s the one attraction in New Orleans you take all of your out-of-town visitors to see?

Many people don’t know about the moving Holocaust Memorial that is on the riverfront downtown. It’s by a very famous Israeli artist, Yaacov Agam. About 50 yards away from it is the striking Monument to the Immigrant. All my guests I bring are impressed, and their experience in New Orleans is made much deeper.


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