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A Running and Dining Guide to New Orleans

The French Quarter


What’s the best (or at least one) way to see New Orleans? Race a half marathon through the streets—and then restore your energy with a gorge tour of the city’s best eats. 

In the dusky, streetlight-lit dawn, 12,000 runners line up on Poydras Street. Breath heavy, shoulders brushing, they wait for the bullhorn that will signal a shuffle toward the start, and then a struggle to the finish. But at the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, scheduled for February 28, 2016, the event isn’t over when your feet stop running. In a city famous for birthing culinary specialties, the post-race feasting is part of the deal. But if you can’t wait for the race, you can try your own running culinary tour of the city. If you enjoy sweat and salt-cured sausage in equal measure—here’s your guide to running in the Crescent City and refueling with a dish (or drink) for every mile.

Mile 1
The start line is adjacent to the Mardi Gras parade route, which will be packed with another sort of crowd come February. Feel free to soak in the spirit and shed your top—if you’ve got a sports bra underneath. All clothing dropped in the corrals is donated post-race.
Drink: What better way to start the morning than with a Bloody? Topped with pickled green beans, olives and a lemon wedge, the Mary served at Stanley is good enough to change your life. Order the double, and at a minimum, it will transform your afternoon.

Mile 2
When the route turns, you’re running along the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the country. Get a boost from the Charles Street route’s resiliency—it’s also the city’s only line to serve passengers around the clock following Hurricane Katrina.
Eat: Po’ boys are the answer to the question: Shouldn’t my sandwich filling be deep-fried? Technically, this sammy can also be stuffed with deli meat. But why would you order roast beef when the fried shrimp special at Parkway Bakery & Tavern is so damn good?

Related: 6 Tips For Running While Traveling

Mile 3
The Garden District is the best neighborhood to experience the city’s antebellum vibe—think: oaks and Spanish moss that drape over iron gates fencing gingerbread houses.
Eat: Head back to the district for lunch at Commander’s Palace. Founded in 1880, the experience feels old world, especially when the vested waiter offers you a bowl of turtle soup with aged sherry finished tableside. Plus, martinis are 25 cents when you buy an entrée.

Mile 4
The Orleans Club is coming up on your right. A gift from Colonel William Lewis Wynn to his daughter on her wedding day, the club now hosts ladies’ social club functions and débutante teas. Don’t let visions of scones distract you. There’s plenty of time for that later—nine more miles to go.
Drink: At Carousel Bar, the seats move (just like the real thing). Order the Sazerac and feel the sweet burn of America’s first original cocktail warm the back of your throat.

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Jessica Sebor

Jessica Sebor

Jessie Sebor is the Vice President of Women's Running at Competitor Group. After finishing her first marathon at age 18, Jessie has run everywhere from Singapore to Prague and competed in hundreds of races including the Boston Marathon and the Bare Dare, for which she won the title of National Nude Running Champion. Jessie’s work appears at ESPN.com, Ultrarunning Magazine and has been selected for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Essays. A former romance novel editor, it’s at Women’s Running where her true passions lie. You can reach her at jsebor@competitorgroup.com.