Sonder City Chats: New Orleans

This week, we sat down with Joe Dillon, Sonder General Manager of New Orleans to hear about his favorite activities, restaurants, and more in The Big Easy. We specifically asked him about some ideas for social distancing options, knowing that some of you are starting to map out thoughtful travel plans for the coming months. This is something we’ll incorporate into our future Sonder City Chats.

Joining Sonder last September, Joe has lived, worked, or studied in NOLA off and on for the last two decades. While his path has sometimes taken him elsewhere, he notes that he always seems to be drawn right back to all the incredible energy, music, and cuisine that New Orleans has to offer. 

  • What’s the best kept secret about New Orleans? Halloween on Frenchman street! Halloween on Frenchman street! The costumes are so imaginative, and music spills from the venues into the street all night long.
  • What’s your favorite thing about living there? The resiliency of it’s people, and the vibrancy and incredibly diverse culture.
  • What’s your least favorite thing about living in NOLA? The humidity in August!


  • Best social distancing outdoor activities? Taking a walk through Audubon Park or biking around City Park. There are so many beautiful outdoor spots across the city that are great places to explore in a socially distant way – even just wandering around looking at the beautiful architecture!
  • What’s one thing you’ve always had on your bucket list but haven’t gotten to do yet? Going to both weekends of Jazzfest in the same year.


  • Where’s the first place you take family and friends when they visit? Cafe du Monde at City Park. You get to feast on the most incredible beignets next to the gardens, and generally avoid the crowds.
  • Which NOLA Sonder space is your favorite? For a couples trip, I love our boutique hotel property in the French Quarter, the St. Helene. It’s steps away from everything in the heart of the Quarter, and has a hidden pool for guests to cool down and relax in. For families during Mardi Gras season, I’m a huge fan of any of our units along Magazine street. There’s great shopping and family friendly activities nearby, and it’s right on the parade route!


  • What’s the first thing you’re going to do in NOLA when this is over?Get a haircut from my favorite barber, The Bearded Lady
  • What’s the best cuisine in NOLA? Jacques Imo’s Cafe


Rapid-fire questions: what’s your favorite?


Ernst Cafe

Music venue?

Snug Harbor


Avenue Pub

Non food or drink related activity?

Catching a Saints Game

Date night spot?

Court of Two Sisters

Local shop?

The Magic Box Toy Store

Delivery/take-out spot?

Verti Marte


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