What $500 Buys in New Orleans

Bruce Hutchinson

New Orleans continues to prove it is more than Mardi Gras and jazz, and this year it makes its mark as an art destination with its second art biennial, Prospect.2. With exhibits all around the city, it’s the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the States.

Five bottles of Maison Bouachon Châteauneuf du Pape and five Lillet aperitifs at Patrick’s Bar Vin, a sophisticated four-month-old wine bar in the French Quarter that’s a world away from Bourbon Street’s chaos. patricksbarvin.com.

Three custom VIP packages with special access to New Orleans’s second art biennial, Prospect.2, on view through January 2012. Notable works include an installation in an 1850s Jackson Square home by French artist Sophie Calle. prospectneworleans.org.

One night in a top-floor suite at hotelier Klaus Ortlieb’s The Hotel Modern, along with dinner for two at its French-Vietnamese restaurant Tamarind. Opening in November in the Warehouse-Arts District, the inn’s 135 rooms feature brightly hued walls and an eclectic mix of antiques. There are even in-house burlesque shows performed in the cocktail lounge, Bellocq. thehotelmodern.com.

Dinner for nine and a round of El Carreticos, a spin on the sidecar cocktail with Grand Marnier, at Rue 127 in Mid-City. NOLA chef Ray Gruezke serves up inventive American bistro fare, like a bone-in ribeye with brandy and green peppercorns, at this year-old eatery. rue127.com.

Two tailor-made cotton-twill suits and one Obey leather wallet from Vernon, a new clothing store in the Garden District that sells its own line, local designers and big names like John Varvatos. vernonclothing.com.

Compiled by Candice Chan and Adam Gollner