As a freshman, my first finals season in college was a huge learning experience. I learned how to balance an avalanche of essays, presentations, tests, and studying, and manage my time after classes officially ended. But perhaps more fun and interesting was what I learned about my own study habits and what environments work best for me. While sitting in the library, business school, or my dorm room bored me and only really worked when I needed to write, going to cafes and other fun places to study was a great opportunity to explore new places in NOLA while also getting work done. Now, as I start the new semester, I’ve become a work-off-campus convert; it makes the notion of having to work again a little more bearable. Below are some lesser-known places to try in New Orleans (some are tried and true, some I’m dying to test out) so you can escape the Freret & Maple bubble and try something new!
1. The Rosa Keller Public Library
I grew up just blocks away from a university, and in high school would use their main library as my “I really need to focus” study space. I love libraries because they’re free, quiet, you can often find a nook to claim your own, and surrounding myself with other hard workers motivates me. But sometimes they’re not the nicest facilities, and (especially in public libraries) I feel like the youngest one there. The Rosa Keller Library is different—it opened its newest wing (a cool modern space) in 2012, was named “the most beautiful library in Louisiana” by Business Insider, and even has a connected cafe with fresh produce.
2. Stumptown Coffee at The Ace Hotel
One of my favorite places to study is at The Ace Hotel in the CBD, especially in the connected coffee shop operated by Stumptown Coffee. It’s super trendy and usually not filled with Tulane students, which is always a plus. The coffee is amazing, and there’s plenty of study space—try the front of the cafe for a busy area, the long table in the back for quiet, or the hotel’s adjacent hangout spot for couches. And The Ace has everything you’d need for a study break: their restaurant, Josephine Estelle, serves great food, the rooftop bar and pool is open to visitors, and the many shops next door are great for distraction. You can also get there on the streetcar via the St. Charles line, making it a direct shot from campus. Win win!
3. The Space at Raw Republic
Raw Republic is a juice bar and cafe on Magazine St., but their upstairs area is known as “The Space.” It’s a wellness shop/event space/classroom area/spa in a peaceful setting with seating. Grab a smoothie downstairs and head up to do some work, and expect a mostly quiet atmosphere! Just be sure that no events are taking place at the time (you can check by visiting their website), but otherwise it’s a great place to grab food and get work done without getting distracted.
4. Revelator Coffee
Located in the CBD, the Revelator coffee shop is a sleek NOLA outpost of the company, which has locations all over the south. Their coffee is serious, and the study space offers the perfect cafe setting to get work done. If you need lunch, St. James Cheese Company is right next door. That should be reason enough to try!
5. Cafe Luna
Cafe Luna is an off-the-beaten-path place, perfect for studying and grabbing brunch while you’re at it. It’s located in what feels like an old house, which makes their study spaces feel cozy and low-key. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m dying to—the food looks delicious and the no-pressure, quiet environment would let me relax and focus on work. Just know that the kitchen is only open on weekdays (they should still have pastries, though)!
Whether you’re looking for an off-campus escape or already have your favorite haunts, studying somewhere off campus is a great way to mix things up, work without distraction, and explore New Orleans at the same time. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these or have suggestions of your own!
COVER PHOTO: Ace Hotel