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Amanda Brinkman
New Orleans

Amanda Brinkman

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Amanda Brinkman headed to New Orleans after grad school in Chicago, looking for a break from the winter weather; it was supposed to be a two-week trip, but eight years later, she hasn’t left yet. She’s kept herself busy as the co-founder and creative director of Pelican Bomb, a nonprofit advocate for NOLA’s contemporary art scene, and, more recently, as the founder of Shrill Society, which grew out of a spur-of-the-moment, Planned Parenthood–supporting “Nasty Woman” shirt she created during the 2016 campaign. (“That was kind of a surprise business,” she says.) Coach called her up to find out how the Crescent City keeps her occupied in between her enterprises.

Amanda Brinkman at The Music Box (1)

Photographs by Chantal Anderson


The Music Box is great—essentially, it’s an outdoor venue made up of houselike structures that are actually themselves musical instruments. It’s really magical—every time you go, it seems totally transformed. It’s also right next to the river, so while you’re watching someone lead an orchestra you’re also hearing the tugboats, the birds, all that nature.

New Orleans Athletic Club (2)

I’d like to pretend a love of exercise motivates my workouts, but the thing about the New Orleans Athletic Club is that it’s just beautiful. I love spending time there—you can run on a treadmill underneath chandeliers. It’s full of that kind of crazy history—they have sections just for their antique equipment, too. There’s also a bar.

N7 (3)

N7 is this beautiful, tucked-away restaurant that you’d drive right by if you didn’t know it existed. You swing open this heavy wooden door, and once you’re inside, it’s like its own little universe. I really like the mussels—mussels and fries, that’s my go-to.

The Mardi Gras Museum (4)

The Mardi Gras Museum is connected to Arnaud’s, and it’s dedicated to the original owner’s daughter. She was queen of all these Mardi Gras balls, and they’ve preserved a bunch of her dresses—these handmade, ornate gowns. All the mannequins look like Liz Taylor. I like to get a drink downstairs and then take it with me through the museum.

The Bayou St. John (5)

The Bayou St. John, in Mid-City, is this long stretch of greenery and water—you’ll see people alongside it picnicking and playing volleyball. Some friends and I went in on a communal canoe a while back—we all have copies of the key, and on the weekends I’ll just spend a day going up and down the waterway.

The Contemporary Arts Center (6)

The Contemporary Arts Center is one of our largest arts institutions, and the new curator has ushered in some amazing exhibitions—it’s become a great place to see emerging artists from all over. I loved their Adam Pendleton show not too long ago. There’s a terrific bookstore, too, called The Stacks.

Material Life (7)

Material Life is a fantastic decor and lifestyle store—I discovered it just by driving by one day. The owner handpicks every item, and it’s all stuff I’ve never seen anywhere else—it’s definitely where I do all my Christmas shopping. I found a Chris Ofili tea-towel set there, which I love.

Cherry Espresso Bar (8)

Cherry Espresso Bar used to be a little cart inside of Stein’s Deli—it’s been amazing to see them grow into their new space. They take coffee very, very seriously, so you’re always getting a perfect cup. I don’t know anything about coffee, but I love their passion.

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