And the winners are…

This being a leap year, it’s also a federal election year. To help prepare our readers for the challenging task of selecting our next president as well as members of Congress, we have provided the equivalent of spring training with our Ultimate New Orleans ballot.

Self-addressed, postage-paid detachable ballots were included in our October and November issues. Ballots were also available online. We tabulated the results from more than 150 ballots and have declared the winners according to the following rules.

Anyone designated as winner had to have a significant cluster of votes based on the total votes cast in each category. In those case where the votes were so dispersed in so many ways for there not to be any clusters, the categories were eliminated. In those cases where several names fell above the cluster line finalists were listed in rank order.

Whenever there was evidence of ballot box stuffing, those votes were eliminated. Ballots with hanging chads were sent to the U.S. Supreme Court for review. Here then, are our readers’ picks of the Ultimate New Orleans. If you have any comments please send us a Letter to the Editor c/o New Orleans Magazine, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, La., 70005. We remain in awe of the wisdom of our readers and appreciate that they have the wisdom to be our readers.

New Orleanian of the Year:
Jim Letten. In the pursuit of justice, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten clearly has his hometown’s best interests at heart. Letten chases down corruption with such ferocity that readers voted him New Orleanian of the Year.
2) Councilman-at-Large Arnold Fielkow (tied)
2) Saints quarterback Drew Brees, (tied)

Most admired New Orleanian, male: Jim Letten. Hey, we recognize a job well done.

Most admired New Orleanian, female: Angela Hill. The WWL-TV anchor has been welcomed into so many homes at the dinner hour, she’s practically part of the family – all of our families. Her long-running gig with Eyewitness News is in its fourth decade.

Most attractive New Orleanian, male: Brad Pitt. The hunky actor has adopted New Orleans as a real cause celebre, and he’s upped New Orleans’ A.Q. (that’s Attractiveness Quotient), too.
2) Sidney Torres
3) Harry Connick Jr.

Favorite State Politician: Bobby Jindal Another big victory. He just might have a political future.
2) Mitch Landrieu

Favorite Local Politician: Arnold “Arnie” Fielkow. What a fast riser – from sports executive, to aspiring politician, to council-member-at-large who carried the council through several crises during his tenure as council president. And he’s just getting started.
2) Jackie Clarkson

Most attractive New Orleanian, female: Angelina Jolie. Her very name means beautiful, and this half of Brangelina adds real Hollywood glamour to the Big Easy. A trio of homegrown beauties from WWL-TV had a lock on the runner-up positions, though.
2) Lucy Bustamante (tied)
2) Laura Buchtel (tied)
2) Angela Hill (tied)

Favorite New Orleans musician (living in the city): Fats Domino. Memories of his harrowing rescue didn’t deter Fats from returning to New Orleans, where he can let the city inspire his music.
2) Irma Thomas

Favorite New Orleans musician (outside the city): Harry Connick Jr. Lovable Harry Connick Jr. saluted New Orleans with two recent CDs, Chanson du Vieux Carré and Oh, My Nola. He’s also been active in the rebuilding effort.
2) Pete Fountain
3) Dr. John

Favorite New Orleans actor/actress (local theater): Becky Allen. Dawlin’, Becky Allen’s wacky sense of hometown pride makes for extremely funny theater.
2) Ricky Graham

Favorite Saints player: Drew Brees. Ah, well, the Saints may have finished the season a tepid 7-9 (at least we outplayed the Atlanta Falcons), but Drew Brees, a standout quarterback as well as a philanthropist and an overall nice guy, ranks in New Orleanians’ hearts as their favorite Saint.
2) Deuce McAllister
3) Reggie Bush (tied)
3) Scott Fujita (tied)

Favorite Hornets player: Chris Paul. Phenomenal Hornets point guard puts the sting on the competition, just a few years into a pro career. Paul is third in the NBA in assists.
2) Peja Stojakovic

Favorite TV sports reporter: Jim Henderson. Henderson, of WWL-TV, is a steady voice of reason both in the broadcast booth and as a sports anchor.
2) Fletcher Mackel.

Favorite local TV news anchor: Angela Hill. The elder stateswoman of New Orleans news, she’s been in WWL’s anchor chair since the mid-1970s.
2) Lucy Bustamante
3) John Snell
4) Helena Moreno
5) Norm Robinson

Favorite TV meteorologist: Dawn Brown. Holy smoke! Must be a cold day in hell! WVUE’s Bob Breck, this year’s second-place finisher, has owned this category forever. It’s not that he’s gotten less popular but WWL’s weather gal has literally made her move. How about a dance, Dawn?
2) Bob Breck
3) Margaret Orr
4) Dan Milham
5) Laura Bechtel

Favorite local radio personality: Garland Robinette. Artist and host of The Think Tank radio show switched media, having spent 20 years as a WWL-TV reporter and anchor.
2) Tom Fitzmorris (tied)
2) Spud McConnell (tied)

Favorite local writer: Chris Rose. With his witty observations, Chris Rose is a morning must-read in the city’s newspaper. His One Dead in Attic book spoke to many of the fears and dreams that Katrina inspired.
2) Anne Rice

Favorite grocery store/deli: Langenstein’s. Though we evidently like to shop at a variety of places, we show extra support for locally owned stores, with Langenstein’s leading the pack.
2) Winn-Dixie
3) Whole Foods
4) Dorignac’s
5) Central Grocery

Favorite gym: Elmwood Fitness. Work off that fried-oyster poor boy with the trainers and machines at one of the Elmwood locations.
2) New Orleans Athletic Club
3) French Riviera

Favorite day spa: Belladonna. Putting up Sheetrock can be murder on a gal’s hands, and locals like the Uptown day spa for services like manicures and massages.
2) H2O
3) Earthsavers

Favorite boutique: Yvonne LaFleur. A place of true New Orleans romance, LaFleur’s shop has outfitted weddings, proms and other special occasions. Her perfume would be at home in every New Orleans lady’s boudoir.

Favorite antiques store: Royal Street. Antiques are so plentiful on Royal Street that readers couldn’t choose just one store. We can’t think of a better way to shop for (antique sideboards, lamps, jewelry) than a leisurely stroll down Royal Street on a breezy day.

Favorite place to buy contemporary furniture: New Directions. That tradition-loving New Orleanians even want to buy contemporary furniture is a surprise, but when we need a hit of contemporary amid our Neo-Classical surroundings, we like to get it from New Directions.
2) Renaissance

Favorite florist: Villere’s Florist. If on Valentine’s Day you received a little something special from your sweetheart, chances are it came from one of the locations of this favorite New Orleans florist. Locals have let Villere’s help them celebrate weddings, birthdays since 1969.
2) Federico’s

Favorite garden supply: Perino’s. Our summertime heat and the humidity will wilt your hairdo, but they help plants thrive. And New Orleanians who love greenery buy their tropicals, annuals and evergreens at the garden center at a busy Metairie intersection. 2) Home Depot
3) The Plant Gallery

Favorite movie theatre: Elmwood Palace. Ah, the cushy stadium seating, the extensive lineup, the little gizmo that spits out tickets that you bought online. It can only mean one place: Elmwood Palace.
2) Prytania
3) Canal Place
4) AMC Clearview

Favorite place to hear live music: Tipitina’s. Hard to believe that Tipitina’s is only turning 30 this year; it seems like it was always there. That timelessness and a penchant for booking real talent – from the up-and-coming to the legendary, makes Tip’s a rite of passage for every generation.
2) House of Blues
3) Snug Harbor
4) Preservation Hall

Favorite happy hour: Sweet Fire & Ice. We suspect that fewer party people go to Sweet Fire & Ice for the oxygen lounge than for the dramatic interior and the cocktails.
2) Superior Grill

Favorite new club: Republic. Well, Republic isn’t exactly NEW new, but when you’re talking about a city whose gathering places were often born in the last century, Republic is still the new kid on the block. The spacious club makes its home in the old Howlin’ Wolf and is often a New Orleans nightlife hot spot.

Favorite jazz club: Snug Harbor. On a very happening strip of Frenchmen Street, Snug Harbor’s intimate setting brings you up close to the music. And the kitchen turns out a fantastic burger, too.

Most missed business: Macy’s. Apparently New Orleanians like the one-day sales (that seemed to take place every week).
2) K&B

Most missed hangout: West End. Sunset over the lake with a frosty beer and a platter of fried seafood = heaven, especially on a busy Friday evening when you don’t feel like cooking. Or a lazy Sunday afternoon … when you don’t feel like cooking. Or anytime you want to get out of the house and you, um, don’t feel like cooking.

Favorite museum: NOMA. Even with the magnificent alley of oak trees gone, driving up to the New Orleans Museum of Art is a magical experience. You just know something beautiful and thought-provoking will be on display there. Plus Louisiana residents can enjoy free admission.
2) World War II Museum
3) Ogden Museum of Southern Art
4) Louisiana Children’s Museum

Favorite historical landmark: St. Louis Cathedral. No landmark seems to say “New Orleans” better than the twin spires rising up from Jackson Square. Even Andrew Jackson tips his hand in perpetual salute to the great church.
2) Jackson Square
3) Lee Circle (tied)
4) French Quarter (tied)

Favorite remodeled/renovated building: Superdome. These days we’re all experts on remodeled buildings, no? Compared to newer, fancier arenas, the Dome still holds its own; plus, it has the city’s collective nostalgia on its side. It’s part of our skyline and part of our memory.

Favorite place to spot celebrities: French Quarter. Want to catch a glimpse of Mr. and Ms. Most Attractive? The French Quarter is the place to do it. Try not to stare, though.
2) Nice restaurants

Favorite place to take out-of-towners: French Quarter. Sightseeing and people-watching aplenty in the Quarter: It’s the place most readers take their visitors. Lots of readers were more specific about their French Quarter haunts.
2) Café du Monde
3) Pat O’Brien’s
4) Galatoire’s

Favorite place to play hooky: French Quarter. The city’s oldest neighborhood rates among folks who skip out of work. Careful, though: If the boss smells a rat, now he knows where to look for you.
2) Home
3) Lakefront

Favorite golf course: Audubon. A few milestones for the Uptown course: celebrated a centennial in 1998, a redesign in 2001, and to date, is the city’s only public golf course to open since Katrina.
2) English Turn

Favorite place to fish: Grand Isle and Lake Pontchartrain (tie). Gotcha cane pole and a bucket of worms? Then you’re ready to haul in a whole cooler at these favorite fishing spots. Both fishing spots are an easy drive from the city.

Favorite biking/walking/running route: Audubon. Those of you who aren’t hitting the Elmwood Fitness Center must be heeding Louisiana’s directive to “take it outside.” The serene path snuggled between St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street meanders past moss-dotted oak trees, lagoons and stately homes, making it a favorite place to help you forget you’re exercising.
2) The levee
3) City Park
4) Tammany Trace

Favorite weekend getaway: Gulf Coast. The French Quarter has much to offer, but when wrought-iron balconies and blooming azaleas aren’t enough to soothe the spirit, New Orleanians like to go to the Gulf Coast for a mix of sand, surf and slots.
2) Destin, Fla.
3) St. Francisville

Favorite street for a Sunday drive: St. Charles Avenue. You could drive, or you could take the streetcar. Eight cars service the newly extended streetcar line and offer a different perspective for traveling this favorite New Orleans street.
2) Lakeshore Drive

Favorite up-and-coming neighborhood: Lakeview. Who knew that Lakeview would ever be described as up-and-coming? But the pace of construction and reconstruction there may give hope to less populated neighborhoods.
2) Algiers Point
3) Bywater

Favorite neighborhood to raise a family: Uptown. Some may call it the “Isle of Denial,” but Uptown remains one of the better bets to rear your brood.
2) Lakeview
3) Metairie
4) Algiers

What did New Orleans do right this year? Nothing. Oh, dear. Readers give the city a failing grade at improving itself, or even maintaining the status quo. Looking on the bright side, doing nothing right means lots of room for improvement, right?
2) Cleaning up (tied)
2) Getting rid of former district attorney Eddie Jordan (tied)

What did New Orleans do wrong? Nagin. Well, we’re not sure exactly what “Nagin” means, in that he was re-elected in 2006, but we think we get the picture.
2) Being slack on crime
3) “Everything”

Favorite local event (open to public): Mardi Gras. Carnival revelers maintain their enthusiasm for the parades, the balls, any and everything Carnival. Heck, even curmudgeons who complain about traffic and litter know that it’s still the best party around.
2) Jazz Fest
3) French Quarter Fest
4) Celebration in the Oaks

Favorite fundraiser event: Zoo-To-Do. The annual throwdown is a nationally recognized event, but locals know and love it too. Zoo-To-Do, they all ask’d for you.

Best work accomplished by a charity, organization or group: Habitat for Humanity. The international organization does good on a local level, and New Orleanians appreciate it.
2) Musician’s Village
3) Mow-rons

Least favorite sound in New Orleans: Sirens. They’re a part of the city’s soundscape, and we won’t be sad to bid them adieu.
2) Gunshots
3) Loud music

Favorite sound in New Orleans: Jazz. Music lovers, rejoice! The sounds of jazz mean New Orleans is coming back.
2) Brass bands

Favorite New Orleans song: “Do You Know What It Means …” The song just never gets old for New Orleanians, maybe because we know firsthand what it means.
2) “Walkin’ to New Orleans”
3) “New Orleans Ladies”
4) “Mardi Gras Mambo”

Favorite local band: Bucktown All-Stars. The happy-go-lucky sound of this cover band is a winner. Look for them anywhere that people love to dance.
2) ReBirth Brass Band
3) Cowboy Mouth

Favorite local radio station: WWL. Old habits dies hard with many New Orleanians, who still get news and talk from this unchallenged top AM station.
4) B97.1
5) KNPR 88.9

Favorite local TV station: WWL-TV. A perennial favorite, and not just because that’s where we tune in for “CSI.”

Favorite local TV commercial: “Come to Louisiana” and Saints/Visa (tied). In the first (whose real name is “Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again”), celebs with local ties extol the wonders of the Bayou State; in the latter, the whole city, awash in black and gold, gives in to Saints football fever. Who dat, indeed!

Favorite festival: Jazz Fest. The fest is reaching middle age – it celebrates the big 4-0 next year – but each year’s lineup is awaited breathlessly. Clearly we never tire of the Fest.
2) French Quarter Fest
3) Mardi Gras

Favorite Carnival parade: Endymion. In the contest to throw us something, Mister, Endymion prevails. Rolling Uptown or Mid-City, the superkrewe remains the city’s favorite.
2) Rex (tied)
2) Bacchus (tied)
3) Muses
4) Krewe de Vieux

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