Earlier this summer, Gambit Weekly invited you, our readers, to tell us what you think are the very best things about living in New Orleans. Whether choosing a school or a Mardi Gras parade, a dance club or a steakhouse, a Saints player or a day spa, there were bests to be named, and you obliged. You offered some longtime favorites and added some surprises, too. This week, we present your answers.

Along with learning your top choices, Gambit Weekly 's writers also set out to devise some new categories with a few winners of their own. Following the results of the readers' poll, you'll find our annual writers' picks. Have the best of times with this year's edition of the Best of New Orleans ©.

On the Cover This year's Best of New Orleans© cover features model Veronica Oliver, photographed by Greg Miles in front of Ralph Marchetti's home in Faubourg Marigny. Wardrobe and accessories by Kano of Kun flam a Boutique & Gallery; makeup by Tracy Ewell of Tracy Ewell Cosmetics and Skin Care.

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