Hoda Kotb Shares Why She Has Such a Special Connection With New Orleans

"It's the closest to a hometown I’ve ever felt.”

Hoda Kotb sitting on a balcony and walking on a path in New Orleans

CEDRIC ANGELES/Southern Living

On any given workday, you’ll likely find Hoda Kotb sitting in her anchor chair, filming Today at Rockefeller Center. But, give her a day off, and she’s on the first direct flight to New Orleans. 

In a March feature with Southern Living, Kotb shared her deep love for the famed Louisiana city, saying it’s “the closest to a hometown I’ve ever felt.” And it’s a love, writer Karen Swensen, who happens to be best friends with Kotb, says is a love returned in droves.

Kotb explained, it was love at first sight with the city when she landed at the airport in 1992 as she took on an early reporting role at WWL-TV, and subsequently found her own little paradise in New Orleans.

“It was the perfect corner of New Orleans — all the fun of the Quarter and the charm of a quiet neighborhood,” Kotb shared of home at 538 Governor Nicholls Street in the French Quarter. “It was within walking distance of some of the world’s greatest coffeehouses, a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, and so perfectly located that we’d hear live music out our window every now and then. There were no strangers. It was a real community.” 

Hoda Kotb dancing with a band in New Orleans and the cover of Southern Living with Hoda on a New Orleans balcony

CEDRIC ANGELES/Southern Living

Though it's no surprise Kotb had fun then, and continues to have fun now, in the lively neighborhood. After all, it's the spot where visitors can watch the best of Mardi Gras, visit the French Market, walk down Bourbon Street, and learn a little (or a lot) about voodoo. 

New Orleans is a place that Kotb returns to over and over again, only this time with her two daughters, Haley and Hope, in tow. 

"I want them to know New Orleans — to love the city and for this to be part of their lives because it's such an important part of mine," Kotb, who also recently shared Hope's health struggles with the Today audience, said. "I want them to see what it's like to be front and center at the parade." 

Kotb returned with her daughters for St. Patrick's Day in 2022 to do just that — stopping along a parade route so Kotb's girls could yell the locals-only phrase, "Throw me somethin', mister!" and receive a few shiny goodies. However, it's not just about the big events for Kotb and her girls either. She also shows them the quiet corners — the parks, the restaurants, and all the best beignet spots around. 

"Everything is light in New Orleans. 'Normal' is being free, and dressing the way you want, dancing in the street even if you're the only one," Kotb shared. "New Orleans celebrates the individual. It's full of characters, and I want my kids to meet them." 

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles