Virtua Mall is a colorful video game escape to the past

The Virtua Mall video game is a neon temple dedicated to community, complete with the cornerstone businesses that brought in stragglers and strollers during the real-world mall boom. There’s a movie theater that plays local music videos. There’s the arcade where you can drop a few quarters and blast aliens. There’s a club that hosts hologram performances. In the game, it seems like a perfect place for cyberpunk mallrats of a cleaner, brighter future to come together.

Red Gravy restaurant has been around for a decade, but never like this

The restaurant has been transformed from a Central Business District brunch staple into a cozy, Italian bistro on Magazine Street. What was once a must-visit brunch destination is now the home of your date night dreams, where handmade pastas are lovingly served by owner Roseann Rostoker.

A nature takeover: Local artist Zac Maras' murals bring buildings to life

Zac Maras lovingly paints the animals that surround and inspire him in the Louisiana countryside. His vibrant murals, spreading their way across the walls of New Orleans, heavily feature blue herons, egrets, and roseate spoonbills. Goats, gators, pigs, chickens, frogs, foxes, butterflies, and crawfish leap out in front of geometric backgrounds.

Hogwarts for strings: Sal Giardina's Old Metairie shop is a wonderland

There are no neon lights in the window to catch the attention of passersby, as there are at the neighboring shops. Like something from the Wizarding World, it’s as if a person might only notice the shadowy doorway and peeling gold and silver letters on the glass if they’ve specifically come looking for them.