I cant say dont go in summer because some people dont mind or even like the heat and because of the decrease in tourism the bars and restaurants are easier to get into.
1) socialize at the pool. Maybe this is because of all of the drinking going on but people were very chatty, and a lot of people go to N.O. often so they are personally up on where the best places to go are, which are often not the places that turn up looking like the best on websites.
2) by far the most exciting food is coming from the chefs that are taking regional recipes and using them as inspiration. The best place I went was Adolfo's which is creole/italian
3) dont totally negate the idea of going to some place that is doing something not new orleans. I went to a burger place and had pretty much the best burger of my life. Great chefs are in this town, and some of them are doing things not regional. If you are staying for many days break up eating regional with something totally different.
4) eating in a courtyard, even in the worst of the summer if great fun so long as you go later after the sun sets. With misting fans it is comfortable, and you will almost never find that experience anywhere else. One of the best things we did was several hours in a wine bar courtyard (9-11) drinking winw, snacking and talking.
5) you just have to go with the flow here...service will be slow, things often get done half assed, the place smells and the French Quarter at least is very broken down.....in a lot of ways I was reminded of Chicago in the 70's
6) this is a great place to people watch, and if the females of your party like to dress slutty this is a great place to do it in the summer...second only to Las Vegas in my experience but I hear that Miami is like that too.
7) we had great success in asking the hotel staff where to go to eat, ask, they might actually tell you the truth
8) if you go in summer keep in mind the heat index, it ran just below 100 to about 115 24/7. Plan your day with a cooling break in the middle cause the heat will wear you out. A couple of hours in the room or at the pool.
9) in summer dont start drinking heavy till later in the day, it makes dealing with the heat harder, and you just burn it off
10) dont plan too heavy. Have a list of things you think you want to do in mind but go with the flow. There is so much to do that you will never be bored, and it is the perfect place to just wander and go where the immediate mood takes you