Located 105 miles upriver from the
Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is the largest city in the US state of Louisiana. Straddling
the lower reaches of the Mississippi River, this port city has long been at the
crossroads of exploration, trade and commerce.
New Orleans is a melting
pot of cultures that has happily simmered away since 1718. So, what's
in the pot? Cultural influences from France, Africa, Brazil and the Deep South
mix with Catholicism, Voodoo, Cajun zydeco and Dixieland jazz to make New
Orleans one of the most lively and popular destinations in the USA. "Let
the Good Times Roll"; that's the motto New Orleans lives by. And newcomers
usually waste no time in heading to where the good times roll the loudest, The
French Quarter, the birthplace of Jazz! Lined with bars, clubs and restaurants, "The
Quarter" is home to one of the most party-friendly streets in the world, Bourbon
But the French Quarter is more than
just a good time. It's also where you'll find many of the city's prime
attractions. Start your day in "The Big Easy" with a Cafe au Lait in
Jackson Square. Riding tall in the saddle is Andrew Jackson, the General whose
rag-tag army of locals humiliated the British in the Battle of New Orleans.
Jackson Square is lined with many of
the city's grand old buildings, like St. Louis Cathedral. On either side of the
Cathedral are the Cabildo and the Presbytere, just two of several historic
French Quarter buildings which make up the Louisiana State Museum. Across the
square is the 1850 House, which recreates life in a row-house from the
Just around the corner, The Old U.S.
Mint preserves the city's mercantile and musical treasures. While it's tempting
to spend your entire visit in the French Quarter - and some folks never leave -
New Orleans offers plenty of other flavours too. Cross over Canal Street into
the Warehouse district, an area of renovated grain-stores and sugar presses, now
packed with galleries and chic boutiques.
A little further Uptown in Memorial
Hall, the faces and voices from the American Civil War reach out across the
cannon-smoke of time. Just nearby, discover why the National World War Two
Museum has been hailed as the most important Second World War repository in
America. Then, climb aboard a St Charles Streetcar bound for the Garden District. Here,
amid the Victorian cottages and stately plantation homes, you'll find Lafayette
Cemetery. Join a tour run by local volunteers or explore the crypts on your
own. But be warned; the cemetery is regarded as one of the country's most
When it's time to rejoin the living,
follow your nose across the road to another New Orleans institution, Commanders
Palace Restaurant. Ride the streetcar a few stops further west to Audubon Park.
The park is home to the charming Audubon Zoo which features a quaint southern
touch, an alligator-filled swamp. The zoo is part of the Audubon Nature
Institute which includes the Insectarium and The Aquarium of the Americas. While
at the nearby New Orleans Museum of Art, explore paintings, ceramics and
sculptures from across the ages and from around the world.
Visiting New Orleans outside the
Carnival Season? No problem. Just head across the river to the Mardi Gras
Museum which brings one of the world’s greatest festivals to life all year
New Orleans' distinctive and
sometimes fiery cuisine will ensure you never miss a beat. Local specialities
like gumbo, po' boys, and praline are available everywhere. But it's the music
here that truly feeds the soul. So when the sun starts to set, head for one of
the many jazz or blues clubs on Frenchman Street, before heading back to
Bourbon Street where the New Orleans good times roll on, and on, and on.
Source: Expedia Travel Guides - New Orleans