New Orleans is certainly noted for its Mardi Gras celebration, one of the best known in the world, but its French Quarter is a wonderful experience any time of the year. After all, New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and great music can be found morning, noon or night. The architecture is interesting, because of the wrought iron balconies, many draped with flowers during the spring and summertime, the pastel-colored buildings and the beautiful courtyards showcasing the lovely 19th century houses. Preservation Hall offers a glimpse of vintage New Orleans’ jazz nightly. This is the place where many famous jazz artists were discovered or honed their craft.
Bourbon Street at night is blocked off from traffic and people party every evening till the wee hours (visitors can even buy alcoholic drinks from street vendors).
Jackson Square, a beautiful park in front of the distinctive St Louis Cathedral is an ideal place for relaxing or taking pictures. The nearby, colonnaded French Market has several shops and restaurants, some with live music.
A Mississippi River Cruise is obligatory when visiting New Orleans, LA, Minneapolis, MN, or some of the other major cities along the river.
From New Orleans, an interesting paddle wheel cruise takes the visitor upriver by a number of plantation houses and to the site of the Battle of New Orleans which took place in 1815. Boats leave from the Riverwalk area, off Canal Street. Trips are of varying lengths and leave at various times during the day.
New Orleans is also noted for its cuisine, and visitors to the area should definitely sample alligator, crayfish, catfish (a few of the local favorites) as well as jambalaya and cajun preparations.
1. The St Charles Avenue Streetcar takes visitors through New Orleans’ garden district, with its beautiful and regal homes, characteristic of the deep South.