Joy, Justice, Jazz – Finding your Soul in New Orleans
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” - Tennessee Williams
Maybe it’s the river, maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s the language, maybe it’s the food… New Orleans has a way of usdrawing us in and holding us tight. Savor every moment in this southern jewel.
Tourist with a Time Crunch
If you’re only in town for a few days, make sure your itinerary includes these highpoints in the Crescent City.
- Canal Street is the hub of the tourist district. Grab a drink, jump on a street car and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds as you head toward Tulane University.
- Jackson Square tells NOLA’s story of Spanish, French, and distinctly American flavor. Take a tour, buy some souvenirs, and enjoy the street performers (but don’t forget to tip them).
- Explore the Mississippi River in one of the cities river boats. Meander toward the Delta with a cocktail in your hand.
- Stroll down Bourbon Street. If you’re the squeamish type it’s best to visit before 5 pm. Night owl interested in a little adventure? Walk Bourbon after dark.
- Café de Monde is your destination for 2 am beignets and Chicory coffee. Make sure you ask for extra powdered sugar.
- The National World War II Museum near the heart of downtown is a must-see for the history buffs. Spend a few extra minutes learning about NOLA’s role in creating the landing crafts of DDay.
Living Like a Local
Interested in stepping beyond the typical touristy sites? Explore these places and spaces adored by NOLA natives.
- Louis Armstrong Park is a hub for local music, markets, and celebrations. Make a picnic lunch, find a bench, and enjoy the color.
- Meander through the side streets of the Garden District. The gardens, architecture, and cafes of NOLA’s premiere residential area make for a lovely afternoon escape.
- Alligator hunting may be just the thing for you. Many of the local guides operate in the marshlands just to the south of the city. No worries, it tastes like chicken.
- NOLA residents love their Mardi Gras festivities. Stop by Kern Studios to see how the locals create the festive floats and costumes that dot the parade routes.
- There is a thriving art and jewelry scene in the French Quarter. Bring your checkbook, be ready to bargain, and prepare to return home with some beautiful finds.
Eat and Drink
You can’t go wrong in the Big Easy.
- Antione’s is the oldest continually operating restaurant in NOLA for a reason. The ambience is sublime and the food is fantastic.
- Galatoires will put a dent in your bank account, but a smile on your face. Visit this Bourbon Street landmark for exquisite French cuisine.
- Nola’s is Emeril’s baby. Bam! The locals love the food and you will too. Make a reservation days in advance!
- Mulate’s is worth the walk to the Warehouse District. Enjoy fabulous drinks and sultry dancing.
- Pat O’Briens is on everyone’s itinerary. Stop in this French Quarter favorite for a Hurricane (on the rocks) and a lot of great people watching.
- Po Boy sandwiches can be found all over town. Shrimp, gator, pork… Experimentation is the rule with these local treats. If you’re traveling on a shoestring budget, you won’t beat the price of these guys.
Tips for Travel
You’re not in Kansas. Follow these travel tips for a terrific experience.
- Heat and Humidity are always in season in New Orleans. Shorts and sandals are appropriate even in winter months. Always bring an umbrella! Rain has a home in NOLA.
- Creole and Cajun refer to two distinct cultures, menus, and geographies. Learn the differences before you make your trip. You’ll standout as a tourist the moment you mention “Cajun Food” to a waiter in the French Quarter.
- Bourbon Street Blues are ahead for you if you have too much fun on the Big Easy’s “Sin Streets.” The men and women in blue are on patrol at all hours and not in the mood to deal with the sloppily inebriated. Know your limits, and respect the police.
- Generously tip the street performers. The musicians and other artists in the city attest to the creative soul of New Orleans. Unfortunately, the arts will die if NOLA’s artists can no longer make a living.
- Be kind to the Big Easy. NOLA has its rough areas and forgotten streets, but She’s been through a lot. Keep an open mind when you visit, and you’ll be rewarded with an American original.