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In New Orleans [url=http://www.neworleansonline.com/],]you'll find the roots of jazz and a blossoming culture that has been long described as being unlike anything else in the [[United States[/url]]. Founded in 1718, it is one the nation's oldest cities and has an atmosphere rich with a mix of French sophistication, [wiki=8779535cbfa3b569f9a4dff104775a4d]Creole[/wiki], African-American, [wiki=2c00d92b3645fe19894bf62050fadf47]Caribbean[/wiki], [wiki=2cfce796f4703d560ae1c3a1b3fb7e74]Irish[/wiki], [wiki=7aab0ea984b6d360ab16331b6a9f0576]Haitian[/wiki], [wiki=86bc3115eb4e9873ac96904a4a68e19e]German[/wiki], and [wiki=7b80fae85640c16cdb0261bef0c27636]Vietnamese[/wiki], all creating an energy that can be described as something greater than the sum of its parts. Though hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city continues to rebound, and it remains the largest city in [wiki=39da6b7e3479522718668deaf7e6f304]Louisiana[/wiki] and one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
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  • filter_dramaUnderstand
  • filter_dramaDistricts
  • filter_dramaGet in
  • filter_dramaGet around
    If you are visiting the French Quarter, casinos, or just the Central Business District, a car may be more of a burden than an asset. Most hotel parking is valet/remote/expensive/difficult at best. New Orleans is ready for visitors, and the rapid transit, streetcars and buses are plentiful 24/7. Walking is fun and healthy during daylight and early evening. After midnight, you may want to call a taxi, but likely it will be a short trip at reasonable cost. For a great way to see the city, try renting a bike from one of the several bike rental companies in the French Quarter or Marigny.
  • filter_dramaSee
    Detailed listings of attractions are mentioned in the Districts sections listed above. Highlights include:
    * Historic architecture in neighborhoods
    ** Ornate colonial French and Spanish in the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater and Tremé
    ** Victorian mansions Uptown and other historic architecture citywide
    * Historic cemeteries are in the Uptown, Tremé, and Mid-City areas
    * Superdome, in the Central Business District
    * Museums and Aquarium, Central Business District
    * Audubon Zoo in the Audubon & University District
    * New Orleans Museum of Art [url=http://www.noma.org/]]and City Park [url=http://www.neworleanscitypark.com[/url]]in Mid-City
    * the Mississippi River - great views from the French Quarter, the Algiers ferry, and the Audubon Zoo "Butterfly" park uptown
    * St. Louis Cathedral [url=http://www.stlouiscathedral.org[/url]]holds regular celebrations of the Catholic Mass
    * The National WWII Museum [http://www.nationalww2museum.org[/url] tells the American story of the war that changed the world.
  • filter_dramaDo
    Stroll historic neighborhoods look at the architecture and businesses, and people watch in the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Faubourg Tremé, Bywater, Esplanade Ridge, Uptown, Algiers Point and Carrollton
    *Streetcar rides St. Charles Avenue (green cars) is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the U.S.; the Canal Street route also provides a pleasant ride
    *Riverboat cruises - short or long cruises, some of which have quite good jazz bands on board. Enjoy the Steamboat Natchez Riverboat Cruise. Great way to enjoy 3 attractions-in-one...New Orleans food and music during a cruise down the Mississippi. Aquarium-Zoo Cruise - riverboat cruise package is a great way to see the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo

    *River ferry - the budget alternative to riverboats, take the free pedestrian ferry from the foot of Canal Street across the Mississippi to Algiers Point and back for a great view of the river, downtown, and the Quarter
    *Walking tours including voodoo, jazz history, French Quarter, or Garden District ones
    *Bicycle Tours for history, architecture, or hurricane damage.
    *Casino gambling at Harrah's next to the Quarter in the Central Business District. Voted "Best Casino" by the readers of "Casino Player." This "world-class" casino offers over 2000 of the newest slots and over a hundred action-packed table games along with a buffet, Besh Steakhouse and many other food options.
    *Antique shopping up & down Royal St in the Quarter or Magazine Street Uptown
    *Cooking classes - learn how to cook meals like a local when you return home. A four-course meal is demonstrated by excellent chefs, who will entertain you as well as teach you the secrets of Creole and Cajun cooking.
    *Carriage rides - Take a carriage ride while you're in New Orleans ... and enjoy a tour of the French Quarter (Garden District tours available, too!) Quaint mule-drawn carriages take you past many landmarks of New Orleans, including Bourbon Street, the mighty Mississippi, and Jackson Square.
    * Celebrate [wiki=446a677798412c669fe95e698a57f682]Mardi Gras[/wiki] - The two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday is a period of celebration in the city, with parades and parties throughout.
    *Mardi Gras World - with thousands of sensational sculptured props and giant figures -- it's the place where Mardi Gras floats are made. A great place to get the Mardi Gras spirit year-round; at the edge of the Central Business District
    *Museums - Museum highlights include: National World War II Museum (formerly D-Day Museum), Central Business District. New Orleans Museum of Art, Mid-City; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Central Business District; French Quarter museum highlights include the Cabildo and Presbytere history museums, The Old Mint, and several house museums.
    *Cities of the Dead - Historic cemeteries
    *Run. there are great road races such as the Mardi Gras Marathon, and the somewhat more whimsical Red Dress Run (everyone wears a red dress and running shoes, men and women).
  • filter_dramaListen
    New Orleans is justly famous for the music it produces. In some other places live music may be thought of as occasional luxury; in New Orleans live music is an essential part of the fabric of life. Parades from the grandest Mardi Gras spectaculars to small neighborhood club events have to have bands to get the locals dancing in the streets. Hey, New Orleans is the birthplace of the "jazz funeral".

    There are usually several good performers somewhere in town even on a slow night. Understand that most of the good stuff is not along the tourist strip of Bourbon Street (though a couple of genuine good music venues exist even there). Most sections of the city have at least one (and often several) venue offering great live music.

    Budget travelers should know there are usually at least a few free live music events every week in various parks and galleries around town. More often than not, on Sundays there will be a brass band "second line" parade somewhere in town.

    The best ways to keep informed about who is playing where and when:
    * Gambit's Best of New Orleans [url=http://bestofneworleans.com/],]Gambit, the city's free local newsweekly has features on arts and entertainment and whatever else is going on. Gambit also produces the de-facto local restaurant guide and listings.
    * Offbeat Magazine [url=http://www.offbeat.com/[/url]]is a free monthly local music magazine with extensive listings. Can be picked up at most music venues, coffee shops, and other places around town, or ask your hotel concierge for a copy.
    * WWOZ 90.7 F.M. [url=http://www.wwoz.org/[/url]]is the community radio station dedicated to local music. At the top of each odd numbered hour they play a listing of the live music happening around town for the day. WWOZ is also good for finding out about special events like "second line" parades and "jazz funeral"s.
    * WTUL 91.5 FM [http://www.wtul.fm/[/url] is the Tulane college radio station, playing mostly progressive music, but also jazz, classical, and numerous other specialties. At the top of each hour they announce concerts and other events going on around town.
  • filter_dramaEat
    Okay, so you're hungry. You've come to the right place. New Orleans is a culinary delight, but don't look too hard for healthy food; some would say don't look at all (although those demanding vegetarian, vegan, or kosher food can, with effort, find some). You're on vacation, so take advantage of what they prepare best here. New Orleans has good food for people on any type of budget.

    While most places take major credit cards, "cash only" restaurants are perhaps a bit more common here than other places, so plan in advance.

    The main culinary tradition in New Orleans is Creole - which means the culture and its cuisine already flourishing when Louisiana was purchased by the U.S. in 1803. The Creoles were the peoples originally in New Orleans from its founding. Creole has a mixture of influences, including French, German and Spanish with a strong West-African foundation. Creoles cook with roux and the "trinity," a popular term for green pepper, onion and celery. These are the base for many savory dishes. 19th century southern Italian immigrants added increased appreciation for garlic -- an old local joke calls garlic the "Pope" to the culinary "Trinity" -- along with tomato based sauces and other dishes. (The influences went both ways; some New Orleans "Italian" restaurants have their own take on the Italian tradition, sometimes called "Creole Italian".) Eastern European, Latin American, Vietnamese, and other immigrants have added to the New Orleans mix. Thus New Orleans cuisine is rich in tradition while open to new ideas, and culturally inclusive while still uniquely distinctive.

    The seafood is fresh and relatively cheap compared to many places. Some think it is often best fried, but you can try seafood of a wide variety cooked many different ways here. Note: Some visitors have recently expressed concern about the safety of local seafood due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Seafood that makes it to the markets and restaurants is safe. Oil affected areas are closed to fishing, and catches from unaffected areas are being inspected in even more detail than usual. Some items, such as oysters, may be in shorter supply.

    Oysters are a popular specialty, gulped down raw, battered and fried, in a po' boy sandwich, or elegant Rockefeller style.

    There may on occasion be some exotic items on the menu. Yes, you can have alligator if you’d like - it mostly tastes like chicken (but chewier). The softshell crab can be excellent. If it's on the menu of a good restaurant, it's probably pretty good -- when in doubt, ask.

    Crawfish (don't say "cray" fish) is a popular dish here, usually boiled in a huge pot of very spicy water and served in a pile with corn and potatoes. If cracking open the shells and sucking the heads isn't your thing, try them with pasta or in sushi or any other way they’re prepared.

    Po-boys (don't say "poor boys") are the distinctive New Orleans variation of the sandwich. Unless you request your sandwich put on something else like sliced white bread (while you're in New Orleans, don't bother), it will be served on a po-boy loaf, similar to French bread; bread pundits debate whether the New Orleans po-boy bread is the same thing as the baguette of France or qualifies as its own unique type of bread (some say it actually IS French bread but because of the humidity, the bread ferments very quickly and gets its distinctive taste and texture). Either way, it's good, but only part of what makes the sandwich tasty. The rest is what is put on it, of course. Roast beef with "debris" gravy, fried shrimp, oysters, etc. You'll probably be asked if you want it "dressed". In New Orleans, "dressed" means with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and sometimes pickles, depending on the restaurant. Every neighborhood in New Orleans has its favorite po-boy places; the better ones butcher, slow cook, and season their own meats. The po-boy is a great and filling taste of New Orleans at a reasonable price.

    The Muffaletta is a sandwich served on a big round airy Italian loaf (also called a muffaletta) which is similar to focaccia, it consists of a variety of sliced meats such as capicola, salami, and mortadella as well as cheeses topped with olive salad. Unless you have a very big appetite, half a muffaletta will probably be plenty for a filling meal. It was created in New Orleans around 1906 at Central Grocery on Decatur where you can still purchase them.

    Gumbo is a tasty Louisiana traditional soup, originating in West-Africa and comes in numerous varieties. The vegetable base is traditionally okra (in West-Africa, the Wollof language word "gombo" means okra) with filé (sassafras leaves) used as a thickener. Seafood is the most common meat; but one will just as often find chicken, duck, smoked sausage or "andouille" sausage, the ages-old "gombo d'zherbes" (vegetarian) and other types of gumbo on many a menu. Gumbo is universally served with rice.

    Red beans and rice sounds bland, but is a tasty, comforting treat prepared in the New Orleans way. The beans are slowly cooked until they reach a creamy texture, with a mix of onions, bell pepper, celery, and spices. Especially traditional on Mondays. It can be vegetarian but may not be; ask. It is often served with spicy, smoked or "andouille" sausage.

    Local fresh produce: Have you heard of Louisiana strawberries, satsumas and creole tomatoes? If not, it's probably because they're so good that locals eat most of them right here! The strawberries come in around Jazz Fest time, satsumas in December and the creole tomatoes in early summer. You may spot "mirliton"; on the menu, a vegetable not common in most of the United States. In [wiki=8dbb07a18d46f63d8b3c8994d5ccc351]Mexico[/wiki] and the [wiki=98b9869ac5413aa6197a7b495f4972dd]Southwest[/wiki], it is called "chayote", though travelers to [wiki=948b13d5a3e11e21baadc349e199020e]Guatemala[/wiki] may recognize it as the same thing that's called "hisquil" down there. Of course, when the first crops come in, there are parties, festivals, and parades commemorating the strawberries, creole tomatoes, or mirlitons.

    Bananas Foster might be the most well known Orleanian delicacy served at the end of a fine meal. Consisting of warmed bananas mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and rum poured over vanilla ice cream; it is usually made flambe style in front of the customer just before serving. There are a number of restaurants in the French Quarter that specialize in combining the show of making it and serving it as well.

    Snow balls or sno-balls are the New Orleans take on the northern "snow cone" or flavored ice done with more finesse. Ice is not crushed but shaved into microscopically fine snow in special machines, and flavored with syrups, fresh made at the better places. New Orleans sno-balls are often topped or layered with sweetened condensed milk, but this is optional. The flavors need not be overly sweet, and can come in a wide variety ranging from striking to subtle, including such treats as wild cherry, lemonade, chocolate cream, coffee, orchid vanilla, and dozens of others. Locals almost worship the better neighborhood sno-ball stands during the city's long hot summer; try the refreshing treat as a snack or desert and find out why. Note, many snow ball shops will close in the winter, as New Orleans is surprisingly chilly between November and February and the demand dies down.

    Beignets (pronounced "ben-yays") are a deep fried square donut covered with powdered sugar. Most famously found at Café du Monde, they are a traditional New Orleans treat enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. They are traditionally served in orders of three with café au lait.

    Pralines are a candy made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans. They are most famously found at Loretta's [http://www.lorettaspralines.com/].

    Café au lait is a coffee served half brewed coffee and half hot milk. Coffee in New Orleans differs from any other coffee in the world. During the Civil War, coffee beans were very scarce. The local French extended their coffee supply by adding ground roasted chicory (the root of endive lettuce) to the brew. New Orleanians became very accustomed to the new beverage, noting that the chicory softened the bitter edge of the coffee while enhancing the robust flavor. Many taste a slight chocolate flavor while drinking café au lait, due to the addition of chicory.

    Many restaurants will have hot sauce as a condiment on the table (even Chinese and fast-food restaurants). Louisiana is the creator of Tabasco sauce after all. Although always flavorful, not all New Orleans food will be very spicy hot. Many locals do like to add hot sauce to many dishes. If you can take it, give it a try.

    In many of the fine restaurants around town, people take their clothes as seriously as their food. Despite the obnoxious heat and humidity in the summertime, don’t go to these restaurants dressed in shorts/jeans; they won’t let you in. This applies only to the nicest (and some say best) restaurants in town but there are plenty of places that you can wear shorts to (many of which are great too). This is what you've been saving your pennies for.
  • filter_dramaDrink
    New Orleans has no "blue laws" or mandatory closing times; there is always somewhere to get alcohol any hour of day or night every day of the year.

    You can head out the door with an open container of alcohol-- but not in a bottle or can; to try to keep broken glass and jagged metal from filling the street, local laws mandate you use a plastic cup while on city streets and sidewalks. These are known locally as "go cups", and every local bar provides them, usually has a stack of them by the door and the bouncer will take your drink from you and pour it into the cup because bars can be held liable if they don't. Use them, because New Orleans Police are watching for it, especially on Bourbon Street.

    Some drinks are noted for their potency, such as the tourist favorite "Hurricane" (a fruit punch and rum drink), which originated at Pat O'Brien's bar but now common in the Quarter. However, drinking does not have to be about quantity. Popular refined local cocktails include the "sazerac" and the "Ramos gin fizz". New Orleanians also love wine.

    Beer lovers should try local brews like "Abita" on tap, from light Wheat to dark "Turbodog" to the quirky "Purple Haze", a raspberry beer loved by some. "NOLA" (New Orleans Lager & Ale) Brewery opened Uptown in 2008 and has become a favorite of local beer lovers as well.

    Listings of some top choices of the city's bars, from friendly neighborhood dives to elegant cocktail palaces, can be found in the neighborhood articles.

    * [url=http://www.talesofthecocktail.com/]Tales of the Cocktail[/url] is an annual event each July in the Quarter and CBD with seminars, tastings, and other events, drawing in people from master bartenders to casual cocktail lovers. There's even a "jazz funeral" procession for the cocktail which top bartenders would most like to see buried (past "funerals" have included "sex on the beach" and the "appletini").

    Those not accustomed to the Southern heat and humidity should be sure to drink more water or other drinks without alcohol than they usually do during the day to avoid dehydration.

    New Orleans is also a coffee loving city. A good portion of the USA's coffee beans are imported through the Port of New Orleans and roasted in local factories. Locals tend to take a good cup of coffee seriously, and in New Orleans coffee tends to be a bit stronger and more flavorful than in most of the USA. Café du Monde in the French Quarter is probably the city's most historic coffee destination, serving café au lait with chickory since 1862. Popular locally based coffee house chains PJ's and CC's have locations around the city serving good hot and cold coffee drinks. New Orleans also has a wealth of local neighborhood coffee shops; the best are listed in the individual sections articles.
  • filter_dramaSleep
    The numerous hotels in the French Quarter and Central Business District are most centrally located for most tourists, but there are good accommodations in many other parts of town as well. Hotels on or near the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line in Uptown are popular with many visitors, and the smaller hotels and guest houses in neighborhoods like Marigny and Mid-City can provide an immersion in New Orleans away from the larger masses of tourists. Individual hotels are listed in the parts of town sub-articles.
  • filter_dramaStay safe
  • filter_dramaRespect
    It is very important that Hurricane Katrina a 2005 hurricane that devastated the city and flooded so many neighborhoods is a very emotional subject for many New Orleanians. Many jokes regarding the Hurricane and the evacuees of Katrina will get a negative response in New Orleans. Also some people in the city have had relatives, friends, co-workers that have lost everything in that storm and some of their loved ones may have died, and as result don't pressure anyone to tell tragic stories if they don't want to.
  • filter_dramaContact
    The telephone area code for New Orleans and its suburbs is 504.

    There are cyber-cafes throughout the city, with the greatest number in the French Quarter and Central Business District. Many coffee houses and some bars offer wireless internet connection.

    The New Orleans Public Library [http://neworleanspubliclibrary.org/] has branches around the city. Out of towners can get one hour of free internet access on library computers upon presenting photo ID; try to go at a time when school is in session to minimize risk of long waits. They also provide unlimited free wireless internet access. Check out the website for current special events held at various branches, which can range from children's storytime to lectures authors, presentations and exhibits on local history, and more. As of early 2013 branches are open in almost every section of the city.
  • filter_dramaCope
  • filter_dramaGet out
    If you have a car and want a short adventure, drive north on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway bridge for a thrill. As soon as you get to the other side, start looking for the plentiful seafood offerings: fresh crab and shrimp out of the lake at very reasonable prices. You're now in [wiki=9408cf546bc310df0d68f58f920a36ba]St. Tammany Parish[/wiki], with which has various small cities, towns, and attractions.

    I-10 runs east west through the city, I-55 dumps into I-10 West of the city and Pontchartrain; I-59 outflows into I-10 on the East side.

    Travel west on I-10 out of Greater New Orleans to [wiki=aac2c1a191ba04cba75ec3d5fcb99c1c]Acadiana[/wiki] or "Cajun Country". While there are a few places to get good Cajun in New Orleans, for authenticity go to the source.

    River Road [url=http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/louisiana/riverroad.htm]]is home to a stretch of Plantations. The plantations are scattered along the River Road on both sides of the Mississippi between Greater New Orleans and [[Baton Rouge[/url]]. Sugar plantations brought in a nice bit of income back in the 18th and 19th centuries, and there are some lovely homes with the archetypal oak collonades at the entrance. There are also plantations in the French Creole style. The most popular plantations include Oak Alley [url=http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/],]Laura [url=http://www.lauraplantation.com/[/url],]and San Francisco [url=http://www.sanfranciscoplantation.org/[/url].]

    You can also arrange for a swamp tour. Spring at Jean Lafitte swamp is a lovely time to see the swamp iris. Also, the first and longest running prison rodeo is just up the way at Angola [url=http://www.angolarodeo.com/[/url].]Before and after the rodeo, the inmates sell crafts, such as belt buckles, wallets, original paintings, and the inmates earn money for their families.

    For a taste of the less urban aspect of South East Louisiana, continue further down river to [[Saint Bernard Parish[/url]] and [wiki=be90c5c6728b5c6b7b8c4fcefe6366c9]Plaquemines Parish[/wiki].

    [[Category: Populated places in Louisiana]]

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