The Insider Guide to New Orleans
With its unique mix of African, French and American influences, New Orleans is called the Big Easy with good reason. This is a party town, so prepare to have a lot of fun! Come, if you can, for Mardi Gras in early spring when the city really lets its hair down. And if you’re out of season, you can visit Mardi Gras World, where they make the costumes. But the party doesn’t stop – and all year round you’ll find jazz, Caribbean music, a thriving drag scene and spontaneous street parties.
Let’s Go! The Main Attractions
Canal Street, on the edge of the French Quarter running from the Mississippi River to Downtown, is a great place to start, with hotels and shopping opps galore. Nearby Bourbon Street is known for its music and nightlife, while Jackson Square is an open-air gallery for artists. Then head over to Frenchmen Street for dance halls, jazz clubs and dive bars. The French influence can be seen throughout the city, from Lafayette Square, which dates back to the 18th century, to St Louis cathedral – the oldest cathedral in continuous use in America and the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese for New Orleans. And it’s not just French history you’ll find here. Nearby Preservation Hall has been the home of jazz since the 1960s, while the LaLaurie mansion was once one of the most prestigious buildings on Royal Street, but it has a grisly history. Come and visit to discover more about its gruesome, murderous owner. For outdoor fun with the kids there’s Storyland, a park full of sculptures, and the Audubon Zoo, a nonprofit conservation organisation that houses 2,000 animals. Read on for more ideas on how to enjoy your time in New Orleans.