New Orleans is a magical place with a unique culture and way of life. Explore more about New Orleans in preparation for a trip you'll never forget!
Make the most of your trip to New Orleans with these important tips.Learn More »
New Orleans is famous for its unique culture, rich history and warm hospitality.Learn More »
Explore the different flavors of the city and all it has to offer.Learn More »
Take a bike ride along the Mississippi River, feed an alligator or stroll through time as you take in the stories behind one of our many historical attractions. New Orleans has so much to offer and caters to every traveler. So whether you're a sports fan, history buff, outdoor adventurer, aspiring chef or music lover, there's an attraction in New Orleans to suit your every need.
10 Things You Must Do in New Orleans
Experience the French Quarter
The historic French Quarter is comprised of over 100 square-blocks of art, dining,shopping, entertainment and architectural treasures. Start your day off in the French Quarter experiencing some New Orleans traditions by stopping at Café Du Monde, Central Grocery, Gumbo Shop or Mother's Restaurant. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy antiquing on Royal Street or take a carriage ride and see the architecture that make New Orleans look like no other American city. No night is complete without dining at a legendary restaurant like Antoine's, Arnaud's,Broussard's or enjoy traditional jazz while dining at Palm Court Jazz Café. You can also visit Preservation Hall after dinner and soak up the sweet sounds of jazz in this legendary venue.
Take A Musical Journey
No city loves music more than New Orleans. The rhythms fill the streets, clubs, churches and concert halls. Enjoy a culinary creation while listening to legendary trumpeter, Jeremy Davenport or try free Cajun dance instruction and authentic, delicious Cajun food at Michaul's Live Cajun Music Restaurant. Between House of Blues, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Club 300 Jazz Bistro you are sure not to miss a beat!
Culturally & Artistically Speaking
The New Orleans Arts District and Magazine Street are vibrant, diverse neighborhoods alive with galleries,shopping, dining and special events. Named for the French work - magasin - Magazine Street is one of the oldest and most diverse shopping districts in New Orleans. The New Orleans Arts District, called SoHo of the South, is a bustling and vibrant community stretching from Julia Street across to Magazine Street.
Let Us Entertain You
Entertainment, culture and performing arts options are as unique as the city itself. Be a part of the interactive improv audience at Yo Mama's Bar and Grill or roll over to Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n Bowl, a local landmark where Zydeco, blues, Cajun and dancing are combined with bowling and games. Between Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré and The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, you'll enjoy it all!
Don't Let the Parade Pass You By!
Come and see where Mardi Gras is made at Blain Kern's Mardi Gras World. See artists and sculptors working on the world's largest fleet of floats. Learn about the history, traditions and pageantry of Mardi Gras at The Presbytere, a Louisiana State Museum, that explores five major themes of Mardi Gras.
Take a Culinary Journey
Experience America's most delicious city at Brigtsen's, Café Amelie, or Commander's Palace. Taste a charbroiled oyster from Drago's or a steak from Dickie Brennan's. Whether it's Red Fish Grill, Mr. B's Bistro or NOLA you'll wonder why everyone else doesn't celebrate life this way!
Museums: A Feast for the Eyes
New Orleans is a city rich in living history, traditions and customs that are woven into the fabric of our everyday life. With a variety of museums like The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, Children's Museum, African American Museum and The National World War II Museum, there is something for everyone.
Explore the Outdoors and More
Take a ride through a bayou and experience the beauty of the swamp or enjoy a riverboat excursion along the Mississippi River. From the Zoo, Aquarium and Insectarium to year-round golfing, fishing and more, New Orleans is a true urban resort.
A Trip with History
Start your journey downtown and ride the famous St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line. Proceed uptown where an amazing architectural tour unfolds before your eyes. On your way back, pass through the Garden District, the second-largest historic district in the country. After enjoy the convenience of the Canal Street and Riverfront lines, which provides access from the foot of Canal Street to City Park Avenue and along the mighty Mississippi.
Take New Orleans Home
All styles have their place here, from exquisite antiques to funky fashions. Find the perfect take-home memory from your visit to the Crescent City!
New Orleans' Old World roots have created a strong foundation and long-standing appreciation for the arts. Early residents of the city often traveled back to Europe for musical instruction or training in the visual arts, and operatic performances took place in the city as early as 1796.
Today the scene thrives via countless galleries, performance spaces and museums. But perhaps what sets our cultural institutions apart from those of other cities is their ability to embody the joie de vivre (joy of life) so prevalent in New Orleans. So whether it is a Ralph Brennan restaurant in the New Orleans Museum of Art or Thursday night musical performances at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans' unique culture and love of food, music and fun blends perfectly with our vibrant arts scene creating experiences you can't find anywhere else.
Here you can learn more about some of the city's most popular cultural institutions and attractions.
THE NEW ORLEANS OPERA ASSOCIATION
This opera association carries on a performing arts tradition dating back to 1796, when the first opera in North America was performed in New Orleans.
THE LOUISIANA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The only musician-owned orchestra in North America is led by musical director Carlos Miguel Prieto, a rising star in the U.S. and Mexico for his dynamism and expressivity.
NEW ORLEANS BALLET ASSOCIATION
This nationally-recognized ballet association is the region's premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA's dynamic season features stellar performances from a variety of world-class dance companies.
SOUTHERN REPERTORY THEATRE
New Orleans' only year-round professional theater, focuses on bold new-world and regional premiers by American playwrights.
THE NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART
The premier art museum of the Gulf South is world-renowned for its photography, decorative glass collection and its collections of French, Asian, African and American art.
THE OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART
This University of New Orleans museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world.
CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER
Located in the heart of the New Orleans Arts District, the CAC is home to bold experiments in painting, theater, photography, performance, music, video sculpture and more.
NEW ORLEANS GLASSWORKS & PRINTMAKING STUDIO
This studio offers breathtaking demonstrations of glassmaking and invites visitors to participate in the design process. The studio offers a range of demonstrations, from glassblowing and glass torch-working to copper enameling and Italian-style marbling.
DUTCH ALLEY ARTIST CO-OP
Over 20 local artists own and operate Dutch Alley Artist Co-op. Any day there are three or four artists working at the gallery. Local art from Katrina salvaged materials, blown glass, wood-turnings, Raku pottery, hand-dyed silk items, custom jewelry, photography and paintings are just a few of the unique original artwork items that can be found in the gallery.
It is said that in New Orleans, culture bubbles up from the streets. Nowhere is this more evident than in the music scene. You'll know it when you come across a street performance that rivals any ticketed show you've seen. Or when you find yourself inspired to sway, clap and move like never before.
The city is the birthplace of jazz and a mecca for gospel, R&B and ultimately, the rock and pop we love today. We aren't exaggerating when we say that a wholly original spirit of creativity and musical magic is alive on the streets and in the clubs of New Orleans. Experience unbelievable live musical performances in venues from swank lounges to tiny honky tonks to mega concerts in places like the Smoothie King Center.
New Orleans is one big stage. Come and play your part.
It is said that New Orleans residents should have five good costumes ready to go at any given time. Celebration is at the core of the New Orleans' experience, and to get a true taste of the city, every visitor should join in one of these unforgettable festivals. So pack that favorite sequin dress, that amazing hat you never get to wear and even a wig or two and head down to the Crescent City for food, music and more!
Each year, a season of New Orleans festivals kicks off with the biggest of them all, Mardi Gras - which should be on your bucket list if you haven't experienced it yet. The fun continues throughout the year with dozens more reasons to come out and party down. Whether its music, food or the arts you love (or all of the above), you'll want to join in as New Orleans lets its hair down and declares, "laissez les bons temps rouler!" (let the good times roll).
The landscapes of the Mississippi River deltaic plain don’t conjure up conventional images of hiking, as found in the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachians. But the proximity of wilderness preserves to New Orleans, and the paths that come with them, ensure that a good walk through the natural environment is never far away.
At destinations like the Barataria Preserve and Bayou Segnette State Park, visitors can expect to find fabulous examples of the swampy Bayou country for which this region is world famous. The boardwalks and trail markers at these facilities often provide the only opportunity to traverse the watery world of cypress and tupelo swamps, fields of irises and pastures of rich green bull’s tongue that would otherwise be out of reach for those without waterborne transportation.
New Orleans’ level geography surrounded by the Mississippi River and the brackish waters of Lake Pontchartrain provide unique opportunities for tourists who want to explore the city and its natural environment, on foot or bicycle. Bike rentals and guided cycling and kayaking tours of New Orleans and the surrounding region are available.
Audubon Park’s oval bike-and-walking path weaves around the perimeter of this subtropical paradise. Workout stations are situated along the path. Both paved and dirt paths run through City Park in Mid-City as well. Many locals also run along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line and other medians (known here as ‘neutral grounds’) that divide the wide boulevards throughout the city.
With one of the largest levee systems in the world protecting the waterfront, it is easy to forget that New Orleans is surrounded by water. To take advantage of river views, visitors can run or bike along the Levee Bike Path that begins uptown at Audubon Park and proceeds upriver until it reaches the huge Spillway, then picks up at LaPlace and continues on to the State Capitol of Baton Rouge. On the other side of town, there are paths along the edge of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Shore Drive where a grassy levee protects a lovely residential area and the campus of the University of New Orleans.
Across the lake is the St. Tammany Trace, a 331-mile trail enjoyed by bikers and horseback riders, by cyclists, joggers and walkers alike.
There are numerous races throughout the year, ranging from 5K run/ walks to internationally recognized marathons. In October, the Zoo presents its annual Swamp Fest 5K run/walk. Racers are treated to a special party and all-day admission to “Swamp Fest” on race day.
The annual Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon and Half Marathon is held close to the Carnival season. The route winds through many of the city’s most famous neighborhoods, and ends with an after-race party with plenty of live music, food and refreshments for participants.
The major running event each year is the Crescent City Classic, generally staged the Saturday before Easter. This 10,000 meter road race attracts everyone, from world class athletes to weekend joggers. The Classic attracts more than 20,000 runners. It begins at Jackson Square and continues through the Central Business District, then follows Esplanade Avenue to the finish line in City Park. The flat terrain in New Orleans helps make this course one of the fastest. Several world and American records have been recorded in the event.
For the less ambitious but eager athlete, the Quarter, Garden District, Esplanade Ridge or the Mississippi River parks such as the Moonwalk and Woldenberg Park offer great, safe and very accessible walking while taking in the signs of one of the most charming and exotic cities.
A Golfer’s Paradise
Bring your clubs when you visit New Orleans. Our city has both beautiful and challenging links that take full advantage of the historic, tropical ambience of the New Orleans landscape. Temperate weather throughout most of the year, with just two really cold months, also makes New Orleans a great golfing destination.
For members of clubs out of town, there are a good number of private clubs with generous reciprocal membership arrangements. Those looking for something a little more casual can find plenty of options at both of the city’s large public parks.
Golfing in New Orleans is a great way to experience the exotic natural settings the city has to offer. For example, the Audubon Golf Course is a very popular public facility, located in the Park with majestic live oaks proving a common menace. For more details, call 504-865-8260.
The Tournament Players Club of Louisiana (TPC), situated on 250 acres across the river, in the town of Westwego, was designed by Pete Dye. It’s where the Zurich Classic is held each year, under the sponsorship of the ForeKids Foundation. It’s a 7,300 yard, par 72 course offering four sets of tees. They stretch the course to 7,300 yards for the TPC PGA tourney.
City Park has an excellent public course which has just recently been rebuilt from the flooding of Katrina. The Park also has an excellent driving range. The park has a great history in the game and for several years hosted the New Orleans Open for the likes of Billy Casper and Arnold Palmer.
English Turn is an outstanding private course, beautifully laid out under the design of Jack Nicklaus. It features a meandering lake and many mature old oaks, stretching 7,078 yards and a par 72. Club members from across country are welcomed to play “The Turn.”
The license plate in Louisiana describes the state as a “Sportsman’s Paradise,” referring to one outdoor activity more than any other – fishing. The wetlands of the Mississippi River are such a rich and productive ecosystem that they provide upwards of 30 percent of the nation’s commercial fishing catch, and play host to thousands of satisfied fishing enthusiasts year round…men, women and children who totally enjoy the fun of fishing for big redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and many other varieties found in the marshes, bays, lakes and offshore in the Gulf.
For those with a boat, the options are limited only by the imagination and knowledge of the water. There are many launches south of the city and down the west bank highway toward Empire and Venice.
Visitors can pick up a Louisiana State fishing license from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Famous locally as a weekend destination, Grand Isle is a place for the serious fisher. At less than two hours’ drive from the city, Grand Isle hosts the annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, an event that each year attracts hundreds of game fishers in search of the fish known as “The Silver King.” Grand Isle greets visitors with available accommodations and numerous charter captains on hand to take you to where the fish are biting.
For those who want a taste of the region’s watery wildlife, but don’t have time to venture outside of the city limits, fresh water fishing in City Park can be a surprising venture. Fishing in Lake Pontchartrain can be accessible by public transit and the pelicans, gulls and jumping fish are dead giveaways to the presence of trout or reds.
Birding in New Orleans
The rich wetland habitat of South Louisiana has abundant birdlife. American’s WETLAND Birding Trail offers access to this great, world class natural resource. The trail follows seven scenic byways through 22 coastal parishes. The 115 sites along the trail introduce visitors to a variety of Louisiana’s coastal habitats including fresh and salt-water matches, cheniers, upland pines, riparian hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo swamps, bottom-land hardwood forests, open meadows, lagoons, canals, borrow pits and natural bayous, to name a few. Associated with these diverse habitats are an exceptional array of birds and other wildlife.
Much of the region’s bird life can be found right within city limits, in the parks and gardens, on the bayous, ponds and lakes. Keep your eyes open on any roadway for the ubiquitous snowy egrets that remind you constantly that you are in America’s WETLAND. To learn more about the birds of Louisiana, visit the Audubon Zoo. As a result in part of the Audubon Institute’s Species Survival Center at the end of the Mississippi River, the Zoo contains exhibits, in natural settings, of many endangered bird species.
Artist John James Audubon, whose legendary paintings of American birds are a beautiful and remarkable record of our bountiful birdlife, painted most of his work in New Orleans while living in a French Quarter cottage now part of the Maison De Ville Hotel. Consequently, many homes, museums and public spaces exhibit copies and originals of his work.
More ambitious birding enthusiasts can use New Orleans as a departure point to access the 12 mapped out ‘loops’ of America’s WETLAND Birding Trail. Chances are you will encounter thousands of migratory waterfowl that flock to the region every year, or you can revel in the area’s resident herons, ibises, eagles, osprey and many more. Visit Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge on the Louisiana Scenic Byway/Florida Parishes Loop to see the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, one of our nation’s officially endangered bird species.
Don’t be surprised to look out your hotel room window in the heart of New Orleans to see an avian visitor from Louisiana’s swamps or a migratory flock looking back at you. If you were flying over New Orleans and spotted any one of its myriad lush gardens, you might stray just as so many birds do…all year long.
Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Newer to the city's list of activities is Kayak-iti-yat's kayak tours along the waters of Bayou St. John. They offer three tours of different levels of physical demand and kayaking experience - two take place in Bayou St. John, more urban paddles, and one in Bayou Bienvenue, a much more wild experience. Additionally, NOLA Paddleboards offer instructor-led rental sessions and on-board yoga classes on Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John.
When it comes to kid-friendly fun, a trip to New Orleans is a lot like a choose-your-own-adventure story. Kids and families have plenty of options for experiencing the city, so whether you have a house full of aspiring artists, action-loving daredevils or curious future scientists, just choose an interest and get ready for a day of exploration and discovery.
From bellowing, steam-powered whistles to the sound of bells ringing, you’ll know you’re set for an adventure once you step aboard one of New Orleans’ historic methods of transportation. The Steamboat Natchez is New Orleans’ only steamboat, and its elegant furnishings and antique accents transport passengers to a bygone era. Visit the steam engine room to see the riverboat’s inner-workings, and listen to melodic tunes from the authentic steam-powered calliope, which even can be heard from the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. For a ride through the city, hop aboard one of New Orleans' vintage streetcars, outfitted with brass accents and mahogany wooden seats. The St. Charles line is the world’s oldest continuously operating street railway and passes by notable areas such as Audubon Park and the Garden District.
The world is a fascinating place, and for inquisitive kids with an eye for science, there’s plenty to see and do in New Orleans. For one stop to satisfy them all, the Audubon Nature Institute has everything a curious kid could want, from insects to dinosaurs to underwater creatures. Visit the Audubon Zoo to see exotic animals, play in a water park, go on a dinosaur adventure and ride a colorful carousel. At the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, you can walk through an underwater reef tunnel, feel the fear at the tropical shark exhibit, watch penguins play and get a hands-on experience with hundreds of exotic birds. And don’t forget the Audubon Butterfly and Insectarium for an up-close glimpse of creepy crawlers, butterflies and edible insects.
Little artists can turn to the greats for inspiration when they visit the New Orleans Museum of Art. From Degas to Picasso, this cultural institution showcases more than 40,000 pieces, as well as a beautifully landscaped sculpture garden for little ones to frolic in. Check the education schedule for upcoming workshops and age-appropriate art classes offered at the museum.
If gardens, flowers and the great outdoors sound exciting, take your kids to visit New Orleans City Park. This 1,300-acre green space has sprawling moss covered oak trees, lagoons, walking trails through Couturie Forest and plenty of opportunities to spot birds and wildlife. City Park also is home to the New Orleans Botanical Garden, a lush urban sanctuary filled with blooming flowers and exotic plants.
The Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is open with extended hours for the summer. Located in New Orleans City Park on Victory Drive, City Park invites your entire family out to enjoy the fun! There is so much for the family to enjoy with one of the oldest antique, wooden Carousels in the country, a Ferris Wheel, miniature Train, Musik Express and Bumper Cars.
Spend some time in Storyland, a Mother Goose themed playground for children inside beautiful New Orleans City Park. Visit the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella's Pumpkin, the Cheshire Cat and Snow White. City Park offers paddleboat and canoe rentals on beautiful Big Lake near the New Orleans Museum of Art on Lelong Drive. There is also hourly or day long bike rentals to enjoy the beautiful, scenic park with the largest collection of historic, live oaks in the United States.
If you end up at some boring chain restaurant eating bland hamburgers while you're in New Orleans, we'll simply never forgive you. More importantly, you'll never forgive yourself. Avoid such shame by familiarizing yourself with the dishes below and be well prepared to savor forkfuls of the culture, tradition and recipe perfection that have earned New Orleans its culinary legacy.
A trip to New Orleans is not complete without a steamy helping of gumbo. Treat yourself to a culinary carnival created with a mix of West European, African, Caribbean and Native American influences.
Classic gumbo recipes call for okra simmered for hours in a roux, a dark stock made from either butter or oil and flour, with a variety of meats, onions, celery and bell peppers. Served over rice, variations include seafood gumbo with shrimp, oysters and crabmeat or chicken gumbo with andouille sausage.
A meal in itself, this classic New Orleans dish consists of sausage, vegetables and a variety of meats and/or seafood. The final touch - adding raw long-grain rice to absorb flavors from the stock - is what sets this one-pot wonder apart from similar ethnic dishes. Variations can include chicken, turkey shrimp, alligator meat and more. Consider it a New Orleans version of paella.
This spiced, heavily smoked pork sausage is a key flavor in many New Orleans dishes. Originally brought to Louisiana by French colonists, today's Cajun andouille is the best-known variety in the U.S. - and the spiciest. The sausage is seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper and garlic and is smoked over pecan wood and sugar cane for up to eight hours. Andouille can be found in gumbo, jambalaya, on a po boy and served along side red beans and rice.
A local favorite, crawfish étouffée could be called gumbo's spiced-up cousin. Stemming from the French word for "smothered," this thick Cajun creation employs hot spices including cayenne pepper, a mélange of onion and green pepper and hints of garlic. With loads of fresh crawfish, this tantalizing Southern treat is typically enjoyed over rice.
As time-honored as shrimping is to Louisiana, this coveted culinary delight offers fresh peeled shrimp, chopped onion, green pepper, green onion and chopped tomato. Satisfy your Southern spice craving while keeping the calorie factor low - this tomato-based favorite is a healthy, light and flavorful Creole dish.
Stuffed with classically Italian flavors such as salami, ham, provolone and the piquant olive spread that gives it its distinctive taste, this famous sandwich was born in New Orleans. Restaurants all over the city have their own versions, but for a taste of the original, visit Central Grocery, which invented the sandwich in 1903.
There are many variations of this classic New Orleans sandwich, as well as a few different stories about its origins. A couple of commonalities across all interpretations: long, baguette-style French bread and an affordable price. Po-boys usually are piled high with meat such as roast beef and debris (a tasty version of gravy), turkey or smoked sausage. They can also be filled with fried seafood such as shrimp, catfish or oysters mixed with a specialty white sauce that is a more flavorful version of tartar sauce. If your waitress asks if you want your poboy "dressed," say yes - po-boys are always better with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise.
RED BEANS AND RICE
This Creole classic is a staple on menus across the city, and many restaurants feature it on Mondays - that's because New Orleanians traditionally made the dish with leftover pork from Sunday dinner and could leave the beans to cook all day while they tended to their washing. Red beans can be served with a side of sausage, pork chops or fried chicken.
Oysters Rockefeller can be ordered all over the city, but the New Orleans institution Antoine's holds the title of creator, serving the original dish since 1899. Though the exact recipe remains a secret, chefs describe the dish as oysters on the half shell topped with a combination of capers, parsley and parmesan cheese and topped with a rich white sauce of butter, flour and milk - all broiled to perfection.
What began as a creative way to use stale French bread has progressed into a popular closing course and New Orleans menu mainstay. Soaked in milk, eggs and sugar, the bread is baked and topped with a sweet, typically bourbon-based sauce. Local chefs put their own spin on the rich dish, adding white chocolate, candied pecans or chantilly cream with lemon.
This distinctive dessert - made with bananas, ice cream, dark rum, sugar and spices - was famously invented atBrennan's Restaurant right here in New Orleans. The flambeed treat remains Brennan's most popular item, requiring 35,000 pounds of bananas each year!
Sometimes called a "French doughnut," these decadent treats were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. A beignet is a square piece of dough that, upon being deep fried, forms a crispy pillow with a doughy interior. Most often, they are covered with powdered sugar, but savory versions with fillings such as crawfish or shrimp are also seen on New Orleans menus and are served as appetizers.
These sweet confections date back to 17th century France. The chef of a French diplomat created a recipe for sugar coating almonds that is said to have been used a digestive aid. When the sweet treat made its way to the states, the singular almond was replaced by a handful of the local nut, pecans. Today, variations on the praline can be found in a variety of flavors, with hot Tabasco sauce or added cream for a chewier treat.
10 Big Easy Libations and Where to Find Them
New Orleans' signature drinks are almost as famous as the nightlife bars and hot spots that make them:
1. Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's
A sweet, juice-filled rum drink that is the most famous on Bourbon Street.
2. French 75 at the French 75 Bar at Arnaud's
A potent cocktail made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar.
3. Ramos Gin Fizz at The Sazerac Bar in The Roosevelt New Orleans
New Orleans' classic "morning after" drink is a frothy, sweet, ice-free gin cocktail that has been served since the 1880s.
4. Pimm's Cup at the Napoleon House
A classic, refreshing cocktail that dates back to 1840 and features Pimm's No. 1, lemonade and 7UP.
5. Sazerac at Swizzle Stick Bar in the Loew's Hotel
The official cocktail of New Orleans is a mix of rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe.
6. The Absinthe House Frappé at Tujague's
The signature cocktail is a simple concoction of absinthe, anisette and soda water.
7. The Vieux Carré at The Carousel Bar
A strong drink mixing whiskey, cognac and bitters, served on the rocks.
8. Brandy Milk Punch at Cafe Adelaide
A milky brandy drink with a touch of nutmeg that's perfect for brunch.
9. Café Brulot at Antoine's
A flaming brandy coffee drink with a touch of cinnamon served at a restaurant that's been in business since the Civil War days.
10. Hand Grenade at Tropical Isle
Theproprietors keep the ingredients of this neon green drink a secret, only calling it the most powerful cocktail on Bourbon Street. It comes served in a custom plastic yard glass, tinted green and shaped like a grenade at the bottom.
Cities of the Dead
A very famous writer, upon visiting New Orleans, said: "You can tell a great deal about a community by the way they honor their dead, and without meeting any of the people of New Orleans, yet I can tell you I know I'm going to like them, for very few cities that I have visited throughout the world honor the dead as they do here."
Most deceased here are interred above ground, a situation forced on the area because of the city's high water table and below sea-level elevation.
There are 42 cemeteries in the metropolitan New Orleans area. All feature family-built tombs capable of interring as many as a dozen deceased. The largest cemetery is Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery and very definitely worth a visit to view incredibly beautiful tombs set in lovely garden areas and topped with handsome sculpture.
In the mid-1800s, this was the site of the Metairie Racetrack and Jockey Club. Legend is that an American millionaire named Charles Howard was denied admission to the clubhouse, his sin being that he was not a Creole. The miffed millionaire vowed to buy and bury the track and the club. In l872, the site became a cemetery and, in 1885, when Howard died, his eternal resting place was on the grounds of the former Jockey Club. His ornate mausoleum features a statue of a man with his finger to his lips, seeking an atmosphere of respectful silence for those in rest here.
At what was once the main entrance to Metairie Cemetery, you will find the largest of monuments at 85 feet tall. It is the Moriarity tomb. As the story goes, Daniel Moriarity, an Irish immigrant, became a very successful businessman. His beloved wife died in 1887 and Daniel set about to honor her in death like no other.
Although Daniel was successful in commerce, he and his wife could never break into New Orleans society, lacking the "proper" blood lines. Daniel had a friend design the impressive memorial to his beloved - a huge granite shaft topped with a cross of the same material. Daniel wanted his wife, in death, to look down her nose at those who had snubbed the couple for so many years. He told the sculptor he wanted four life-sized statues placed atop the monument, each facing a different direction, and representing the Graces of Faith, Hope and Charity. The fourth would honor Mrs. Moriarity.
Upon arrival from out-of-state of the monument, it was discovered that no local drayage company had equipment large enough to transport it. A railroad spur from the mainline had to be laid directly into the cemetery in order to complete the delivery. The first erecting firm went bankrupt, and a second was hired allowing for final erection of the huge structure.
A circular sidewalk was installed around the base of the monument consisting of stones from various states throughout the country, each weighing eleven tons. When the walk was completed, Mrs. Moriarity's remains were transferred from her original burial site.
The final cost was set at $l85, 000.00. Because of the couple's age differences, Mrs. Moriarity stipulated in her will that only the date of her death be shown, not wanting to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing how much older she was from her spouse. After the stonecutter inscribed the information given him by Moriarity, he realized the date he'd carved was one day off the correct one. He tactfully approached Morarity, admitting the error and offered to correct it for the small sum of $2.50. Grunting, Moriarity said, "The hell with it. I've spent enough already."
After Mrs. Moriarity's remains were interred under the monument, the widower called the contractor back to advise him that the cross was crooked and he would not pay one cent until it was corrected. The second contractor went back to work and, like the first, went into bankruptcy. Moriarity, meanwhile, moved to California for health reasons and, upon his death 36 years later, was buried alongside his wife.
The Moriarity monument is but one of many remarkable structures in Metairie Cemetery. Be certain your tour guide shows you the "Woman With the Lantern" tomb and the truly sad story of its construction.
THE HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION
Located in the French Quarter, this collection is the best introduction to New Orleans history you can get. Four exhibition spaces depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays on the evolution of Louisiana to rotating art and history exhibits.
This flagship building of The Louisiana State Museum is the site of the Louisiana Purchase. The building served as the Louisiana State Supreme Court until 1908 and was the location of the landmark decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1892. Today it houses exhibitions on the Purchase and on Louisiana history, including one of Napoleon's death masks.
Designed in 1791 to match the Cabildo, the Presbytere is located beside St. Louis Cathedral and was originally the residence of the Capuchin Monks. The museum's two permanent exhibits include a celebration of Mardi Gras and a commemoration of Hurricane Katrina.
MADAME JOHN'S LEGACY
Located at 632 Dumain Street in the French Quarter, Madame John's is an excellent example of Louisiana Creole residential design at the end of the 18th century and is now a National Historic Landmark. The architectural complex consists of three buildings: the main house, kitchen with cooks quarters and two-story garconniere. It, too, is part of The Louisiana State Museum.
THE OLD U.S. MINT
The Old U.S. Mint is the only building in America to have served as both a U.S. and Confederate Mint. In 1981, the Greek Revival-style National Historic Landmark opened to the public as a museum. The Mint now houses an extensive jazz exhibition, including Louis Armstrong's first cornet, Fats Domino's piano and much more. You can even catch live performances at the historic building as a part of their Music at the Mint program.
THE 1850 HOUSE
A prime example of antebellum architecture in New Orleans, the 1850 House offers a glimpse of middle- and upper-class life during the most prosperous period in New Orleans' history. The house is a part of the Lower Pontalba Building, which was built by the Baroness Pontalba and was the first apartment building in the United States.
THE NEW ORLEANS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM OF ART, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Located in the historic Faubourg Tremé, one of America's oldest black neighborhoods, the museum is comprised of 7 historic buildings and is anchored by the lovely Tremé Villa. The museum features rotating exhibits as well as a fine collection of African artwork and crafts. The museum acts as a gateway the Tremé and offers walking and bus tours of the neighborhood.
THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM
This historical gem transports you to a time when victory hung in the balance. Guaranteed to move and educate, The National WWII Museum features a 4D cinematic experience, interactive exhibits, soaring aircraft, personal histories and more.
DOWNTOWN AND WAREHOUSE DISTRICT
In New Orleans, the Central Business District (CBD) is the city's downtown. The boundaries for the CBD roughly fall at Canal Street to Poydras and from Claiborne Avenue to Tchoupitoulas Street. Due to its close proximity to the French Quarter many of the city's hotels reside within the CBD. The neighborhood is also home to some of New Orleans favorite cocktail bars and many fabulous restaurants.
FAUBOURG MARIGNY & BYWATER
Nestled just down river (east) from the French Quarter are two of New Orleans' most distinct and well-kept secrets: the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Both neighborhoods are only minutes away from the French Quarter, yet, are tucked back into their own diverse communities, combining old-time New Orleans culture with a hip, contemporary bohemianism.
The original settlement of New Orleans, called Vieux Carré, French Quarter or simply The Quarter, is the oldest neighborhood in the city. Established by the French in 1718, the location was, and is still, a valuable site for trade due to its strategic position along the Mississippi River.
Tradition, opulence and beauty can all be used to describe New Orleans' historic Garden District. With its well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm, the Garden District certainly stands out as one of the country's most lovely neighborhoods, and a popular destination for visitors.
Long before the neighborhood had its own popular HBO series, the Tremé was already heralded as a vital American landmark for African-American and Creole culture. Many consider the Tremé to be the cultural heart of New Orleans, and the neighborhood's contributions to the American arts can be witnessed in disciplines from dance to music to architectural design.
Family recipes that date back 100 years, bread pudding beckoning from a bed of decadent caramel sauce, fresh Redfish topped with jumbo lump crabmeat - if one thing's for sure, it's that food in New Orleans- from gumbo to grits- is a serious affair. In New Orleans, food is an art form and chefs are rock stars. And with more than 1,400 restaurants to choose from, everyone is sure to find meals to make their taste buds sing.
New Orleans restaurateurs and renowned chefs are passionate about their craft, and it shows in their achievements that are rarely, if ever, replicated outside the Crescent City. New Orleans racked up an impressive six James Beard nominations this year, and after your visit you'll understand why.
The city's Creole, Cajun and French signature dishes are just the tip of the menu. While exploring New Orleans' culinary wonders, don't forget to explore the offerings of other cuisines, including Latin, Mediterranean, Asian and Italian fare which infuse traditional preparation with an amazing array of South Louisiana spices, produce and seafood.
Visitors to New Orleans plan to come with an empty stomach, the better to enjoy the world-renowned cuisine. Only the initiated know to bring along empty bags as well, the better to fill them with wonderful surprises waiting in unique stores throughout the city’s charming and accessible neighborhoods.
When it comes to shopping, few American cities offer the unusual blend of originality, charm and convenience that characterize the New Orleans retail experience. Not to say there is any lack of major national department stores such as Sak’s or Macy’s (most of the nation’s big name brand names are here). But it is in the one-of-a-kind specialty shops tucked away on French Quarter streets, or on the five-mile long Magazine Street, or in the Arts Warehouse District community located near the Convention Center and hotels, and increasingly in the Bywater/Marigny area just below the French Quarter that comprise an incomparable shopper’s paradise.
How to get it all in without missing the Jazz clubs, museums and restaurants on your short list? It’s easy: plan your shopping around the cultural tour of your choice. The real secret to New Orleans shopping is that it doesn’t take long to get anywhere – much less from one shop to another, or from your favorite restaurant to your new favorite shop. Traffic tends to be lighter here than in most American cities, and the public transit system is excellent and well utilized
What can you get here that you can’t get elsewhere? Try plantation furniture gems; 19th century jewelry that graced the thrusts of Creole beauties; huge sets of elegant china, crystal and silver from Uptown mansions, country hide-aways and French Quarter town houses; contemporary, folk and early American art; original contemporary jewelry; apparel and objects made by regional designers and artisans who prefer the special charms of New Orleans to the rigors of big city art scenes.
Antiques come in from the country, off containers from Europe, or out of homes that prefer designs from bygone eras to today’s high-tech or over-decorated interiors. Designers can be as stylish as Mignon Faget, New Orleans’ own Elsa Peretti, or as flamboyant as Yvonne La Fleur. Her hats are just the thing for over-the-top Easter parades of carriages through the Quarter, or your next girls-only lunch at Galatoire’s or Antoine’s.
Stationery designer Alexa Pulitzer’s note cards, invitations and pads feature Palmetto plants and elegant little crowns, a testimony to the sub-tropical landscape and the pervasiveness of carnival’s royal tinge. Glass makers, potters, metal designers, furniture makers fill weekend art fairs with their work. Vintage shops offer excellent carnival costumes along with the city’s once ubiquitous linen suits and great old straw hats. Want to know where to shop for what? Here are some clues:
Antiques and Gifts
Looking for high-end European antiques? Head for the French Quarter or the Upper numbered blocks on Magazine Street. Elegant old china sets, classic 19th Century crystal, elaborate silver can be found at M.S. Rau Antiques on Royal Street. New Orleans Silversmiths on Chartres and As You Like It Silver Shop on Magazine.
For estate jewelry, try Joan Good Antiques and Dixon and Harris of Royal, both on Royal Street. Scouring the city for vintage clothes and accessories, hand-made, one-of-a-kind tops, skirts, dresses and long coats from old kimonos, gowns and other fabrics? Head to Royal Street in the Quarter.
For leftover Mardi Gras costumes from previous revelers, from Kings to clowns, just right for your one day of masking in the Quarter, or whatever wild party is ahead in your life, try almost any antiques shop on Decatur Street in the Quarter.
Apparel, Accessories and Jewelry
Looking for established apparel designers? Try Canal Place. Or head to the Garden District to check boutiques on Magazine Street for the hippest, trendiest clothes in almost any size.
Shoes for Fashionistas
Victoria’s uptown or in the Quarter; Shoefly, Shoe Nami, and Pied-Nu on Magazine Street, or Saks in Canal Place.
Funky, handmade, reconstructed, gothic and vintage apparel: try Lower Magazine Street, the Quarter or the Marigny.
Need Contemporary Jewelry? From silver seashells to six strand button pearl chokers? Try Mignon Faget on Magazine or Canal Place. Alligator, Lizard bags, belts and boots can be found at Wehmeier’s in the Quarter.
Art and Objects d’art
Want something new for your established contemporary art collection? You’ll find over a dozen nearby on Julia Street in the Warehouse district.
To find art by the latest sensation in town, or from other key national art centers, go to the Contemporary Arts Center on Camp Street (near Lee Circle) where sculptures, paintings, photographs and more are exhibited and can be purchased.
Are you an “emerging” art collector looking for the newer and less costly works of art? D’Alley, Inc. will have something for you in the Quarter, or try RHINO Contemporary Craft company in Canal Place.
Is your home more traditional, and a nice landscape or still life just right? A Gallery for Fine Photography on Chartres, Alexander & Victor Fine Art, Martin Lawrence Galleries, and Bryant Galleries are all on Royal Street and may have something for you.
Looking for folk art from the region? Head for the Louisiana State Museum Gift shop on Jackson Square (inside the Cabildo) or John Stinson Fine Arts on South Peters at the edge of the French Quarter. What about exotic African, Caribbean, Haitian and New Orleans original art? Try Stella Jones Gallery downtown on St. Charles Avenue or Street Scene Galleries on Decatur.
Weekend art fairs in Mid-City and Bywater-Marigny will feature the typical range of crafts, but with plenty of New Orleans originals such as old post-card tiles and coasters.Also, newer to the shopping scene is the Frenchmen Art Market, open in the evenings in a space tucked between booming music venues. Here you can find locally made jewelry, art and knick-knacks.
New Orleans Culinary Treasures
You can find New Orleans coffees such as Community, French Market, Luzianne or Union at any supermarket. Pralines in endless special flavors, pecan clusters and taffy are still made fresh at Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines on Royal Street, Pralines by Jean on St.Charles or Evans Candy Company and Southern Candymakers, both on Decatur.
For fresh pecans, look at the French Market in the Quarter. Satsumas, a slightly tart, yet mild tangerine/orange like fruit can be found on vegetable wagons at City Park, on Carrollton Avenue or in most supermarkets. They are grown in the fertile groves of nearby Plaquemines Parish, where a wonderfully sweet navel orange is plentiful during the early winter months. The growers will pack a supply for shipping home.
You’ll find Creole mustards…a gritty piquant version of French poupon-like mustard from Zatarain’s at any supermarket. There are endless selections of hot sauces from Tabasco to dozens of others in most super-markets. Some of these stores will also have a supply of turbinado, a raw sugar from Louisiana cane fields. It’s neither white nor brown, but kind of Creole.
While in the French Market, don’t forget to look for sugar canes…they stand about l0’ tall and sit atop an SUV like skis.
For fresh crawfish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, catfish, speckled trout, redfish, all nicely packed in ice to go, simply find one of the many locally owned fresh seafood stores.
Along with being ranked one of the top convention and travel destinations in the world, New Orleans is one of the most popular event cities in the country. The same qualities that bring millions of visitors to New Orleans annually make the Crescent City an ideal place to hold a large sporting event.
Thousands of hotel rooms in the metropolitan area, a pleasant climate all year round, major attractions within walking distance, more than 1,400 restaurants, plus a host of venues make New Orleans a great sports town. The city has lavished its special brand of hospitality upon sports fans on numerous occasions, including several Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four tournaments, SEC basketball, Olympic track trials, the annual All-State Sugar Bowl and the Zurich PGA Classic.
To attract sporting events of this caliber, a city not only must have qualities that make people want to visit, but must also have a first class stadium. Most of the above listed events take place in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the premier multi-sport venue in the state. The Superdome is comparable to any domed stadium in the nation, and, it is located just minutes from the French Quarter and within walking distance of several outstanding hotels and restaurants.
The Superdome seats 72,003 in chair-back comfort. It also features two separate and distinct meeting rooms capable of serving a thousand guests in each, all while a 72-thousand plus event is underway. The Republican National Convention met here to nominate the elder George Bush to the Presidency and set new Dome attendance records for a Holy Year Rally blessed by the presence of Pope John Paul II.
Then there’s the 18, 000 seat Smoothie King Center which sits adjacent to the Superdome and is the home of the NBA New Orleans Pelicans. The Arena has also played host to major concerts and the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey circus.
Baseball has always been popular in New Orleans. Minor league ball is contested in the area’s new Zephyr Field, a 3,000 seat stadium home to the “Zs.” Zephyr Field is located in Metairie, a 15-minuite run from downtown. Both Tulane and the University of New Orleans field outstanding college teams every year and each boasts its very own first-rate ball park.
Of course, no mention of sports and the Superdome would be complete without noting the importance to the entire area of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The Saints play all of their home games in the Dome, which routinely sell out. Additionally, the Superdome is home to the annual All State Sugar Bowl classic, one of the four major New Year’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS) events that determines the best of college football each year. Plan ahead if you’re looking for a Sugar Bowl ticket. The Superdome also hosts the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl played in early December, the Tulane Green Wave home football games, and the annual classic Thanksgiving battle between rivals Grambling College and Southern University.
Golf is a highlight of the New Orleans sports scene each year through the presence of the Zurich Classic. This PGA Tour event is contested each year at the Tournament Players Championship Course on the West Bank of the Mississippi in Westwego, a 20-minute drive from downtown.
The combination of first-class facilities, a sweet variety of events and the natural drawing power of the city makes New Orleans an ideal location for a sports vacation year-round.