New Orleans, Lousiana Guide
Head to Frenchmen Street to hear brass pour out the windows, Jackson Square for a Louisiana culture explosion, and Bourbon Street to enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities.
The most popular places to get your groove on are Uptown and the French Quarter, including Frenchmen Street, a popular strip lined with bars. You'll hear the music before you see it.
The Blue Nile, one of the longest-running music venues on Frenchmen Street, overflows with good tunes. With glowing blue lights, this venue offers three showrooms for live brass, funk and rock bands, as well as popular DJ nights and a weekly improvisational jazz series. Tip: If you head upstairs, you'll have an ideal vantage point to watch shenanigans on Frenchmen Street strip.
One Eyed Jacks:
Located in the French Quarter, One Eyed Jacks is home to local and touring rock, punk and alternative acts. Check out the showroom in back, complete with crimson wallpaper and delightful views of the city.
Named after the song by Professor Longhair, a New Orleans blues singer, Tipitina's is another hotspot for hip live artists. It's situated in Uptown and is a popular hangout for university students. Local favorites such as Dr. John, the Neville brothers and Trombone Shorty have graced this stage. While funk and blues is the venue's foundation, you can expect anything from hard rock to hip-hop to electronic dance music.
To see jazz in true form, make your way to Preservation Hall. This iconic venue mixes music with heritage, offering concerts 7 nights a week. Louis Armstrong once said, "Preservation Hall. Now that's where you'll find all of the greats." All ages are welcome.
Historical LandmarksSt. Louis Cathedral:
As the oldest of its kind in North America, St. Louis Cathedral is not to be missed. The Cathedral was built in 1727, and named after Louis IX, sainted King of France. Without a doubt, this historic cathedral stands as a centerpiece in the New Orleans pedigree. It overlooks Jackson Square, a main hangout in the city, where you'll find street bands, art vendors and mesmerizing magicians.
Lying in the heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is a bustling plaza to hang out, sample sweets and enjoy the fantastic people-watching. In the 18th century, Jackson Square was originally known as "Place d'Armes," but it underwent a name change thanks to Andrew Jackson, the revered army general and president who defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson Square faces the Mississippi River and is surrounded by Presbytere, St. Louis Cathedral and Cabildo. It's open seven days a week and completely free.
National World War II Museum:
This museum has been designated as America's National WWII Museum by Congress, which in itself speaks volumes. The giant building showcases the exclusive Tom Hanks production "Beyond All Boundaries," exhibits on D-Day and interactive experiences that bring to life a nation mobilized for war. Hands-down, this museum is a crowd favorite. The museum offers discounts to students that present a valid form of I.D.
Cities of the Dead:
The above-ground tombs in New Orleans' cemeteries have been dubbed the "cities of the dead." As macabre as it sounds, these ornate burial plots have an unshaken and silent beauty about them. Since the city sits an average of 6 feet below sea level, aboveground graves are a necessity, and you will see that many of them are adorned with Mardi Gras beads. The most popular and oldest site is the St. Louis Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lafayette Cemetery is another good one, as it's been home to a number of movies shot in New Orleans.
If you are planning a trip to New Orleans in the early spring then you may find yourself here during the Mardi Gras celebration, which can occur any Tuesday between February 3rd and March 9th. In 2015 the festivities will begin with parades on February 6th, and Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is February 17th so visitors should plan to arrive no later than Sunday, the 14th, to get the full effect of the celebration. For information on events, visit New Orleans' Mardi Gras website.
Get a real taste of Cajun cooking with a po-boy sandwich. Every local has a different favorite, but generally the top-ranked are Parasol's, which has a mean roast beef sandwich, Guy's Po Boys for a grilled shrimp and catfish mix, and Mother's, serving a roast beef competitor. Where ever you end up going, it's hard to find a bad po-boy in the city.
You can't visit the Big Easy without indulging in fresh beignets. These tasty flaky doughnuts dipped in powdered sugar can be found at Café du Monde. Other folks flock to Cafe Beignet, which has two locations in the French Quarter.
The Camellia Grill:
As a kid-friendly American diner, The Camellia Grill will satisfy your craving of a big juicy burger. Take a seat at the counter and watch the chefs at work. The food is delicious, the service is even better, and if you're looking for a good Southern twist on tradition, this is it.