New Orleans : Top 5 Things To Do27/05/2019
Anyone who has been to America’s South, especially New Orleans, will know that one trip is never enough. Having been four times, I still can’t tick off everything that I’ve wanted to do. That said, here are five things we think any visit should encompass.
1 – Dance to Live Music:
Always, forever, the city of New Orleans’ music is its beating heart – especially true during Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other celebrations. The musical notes of jazz, brass, R&B, soul and many mixes fill the air along with night–blooming jasmine and other fabulous tropical fragrances.
Walk down Frenchmen Street, the main artery of the Marigny neighbourhood, adjacent to the French Quarter, and take in the vibrant blocks of cafes, music clubs and restaurants including Snug Harbor, d.b.a. and the Spotted Cat. This is where the locals go!
New Orleans has produced its share of musical giants, from greats like Louis Armstrong, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint to contemporary acts like Trombone Shorty, Big Freedia and Hurray for the Riffraff.
Preservation Hall, just off Bourbon Street, is always a hit but also visit Rock-N-Bowl in Mid-City, the Maple Leaf Uptown and Vaughn’s in the Bywater. These local ‘dives’ and music venues will keep you dancing all night. It’s all part of the magic, part of the brilliant je ne sais quoi that is found only in New Orleans. Personally, I always head to The Famous Door – on the corner of Bourbon and Conti Streets.
2 – People Watch in the French Quarter:
Often called the Crown Jewel of New Orleans, the French Quarter is one of NOLA’s most historic neighbourhoods. But you’ll find plenty of new mixed in with the old.
There’s a reimagined French Market, modern boutiques and artisan cocktails mixed with beloved antique stores and old restaurants like…Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s and Brennan’s – the world would be far less flavourful without you!
Like the Creole aristocrats lining the galleries of the Historic New Orleans Collection, the French Quarter is a timeless portrait – especially come dusk when swallows glide above the fortunetellers on Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral’s butter-crème-coloured walls reflect the fiery sunset. Ghost tours troop past mad Madame LaLaurie’s mansion while neon signs stutter to life on Bourbon Street where syrupy red Hurricanes, slosh in famed ‘go cups’– those plastic tumblers responsible for uncountable curbside parties. Night falls. Horse hooves clop, music throbs and gaslights flicker in a place full of long-told legends and those waiting to be born. Create one of your own.
3 – Taste Traditional Bites:
What unites everyone in New Orleans is the city’s love affair with its traditional fare. It’s a romance conducted over white-linen tablecloths graced by crawfish étouffée, in a bistro courtyard with a bowl of gumbo or requited on a picnic bench with a po-boy sandwich stuffed with fried oysters. Creole, Cajun, the list could (and does) go on forever.
4 – Take a Cocktail Tour:
Indulging in a drink is serious fun in the city that invented the cocktail and was the inspiration for iconic drinks including the Vieux Carre, Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz and the Grasshopper.
Informed tippling, with the back story thrown into the mix, is a guaranteed good time, shaken or stirred.
Experience neighbourhoods with the neighbours at their local hangouts, or take in some of the more famous New Orleans bars. Cocktail themed tours for the 21-years-of-age and over set deliver sipping and pub crawls all over town.
5 – Discover the Mighty Mississippi River along the Moonwalk:
The Mississippi River looms large in the American identity, from the history and literature taught in schools to the nation’s modern economy.
In New Orleans, you can easily experience the river in all its bustling activity, natural splendour and historical significance via the riverfront area adjacent to the French Quarter. Sweeping vistas, public art, family activities and jumping-off points for riverboat tours are all clustered here along a linear park and walkways.
The Mississippi has always been a working river and for generations most New Orleanians were cut off from any access to it by floodwalls, warehouses and very busy wharves. That began to change in the 1970s through the 1980s, as underused industrial buildings near the French Quarter were razed and replaced by Woldenberg Park, a grassy open space named for local philanthropist Malcolm Woldenberg, and by the Moonwalk, a walkway named for the former New Orleans mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu.
Today the area attracts an estimated 7 million visitors annually.
Live Music W: wwww.neworleans.com/things-to-do/music
French Quarter W: www.neworleans.com/plan/neighborhoods/french-quarter
Traditional Bites W: www.neworleans.com/restaurants/traditional-new-orleans-foods
Cocktails W: www.neworleans.com/things-to-do/tours/cocktail