New Orleans is an amazing city in which only festivals can be more powerful than hurricanes. The city is home to jazz, the most interesting gastronomic traditions and incredibly cheerful people who courageously resist the whims of nature. It is best to start exploring New Orleans with a regular walk along the main streets, which in the afternoon literally turn into a huge open-air restaurant.
The thing is that the townspeople are great masters and barbecue lovers, without a cooked favorite treats on an open fire, not a day goes by. Delicious quail, signature spicy sausages and many more interesting meat dishes can be tasted just by walking along the street in the evening. In addition to vans with smokehouses and a grill, you can meet artists, musicians and souvenir sellers on the streets, evening walks in New Orleans will certainly not be boring.
When you want to visit a symbolic place, go in search of the legendary restaurant Dooky Chase (Dooky Chase Restaurant), which is considered one of the oldest restaurants in the city. It is here that you can try the most popular national dishes, including the famous gumbo soup, the secret ingredient of which is the okra fruit. The founder of the restaurant is Leah Chase, she was the mistress and chef of the institution for over 60 years. Over the history of its existence, the restaurant has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt; the opportunity to visit a historical institution today is a great success for all travelers.
Another interesting feature of New Orleans, which not all travelers know about, is the Second Line Street Festival, which takes place in the city every two weeks. If you find out the time of the next festival in advance, you can turn your vacation into an unforgettable event. Festivals are incredibly colorful, noisy and literally span the entire city. They are always attended by street food dealers and musicians, street performers and dancers who select the most incredible costumes for the event. Walking along the streets of New Orleans with a crowd of people singing and having fun is perhaps one of the most incredible entertainment.
The most vibrant tourist area of New Orleans is the French Quarter (French Quarter map), which attracts lovers of excursions with a variety of colonial buildings. There is also the French market (French Market show on the map). Contrary to expectations, you won’t be able to try French delicacies and wines in this market, but here you can buy unique souvenirs in the spirit of New Orleans. One of the most unusual are figurines and attributes in the style of voodoo, lovers of traditional memorable gifts presented a large selection of T-shirts, trinkets and other colorful tinsel.
In the vicinity of the city, you can also visit many interesting and exciting places, including the Alligator Farm. These dangerous and frightening representatives of the animal world are the most important symbol of the state of Louisiana, they are bred on special farms, and then delivered to restaurants where unique national dishes are prepared from alligator meat. Kajun traditions are also preserved in the state; the largest group of kajuns lives in the Akadian area (L Acadiane show on map). To get to the area from New Orleans is not difficult, here you can chat with hereditary alligator hunters and, of course, get acquainted with the unique national gastronomy. New Orleans is generous with surprises and unexpected discoveries, so its guests should not be limited to classic excursions.
Wheeled boat trip Natchez
You will probably be intrigued by the opportunity to cruise the Mississippi on a Natchez paddle steamer. Such ships sailed along this great river in the 17th-18th centuries. Mark Twain described one of them in his famous work on the adventures of Tom Sawyer. The boat leaves the pier daily at 11:30 and at 14:30. First, he will head east, moving to the seaport and the Gulf of Mexico, and then turn back to New Orleans.
During the journey, which lasts 2 hours, you can see New Orleans from the other side, admire the scenery of the coast, swim past warehouses, docks, a tank farm and the business center of the city, take great photos, listen to the guide’s story and enjoy beautiful jazz band music . You can even go into the engine room to see how a 6-cylinder steam engine works.
Traveling through swamps and feeding alligators
A 40-minute drive from the city on the shores of Lake Salvador is the Jean Lafitte National Park with many hiking trails. You will be able to walk through marshy terrain without fear of getting bogged down. You can also walk on floorings made of wooden boards, look at exotic plants and watch the large spiders, bugs, snakes, herons, pelicans, turtles and even American alligators.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to become a passenger of a glider, which is a floating vehicle with an air cushion. With its help, you can travel through the marshes, including at night, without harming the water inhabitants, lighting your way with a pocket flashlight. During the voyage, predatory reptiles will swim close to the side of the ship, and you can treat them with special food provided by the guide.
City Cemetery Tour
An unusual excursion awaits you in New Orleans - a tour of the Lafayette and St. Louis cemeteries, which were used several times as scenery for the films. They are open from Monday to Saturday. Many residents of the city claim that on each of them they saw ghostly figures, heard a strange creak and groans, and also felt cold touches.
Some of Lafayette’s monuments and graves have settled and can fall at any moment right in front of you, while others are a terrible sight, because they are driven out from under the roots of centuries-old trees. Arriving at the St. Louis Cemetery, you can walk along the narrow paths that separate the tombs, houses located above the ground due to the high probability of flooding by groundwater. If you are lucky, you can see the ghost dance of Marie Lavaux, who professed the voodoo religion during her lifetime, and the translucent figure of the torturer of slaves Dolphin LaLori.
Take part in the Mardi Gras Carnival
If you arrive in New Orleans in February, you will be able to attend the annual Mardi Gras Carnival, which takes place on Tuesday, preceding the beginning of fasting with Catholics. At first it took place in the French Quarter and was a costume show dedicated to the meeting of spring. Today it has become a festival of dolls made from all kinds of materials.
You will have the opportunity to attend a satirical performance, see all kinds of platforms moving along city streets, take a walk with your own doll or put on any bright costume and join the procession of fun people who came here from all over the globe. You will also have a fascinating tour of the Blaine Kern Studios hangars, where they produce huge dolls used during the carnival, look at various figures, props and original costumes.