New Orleans is a US port located on the Gulf of Mexico where it meets the delta of the Mississippi River.
The city is named after the Duke of Orleans from France. Its nick name is the Big Easy – which
might refer to the laid back life style of jazz musician origins. New Orleans is influenced by European French and Spanish, known as Creole
and by Canadian Acadian French, known as Cajun. Both cultures have
added their version of spice and seafood synonymous with New
Orleans. The city has a population of more than a million and is best known for Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and the impacts of Hurricane Katrina. See also - New
Orleans with Andrea R.
New Orleans is hot in the summer and humid year round due
to its location on the Mississippi delta in the Gulf of Mexico.
Average summer highs in July and August are 91 F (33 C) and lows
at that time are about 75 F (24 C). From December to
February average highs are about 65 F (19 C) and lows are
roughly 48 F (9 C). Rainfall is fairly constant throughout
the year, but June is the rainiest month. Mardi Gras is a bigger
factor for timing a visit to New Orleans than the weather is.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
is located about 25 minutes west of the major downtown attractions in the
French Quarter. There is no subway system serving the city, so taxi
is the best option. The Rapid
Transit Authority operates 4 streetcar lines in French Quarter and they
add special atmosphere to the city. The St Charles Avenue Streetcar
has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The Canal
Streetcars are bright red and are referred to as Red Ladies. Amtrak provides
connections to Chicago, New York, Orlando and Los Angeles.
The height of Mardi Gras celebrations are a two week period culminating on Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday), which is the day before Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and this occurs 46 days before Easter.
Since Easter is determined by the full moon, the timing for Mardi Gras can vary by nearly a full month each year.
Not to be bound by the variability of the actual date of Mardi Gras, the carnival season starts on January 6th with Epiphany.
The riders on the krewe floats in the parade toss “throws” to spectators.
The most common throws are strings of colored beads, which have become synonymous with Mardi Gras and with partying youth.
The parade route is along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, upriver from the French Quarter, because the streets are too narrow around Bourbon St.
Steamboat Natchez, Mississippi R
Things to see and do in New Orleans:
The French Quarter – more below.
St Louis Cemetery near the French quarter and the Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District.
New Orleans cemeteries are above ground mausoleums. Ride a Red
Lady (Canal Streetcar) to the cemetery from the French Quarter.
– nearly 1,300 acres makes it bigger than Central Park in New York. It includes the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden, the New Orleans Botanical Garden, Storyland playground, the Carousel Gardens amusement park and
NOLA Gondola, for a Venetian gondola ride.
St. Charles Streetcar – ride between the French Quarter and the Garden District.
Garden District – the American version of New Orleans with no French influence. Visit the Pontchartrain Hotel.
Jazz Fest – this town loves jazz and blues, especially in the French quarter.
Swamp Tour – buy a tour at any hotel and venture just out of town to ride an airboat and see alligators in the wild.
Pole a pirogue down the bayou.
Riverbend residential district.
Royal Street – art galleries in the 200 – 400 block.
Julia Street – art galleries with contemporary art in the 600 block of Julia Street. The street is interesting too with thirteen mid-19th century townhouses referred to as Julia Row or the Thirteen Sisters.
The Mississippi River (Big Muddy) – take a dinner cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. Catch a ferry across the Mississippi to Algiers Point and see Mardi Gras World.
The Audubon Institute
includes the Audubon Insectarium, the Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, a swamp tour which features live white alligators and an IMAX theatre with a feature on Hurricane Katrina. Take a zoo cruise between the Audubon Park Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas.
Tour a plantation on Old River Road.
Tour the devastation of Hurricane Katrina from 2005.
Founded by the French in 1718, this small district with Creole influence from the French and Spanish affects its architecture, music and food.
The French Quarter is 13 blocks by 7 blocks, bounded by Canal Street, Esplanade Avenue, Rampart Street and the Mississippi River. View the wrought iron balconies, distinctive window shutters and magnolia trees.
Things to see and do in the French Quarter:
the Cabildo – old city hall
The French Market including Cafe Du Monde
St. Louis Cathedral
Pere Antoine's Alley
Jazz, drinks and New Orleans pub fare.
Hurricane Katrina 2005 aftermath
Savor the Tastes of New Orleans:
Jambalaya - the best known Canjun style spicy
"throw it together" dish in New Orleans.
Crawfish etouffee - Cajun style crawfish.
Gumbo - Creole influenced stew that concentrates more
on bay leaves and sassafras while down playing spicy tastes.
Muffulettas - New Orleans Italian sandwich with
salami, cappicolla, provolone and Italian toppings.