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New Orleans

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Kids Attractions   Events   Restaurants   Shopping   Nightlife  

Introduction Region

When Jean Baptiste Le Moyne picked out the strategic spot on the Mississippi River for his French colony in 1718, little did he know that he had doomed a future city to tragedy nearly 290 years later. Situated on a swamp, and surrounded by the sea, Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, the subsiding city of New Orleans chose to swim rather than sink with the construction of a system of levees, pumps and canals to protect the city from flooding.

However, on the 30 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States, slammed into the region, catapulting New Orleans into world headlines that followed the struggle of the community to cope with extensive damage, loss of life and the flooding of more than 75 percent of the city.

Despite the 'I told you so' attitude of much of the world, the proud residents of New Orleans were more determined than ever to rebuild their city, to bring back the jazz, the extravagant celebrations and the 'Big Easy' lifestyle that once made it the party capital of America. Local musicians have returned home, after-dark options are burgeoning and the strains of jazz and blues rhythms are once again echoing through the streets of the atmospheric French Quarter. Legendary Bourbon Street continues to host carnivals and parades, including the annual Mardi Gras, which has a reputation for being the most scandalous and sensational event on the world's festival calendar.

Besides all the partying, New Orleans has plenty of serious sightseeing to offer. The city is full of picturesque historic buildings, lush parks, interesting museums displaying everything from voodoo culture to modern technology, riverboats and historic streetcars, and of course jazz cafes. But for now evidence of the calamity, as well as the city's determination to survive, take first place in any visitor's 'to do' list.

Climate Info

New Orleans has a subtropical climate with very hot and humid summers and mild winters. Summers in New Orleans are relatively long with high temperatures hovering around 90°F (30°C) from May to September. In winter, from December To February, temperatures average between 44°F (7°C) and a comfortable 62°F (17°C). New Orleans experiences high annual rainfall, most of it falling in late summer, often as a spin-off from tropical storms. Heavy rain during the June to September Gulf Coast hurricane season has occasionally caused flooding in the city. Snow and ice are rarities in New Orleans, but there have been incidences of a 'white Christmas', with light snow.

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Getting Around

When in New Orleans, the vintage electric rail vehicles or 'streetcars' are the way to go. With various lines crossing the city, most destinations are accessible by this means of transport, which costs only $1.25 per ticket. The Jazzy Pass allows unlimited rides on buses and streetcars, for $3 for one day, or $9 for three days. The Canal Street Ferry takes passengers across to the suburb of Algiers and is costs $2, offering fine views of the city skyline. Walking, cycling, taxis and rental cars are some of the other options, with many tourist areas, like the French Quarter, being most enjoyable on foot.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

LocationThe airport is situated 11 miles (19km) west of downtown New Orleans.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).

Switchboard: +1 504 464 0831. Information desk: 504 464 2752.

Getting to city

The Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) stop is on the second level of the airport. Express tickets to the city cost $2. The Airport Shuttle offers a service to/from the hotels throughout the Metropolitan area for $20 per person, one way ($38 return). The Airport Shuttle ticket booths are located in the baggage claim area on the lower level.

Car Rental

Nine car rental companies are represented at the airport and include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Dollar, Payless and Thrifty.

Airpor Taxis

There are taxis available on the lower level outside the baggage claim zone. For one to two persons it costs approximately $33 from the airport to the CBD, for three or more passengers it costs $14 per passenger. Journey time is 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

Airport Facilities

Banks and business centres offer foreign money exchange, ATMs and a host of other banking and business services. Internet access is available, as well as duty-free shopping, gift shops, a post office, advance baggage check-in and a visitor information service. Facilities for the disabled are good. There are a number restaurants and snack bars in the terminal and concourses. Smoking is prohibited in the main terminal building; however, there are designated smoking locations on the upper and lower ramps outside the terminal.

Car Parking

Short-term parking at Louis Armstrong International Airport starts at $2 for the first hour and $2 for every half hour thereafter up to a daily limit of $17. Long-term parking charges are similar, but with a daily maximum of $14. A third, ticketless 'credit card' lot charges $10 per 24 hours. All vehicles are subject to a search before parking.


Mardi Gras World

If you're not able to visit New Orleans during its famous annual festival, don't worry, Mardi Gras World offers the Mardi Gras experience year-round. The museum is actually the working studio of foremost carnival float designer, Blaine Kern, for whom producing floats and props for the ci
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The entertaining and informative Cabildo on Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter explores the history of Louisiana from the first European explorations to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era from a multi-cultural perspective. The museum is the flagship of the Louisiana State M
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D-Day National WWII Museum

The unique D-Day National World War II Museum was founded in 2000 by historian and author Dr Stephen Ambrose and has become regarded as a highlight of any New Orleans sightseeing tour. Situated in New Orleans' Warehouse District, it depicts the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, the Home
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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

New Orleans' state-of-the-art Audubon Aquarium, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, is regarded as the best in America with highly entertaining exhibits. Underwater tunnels allow visitors to marvel at a Caribbean Reef and a re-creation of the Gulf of Mexico, complete with sha
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French Quarter

Regarded as the heart and soul of New Orleans, the French Quarter is the historic part of town covering about 90 square blocks radiating out from Chartres Street and Jackson Square. The Quarter, or Vieux Carre, was established in 1718 as a French military outpost, which was later taken o
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Hurricane Katrina Tour

In the wake of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the United States, Gray Line Tours offers a three-hour bus ride around some of the hardest hit areas in New Orleans, including Lakeview and Gentilly, and is aimed at gathering support to rebuild the city. To respect the privacy of th
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Preservation Hall

Historic Preservation Hall is New Orleans' most popular jazz venue, where Preservation Hall jazz bands serve up first-rate Dixieland Jazz six nights a week in the French Quarter building (originally built as a residence in 1750). There are three individual 45-minute performances nightly
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Louis Armstrong Park

Louis Armstrong Park is a 32-acre sanctuary of green trees and jazz melodies in the heart of the historic old quarter. Inside you'll find Congo Square, the meeting place of slaves in the 19th century. The Visitors' Facility also has exhibits and an indoor performance venue. Occasional fr
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Audubon Insectarium

If it walks, crawls or flies, find it at the Audubon Insectarium. Set in Custom House, the historic, white marble columned structure in Canal Street, this is the largest freestanding insectarium in the United States, devoted to over 900,000 species of insects. View thousands of live bugs
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Besthoff Sculpture Garden

View the priceless sculptures that make up the superb Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The Sculpture Garden provides a unique opportunity for visitors who treasure the arts, with a world-class collection of modern and contemporary sculptures presented in an exquisite natural s
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Louisiana Childrens Museum

The Louisiana Children's Museum offers kids a vast selection of exhibits, art activities and educational programmes to help make learning fun. The kid-sized Winn-Dixie grocery store is a favourite, as are the climbing wall and the giant bubble that kids can play in. Eye to Eye has fun sh
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Mississippi River Boat Rides

Set on the banks of the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a great place to take kids for a boat ride. The Natchez steamboat traverses this great river and passes many of the city's historical sites, while the John James Audubon ferries passengers between the Aquarium of the Americas and
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Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park

Kids in New Orleans love Storyland and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Storyland is a fairytale theme playground featuring 25 larger-than-life storybook attractions such as Captain Hook's pirate ship and an imitation whale from . Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, right next door, al
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New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Voodoo came to Louisiana through African slaves, and has been practised since the early days of the city. New Orleans is known worldwide for its shady association with the darker arts, and the small but fascinating New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum has artefacts and exhibits depicting t
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Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a great place to experience 'bayou life' in Louisiana. The park, which is named after the notorious early-19th century pirate, consists of six physically separate sites and a park headquarters, including the Acadian Cultural Center in
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Grand Isle

A great weekend getaway from New Orleans, Grand Isle is a popular holiday town located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Formerly a busy port of call for pirates like Jean Lafitte, Grand Isle is now a haven for fishing and birdwatching. Grand Isle State Park is home to one of the top w
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Avery Island

Avery Island is located on an eight-mile (13km) deep salt dome located in Iberia Parish, 137 miles (220km) west of New Orleans. Known as the birthplace of Tabasco Sauce, Avery Island is still home to the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory, which offers tours to the public. The island also cont
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Shopping in New Orleans ensures a great selection of antiques, arts, vintage clothing and unique jewellery. There are various malls, markets, boutiques and specialist shops that satisfy most retail desires.

The French Quarter is unsurpassed as a sightseeing/boutique shopping experience. It's also home to legendary New Orleans voodoo shops and some fantastic costume and mask shops, great for Mardi Gras or Halloween, as well as popular New Orleans souvenirs. Magazine Street also has costume and mask shops, as well as stores offering elegant furnishings, hand-smocked garments and local arts. There are various jewellers in town offering unique, custom-made adornments.

New Orleans candymakers have a special touch, and sweets like pralines make popular gifts. Some of the best can be sampled at Southern Candymakers, Leah's Candy Kitchen and Aunt Sally's Praline Shop. Don't forget to sample the best in local music; you'll find great cds of Dixieland jazz at the Louisiana Music Factory and Beckham's Bookshop.

Items such as Louis XIV chairs and African masks are available from numerous antique stores, and the art galleries of Royal Street also hold infinite treasure. And then there's Crescent City Farmer's Market, which sells exotic vegetables, beautiful flowers and fresh seafood. There are various tax refund and tax free options available to visitors.


New Orleans is a city of music and rhythm, most famous for jazz, Cajun and zydeco music, and its nightlife portrays this with enthusiasm. Gambit, Offbeat and WhereY'at, as well as local radio stations, publicise upcoming New Orleans events and venues.

There are countless bars along Bourbon Street, and the party invariably pours out onto the sidewalks; while most places have a cover-charge, it is not always necessary to actually go inside! Some of the best clubs and bars can be found in the Quarter and the Frenchmen section of the Faubourg Marigny.

Preservation Hall is a must for jazz fans, and Maple Leaf Bar is another popular spot for live music. Molly's is said to be the best bar in the French Quarter and Napoleon House offers a fantastic Pimm's Cup cocktail. Ray's Boom Boom Room is fast becoming the trendiest club of the Frenchmen district, and the Blue Nile is the long-standing social hub of the area. The Polo Lounge at Windsor Court is very stylish, favouring Sazeracs cocktails and fancy cigars.


One of the grand old classic New Orleans restaurants, Arnaud's offers a taste of history along with its ambitious menu. Named after its founder, Count Arnaud Cazenave (immortalised in a portrait on the wall), Arnaud's glitters with chandeliers, leaded windows and a mosaic floor. The eatery consists of 13 buildings in the French Quarter, including a brasserie, bistro, grill bar and banqueting halls. The formal main restaurant requires a jacket, and offers raved-about fish dishes, as well as traditional favourites like filet mignon. Open daily for dinner and brunch on Sundays.

Food Type: American     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 813 Bienville Street, French Quarter

Website www.arnauds.com


An institution on Bourbon Street, Galatoire's has been serving up French-Creole specialities since 1905 and still uses many of the original recipes. Starched white linen and shiny crystal set the tone in this establishment where tradition reigns and locals and visitors return again and again to enjoy the fresh local seafood. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Galatoire's requires business casual dress for lunch, and jackets for men starting at 5pm. No shorts or t-shirts.

Food Type: French     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 209 Bourbon Street, French Quarter

Website www.galatoires.com

Steamboat Natchez

The sounds of jazz music and the beautiful skyline of downtown New Orleans provide a wonderful backdrop for a moonlight dinner cruise on the mighty Mississippi River, aboard the Steamboat Natchez. The cost of the two hour cruise for an adult is $102 and $49 for a child, and is inclusive of a traditional southern buffet dinner. (Children under 6 eat free). A Sunday brunch option at 11am is also available, with a mouthwatering buffet menu available for $28.50 for adults and $12.25 for children (6-12). Cruises depart from the Toulouse Street Wharf, opposite Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, at 7pm.

Food Type: American     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 600 Decatur Street, Suite 308

Website www.steamboatnatchez.com


Along the historic Saint Charles Avenue, Herbsaint respects its location's culinary history. The name gives a clue to the seasoning of this French and Louisianian blend of fine dining. An esteemed award-winning chef and classic meals betray the restaurants' casual atmosphere, and an extensive French wine selection puts a classy spin on the delicious gumbo dishes. Reservations are advised.

Food Type: Cajun     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 701 St. Charles Avenue

Website www.herbsaint.com

Camellia Grill

The Camellia Grill in the Riverbend area off the St Charles Avenue streetcar is a favourite haunt for night owls who congregate in the early hours for breakfast, particularly the huge fluffy omelettes with adventurous fillings. The classy diner features white-jacketed waiters, delicious waffles, the best burgers in town and is famous for its chocolate pecan pie.

Food Type: American     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 626 South Carrollton Avenue


Parkway Bakery and Tavern

It's not fine dining, it's better. The po'boy is a New Orleans classic fried sandwhich packed with so many ingredients its better to try one than read about it. Parkway is the best and oldest place to grab a po'boy mouthful, and the shrimp and beef options have been voted the top po'boys in New Orleans. Parkway also doubles as a fun place to grab a beer. Note that Parkway is closed on Tuesdays.

Food Type:     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 538 Hagan Avenue

Website www.parkwaypoorboys.com


The rugged looking restaurant, much like its delicious oysters, betrays just how great this oyster bar is. One of the oldest oyster bars in town, Casamento's serves them every-which-way - although the best way is to line up a big serving of fresh ones on the counter. Cheap prices and reliably incredible oysters make it a favourite for locals.

Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 4330 Magazine St.

Website www.casamentosrestaurant.com


Mulate's is the original Cajun restaurant, featuring authentic Cajun cuisine. Be sure to try the Zydeco Gumbo and don't miss the homemade bread pudding. Live Cajun music and dancing each night attracts many New Orleans visitors; even Bob Dylan stopped by when he was in town. This restaurant/bar is open for lunch and till late at night.

Food Type: Local     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 201 Julia Street

Website www.mulates.com

Ralphs on the Park

Ralph's on the Park offers food fresh from the farms and waters of Louisiana, with a side helping of splendid City Park views. Their shrimp rémoulade is a favourite, creamy and not a bit spicy, and the filet mignon brings mutterings of 'buttery, so buttery&' to mind. The chocolate Kahlúa mousse or Creole cream cheese ice cream on peach cobbler wraps things up nicely. Ralph's is open for dinners and Sunday brunch.

Food Type: Local     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 900 City Park Ave

Website www.ralphsonthepark.com

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, the world-renowned festival with a reputation for being the most scandalous and sensational annual event on the world's festival calendar, has been celebrated in New Orleans in its present form since 1856. The origins of the carnival can be traced back to Roman times, but the date is based on the Christian calendar. Traditionally Mardi Gras day falls on 'Fat Tuesday', the day before Ash Wednesday, usually occurring during late February or early March each year. The history and traditions of the New Orleans Mardi Gras are confusing and complicated, but what it all means to revelling visitors is a series of ever-more exciting spectacular street parades through the French Quarter starting about 10 days before Fat Tuesday, building up to the big day. The whole affair turns into a major street party, with traditional strings of beads being exchanged in return for favours.

Date 2015-02-17 to 2015-02-17     Website www.mardigrasneworleans.com

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

In late April, just before the onset of the summer heat and humidity, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course. Numerous stages simultaneously present a vast cross-section of musical performances by top artists, ranging from traditional New Orleans jazz to Gospel, country, rap, hip-hop and Creole zydeco. In addition to the hundreds of performances and thousands of musicians the festival includes numerous food stalls and hundreds of arts and crafts displays making it a true celebration of the city's culture and heritage.

Date 2015-04-24 to 2015-05-03     Website www.nojazzfest.com

St Patricks Day

No sooner has New Orleans recovered from the revelry of Mardi Gras than it starts all over again, with the celebration of St Patrick's Day being the perfect reason for another round of parades and parties through the downtown area, centred on Bourbon Street. Traditionally it is a day for the locals to gather on the streets and pavements with picnic baskets and umbrellas. Groups parade dancing down the street in costumes of green, dispensing flowers, beads and kisses to the spectators to the tune of amplified live bands on floats and trucks. Spectators call out to the floats to throw something at them, with the most popular items traditionally being cabbages, carrots, onions and the odd potato.

Date 2014-03-17 to 2014-03-17     Website www.stpatricksdayneworleans.com

Gay Easter Parade

Parades and parties are the order of the day again in New Orleans at Easter, this time when the city's gay community turns out to celebrate under the auspices of the Easter Grand Marshals. Thousands of spectators line the streets of the French Quarter to watch the passing floats, carriages, walking groups, bands and motorcycles. The parade aspires to showcase the fashion and creativity of the local GLBT community, with gents traditionally dressing in summer suits or tuxedos and ladies donning their best Easter suits or dresses complete with Easter hat. Nudity is not permitted, but apart from that anything goes with the costumes and conviviality.

Date 2015-04-05 to 2015-04-05     Website www.gayeasterparade.com

French Quarter Festival

Priding itself on being the largest free music festival in the southern states, the annual French Quarter Festival is a showcase for local musicians and a gourmet chance to savour New Orleans' flavour. On the music front, 21 stages and over 800 musicians operate in the historic Vieux Carre district with a diverse programme ranging from brass bands to gospel and traditional jazz. On the food front, over 65 popular local restaurants are invited to contribute to the 'world's largest jazz brunch', which features a smorgasbord of New Orleans specialities, including jambalaya, gumbo and bread pudding. Other special events around the festival include fireworks over the Mississippi, art exhibitions, courtyard tours, music workshops and parades.

Date 2015-04-09 to 2015-04-12     Website www.fqfi.org

Satchmo Summerfest

New Orleans turns out in style to celebrate the city's most beloved and famous son, Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong, in the week of the star's birthday each year. The line up of free events honouring the music man who promoted jazz around the world includes an outdoor festival featuring music performances and local food along with seminars and discussion groups. There are also activities for children, art exhibitions, a jazz mass, parade and a 'club crawl' on the programme, and most events are free.

Date 2015-07-30 to 2015-08-02     Website www.fqfi.org

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