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Lively Louisiana has reclaimed much of its former glory after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on 30 August 2005. Visitors from around the world are once again flocking to New Orleans, not only to view the disaster areas and hear the stories, but to experience the city's traditional toe-tapping Dixieland jazz music, to dine on Cajun cuisine and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle where a carnival atmosphere prevails day and night.

Louisiana is hedonistic and historic, musical and memorable; the American state that feels European has a distinctive scenic beauty and a cultural uniqueness that makes it more than attractive as a holiday destination. It is the cultural variety in particular that gives Louisiana its special appeal, and this is the result of the legacy of the original Native Americans; the French, Spanish and Creole inhabitants of the major city of New Orleans; the Cajuns of South Louisiana; the African slaves and free blacks; the European plantation owners; and settlers of virtually every nationality that have made the State their home. Many of the locals will tell you they were just passing through for a few days, and now find Louisiana their home.

Louisiana's past is just as colourful and varied as its people. It has been governed under 10 different flags since 1541 when Hernando de Soto claimed the region for Spain. At the outbreak of the Civil War Louisiana even became an independent republic for six weeks, before joining the Confederacy. Louisiana was actually sold to the United States by Napoleon in 1803, the purchase being negotiated by President Thomas Jefferson. The reason for all this chopping and changing was because of the region's importance for trade and security in the American mid-west; the mighty Mississippi River flows through Louisiana and access to the mouth is controlled by the city of New Orleans.

Further along the Mississippi visitors marvel at the stately plantation houses of Louisiana's rich landowners of old, and enjoy tasting the sights and sounds of the Mississippi valley, which is one of the most scenic areas in the United States. Just like the renowned Creole dish known as 'gumbo', the State of Louisiana contains a bit of everything.

Climate Info

Louisiana's climate usually remains constant, with semi-tropical conditions throughout the year. Those parts of the state that are in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico tend to be very humid with lots of rainfall, and little difference between summer and winter conditions. New Orleans, for example, is hot and humid for the majority of the year, with well over 180 days of sunshine annually. Some snowfall can occur in the state in winter, but very rarely. Louisiana is prone to hurricanes (June is the start of hurricane season), with the most severe being the recent Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005.

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.


Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR)

LocationThe airport is located four miles (7km) outside of Baton Rouges central business district.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from the first Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

Capital Area Transit System (CATS) provides an express airport service to downtown. The bus leaves hourly and tickets cost $1.75.

Car Rental

Cars from major car rental companies including Hertz, Avis, National, Enterprise and Budget are available at the airport.

Airpor Taxis

A great number of taxi companies service Baton Rouge Airport. From the airport to Baton Rouge city centre, it should cost between $25 and $35 depending on the traffic.

Airport Facilities

Baton Rouge Airport offers a number of amenities, including a children's play room, a reading room, restrooms, a smoking room, a business centre, a food court, gift shops, an arcade, ATMs, Cable TVs, courtesy phones, massage chairs, a nursing room, a non-denominational chapel, shoe shine services, vending machines and a conference room.

Car Parking

Two three-storey parking garages are located directly opposite Baton Rouge Airport terminal. For standard parking it costs $1 per half hour or portion thereof, or $2 per hour for economy parking. For a full 24 hours it's $10 in the standard lot, or $7 in the economy lot. Payment is at check out while exiting the lot and most major credit cards are accepted.


Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV)

LocationShreveport Airport is located four miles (7km) out of the centre of the city.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

The local SporTran bus system has routes from the airport to the city centre, including night buses. The routes that go directly to the airport include Pines Road Route 20, Queensboro Route 3 and Fairgrounds Route 4. All of these routes run to the downtown bus terminal, where you can get connections to most areas in the city. They run from around 6am, until around 6pm at approximately 30 to 45-minute intervals. Night bus Route N-301 runs between the downtown bus terminal and Shreveport Regional Airport every hour, from about 7pm until 12:30am. A variety of private shuttle companies are available at the airport, as are taxis.

Car Rental

On-site rental car companies operate at Shreveport Regional Airport, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty. The companies have rental counters located on the lower level of the terminal building.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis and limousines are available outside the airport.

Airport Facilities

Refreshments are available from Tailwinds restaurant and bar, both before and after security, and there are also a couple of newstands. An ATM can be found near the baggage claim area. Facilities for disabled passangers are available.

Car Parking

Parking is $1 per 20 minutes in all lots, with a maximum of $10 per day in the Quick lot, $9 per day in the Hourly lot and $8 per day in the Daily lot.


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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Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens

Situated on the Burden Research Plantation, run by the Louisiana State University, is the Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens. The museum features an extensive collection of tools, household utensils, furniture, vehicles and farming implements, some outdoors and others housed in some
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Old State Capitol

The historic Old State Capitol Gothic building, once described by Mark Twain as being 'the ugliest thing on the Mississippi', sits on a bluff overlooking the river and today operates as a museum for political and governmental history. The building was completed in 1849 and housed the Lou
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Baton Rouge Nautical Center and the USS Kidd

A highlight of the Baton Rouge Nautical Center is the restored 369ft (112m) World War II Fletcher Class Destroyer, USS Kidd, which is the prime exhibit. Overnight camping experiences on the ship are offered. The center also features a huge collection of model ships, a restored World War
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San Francisco Plantation

Louisiana's most authentically restored 'great house' is the San Francisco Plantation house, sited on the east bank of the Mississippi under centuries-old live oaks, about 40 minutes from downtown Baton Rouge near the small town of Garyville. The galleried house was built by Edmond Bozon
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Louisiana Art and Science Museum

Housed in a historic railroad depot, the Louisiana Art and Science Museum offers educational and entertainment opportunities for visitors of all ages. Featured are changing fine art exhibitions, interactive art and science galleries for children, an Egyptian tomb and a simulated space st
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The city of Lafayette is the hub of the eight-parish area in the heart of Louisiana's southern Acadian region, famed for its unique Cajun and Creole heritage, where the French language is soft on the ear and French traditions prevail. Lafayette, to the east of Baton Rouge, lies at the in
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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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