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Lively Louisiana is slowly picking up the pieces after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on 30 August 2005 and is showing a determination to shake off the sackcloth and ashes and carry on as before. 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.

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.

Time Zones

GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).

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. Various VisiTour passes allow unlimited rides on buses and streetcars, and for streetcar fare and route information visit www.norta.com. The Canal Street Ferry takes passengers across to the suburb of Algiers and is free for pedestrians, offering fine views of the city skyline. Walking, cycling, taxis and rental cars are some of the other options; many tourist areas, like the French Quarter, are most enjoyable on foot. Driving a car in New Orleans may be difficult as many roads are still inaccessible due to hurricane damage.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

LocationThe airport is situated 14 miles (22km) west of downtown New Orleans.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).

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

Car Rental

Car rental companies are situated on the lower level of the airport and include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Airpor TaxisThere are taxicabs available on the lower level outside the baggage claim zone. For one to two persons it costs approximately $28 from the airport to the CBD, for three or more passengers it costs $12 per passenger. Journey time is 30 minutes, dependent on traffic. For queries call the Taxi Bureau on (504) 565-6272.
Airport Facilities

Banks and business centres offer foreign money exchange, ATMs, travellers cheques and a host of other banking and business services. Internet access is available, as well as tax-free shopping, gift shops, a post office, advance baggage check-in, and a visitor information service. Facilities for the disabled are good. There are restaurants on Concourses A, B, D and in the main ticket lobby, while snacks are available on Concourse C.

Car Parking

Short-term parking at Louis Armstrong International Airport starts at $2 for the first hour and charges $2 every half hour thereafter up to a daily limit of $16. Long-term parking charges are similar, but with a daily maximum of $13. All vehicles are subject to a search before parking.


Blaine Kerns Mardi Gras World

In Algiers Point, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, stands a unique studio museum showcasing the famous New Orleans' Mardi Gras. The museum is actually the working studio of foremost carnival float designer, Blaine Kern, for whom producing floats and props for the city's annual
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The Cabildo

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 more
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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 centre 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 sta
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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 the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band serves up first-rate Dixieland Jazz six nights a week in the French Quarter building (originally built as a residence in 1750). On Sundays the Olympia Brass Band performs inste
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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 is a fantastic attraction for kids with a vast selection of exhibits, art activities and educational programs to enjoy. 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 h
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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 playground featuring life-size storybook attractions such as Captain Hook's pirate ship, and an imitation whale from . The traditional wooden carousel at the theme park always draws a cr
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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 consists of six physically separate sites and a park headquarters, including the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, the
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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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