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NEW ORLEANS, A ONE-OF-A-KIND BLEND OF CULTURES
You may not know this, but up until 1803, the French had colonized a major part of the United States, from Louisiana all the way up to Montana, and even Iowa! At this time, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte decided to sell all the French possessions in North America to the United States.
This historical fact is at the foundation of one of New Orleans’ most prominent features: a multicultural city. With its location right by the Caribbean Sea in the Mississippi river delta, it benefited from cultural importation from France, but also Spain and the French Caribbean territories. And the result is mind-blowing: you will love this mix of French, Spanish, Creole, US and even Cajun cultures!
The colonial city of New Orleans is a museum in itself: walking through its various districts will surprise you and provide you lots of fun. The city offers countless things to do, concerts to see, family activities… In New Orleans, the locals never run out of ideas, so you probably won’t either!
Ten years ago, New Orleans was almost completely destroyed by hurricane Katrina. Though its reconstruction is a long and complicated process, the locals, out of love for their own city and unique lifestyle, have been putting amazing work into rebuilding it. In just ten years, they turned the field of ruins that New Orleans was into a newly up-and-coming city, with a bustling nightlife, activities all year round, and even a rising movie scene: New Orleans wishes to be an alternative to LA, more independent, with less glitter and less movie star craze, but just as thrilling movie productions. During your walks through New Orleans, you certainly won’t miss that as movies are being shot all over the city.
New Orleans has something for everyone. Whether you want to experience it like the locals do, or simply have fun with your family, you will surely have a great time in New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS LIKE THE LOCALS
As said before, no one knows how to have fun in New Orleans as much as the locals. Ensure that you don’t miss out on it by staying at one of the many b&b accommodation options available around the city. This will give you a contact with the locals that few other options will. For a fairly cheap hotel in a traditional area offering a traditional setting, recommendations will send you to the Hotel Villa Convento in the French Quarter. There, you can choose to include a breakfast in your stay or go have it somewhere else to experience even more of New Orleans!
Most tourist guides will tell you to take a tour through the French Quarter, or “Vieux Carré”. In this neighborhood, you’ll see the world-famous Bourbon Street, with many tourist attractions. The locals would tell you that it’s not a very authentic Nola-venue, but more of a tourist attraction. If you want to do it like the locals, head over to Frenchmen Street to find bars with blues/jazz live music and a true traditional New Orleans atmosphere! If you’re a music fan, this should send you to seventh heaven! As you probably know it, Louisiana and the Mississippi River delta are known to be the birthplace of the blues.
The French Quarter houses a blend of French, Spanish and Creole architecture. For an even more local-approved place, take a trip to the Faubourg Tremé, which was made famous by an eponymous series. By walking through this area, you will see born-and-raised New Orleanians relaxing on the front porch of their apartment, or feel your nostrils tickled by the delicious smell of a 100% traditional crawfish boil, which people usually prepare and share in their backyards.
Speaking of food, New Orleans gastronomy reflects its cultural métissage: in addition to crawfish boils, try the typical gumbo, jambalaya, or even a po-boy, a sandwich made from French-style baguette, overstuffed with whatever you want to have in it. There are many restaurants offering this traditional food in New Orleans. No reservations needed, just walk in and enjoy!
To experience New Orleans culture, there is one time of the year that cannot disappoint you. “If you’re going to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras”, sings famous blues artist Professor Longhair. Follow the recommendation of this Nola icon! If you can, take the chance to admire this unique carnival, which once was celebrated in France. See how New Orleans’ unique version of Mardi Gras outlived the French one to become a tradition of its own… With black, white and Cajun people parading together in colorful costumes that the locals spend months preparing ahead of time, make the most of New Orleans’ multicultural dimension!
New Orleans is also known for being part of the gay friendly cities in the Southern US. There are many locations and nightlife venues that are specifically LGBT-oriented and offer great deals to members of the community. And of course, many others where people of all orientations are welcome.
In terms of things to do, New Orleans’ top activities will not disappoint you. In addition to just walking around the city and experiencing its special atmosphere, you can also discover its unique cuisine or find out about its history in the many museums that it houses. Its nightlife is also worth a look. If you’re a blues or jazz fan, perfect! You will have a harder time making up your mind than finding places worth seeing. And even if that isn’t your cup of tea, that doesn’t mean you should go to bed at 10pm and stay there! Above all others, Bourbon street houses many clubs and even adult entertainment venues that play charts music, so you will have fun no matter how or where!
In New Orleans, the water is always near. Between the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne and even the Caribbean Sea, if you want to be close to the water, or even to bathe, there is a place for you. While you’re at it, you can hop on a boat to the Breton National Wildlife refuge, a long island with many rare species on it. And of course, you can head out of the city for a day, to discover Louisiana’s natural environment: the bayou! In this warm and humid hinterland made of swamps, you can visit, among others, alligator farms, and may even get the chance to meet authentic Cajuns!
As for entertainment, don’t miss the Sinners & Saints festival, usually in early May, a particularly gay-friendly event. Mardi Gras also usually features exceptional drag queen contests.
Gay people will have tons of choice in terms of hotels, even if you can’t afford a five-star place. For a nice place in the French Quarter, choose the Hotel Bienville House. At this cozy place, you will be within walking distance of many points of interest.
A TOP DESTINATION FOR FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
Quite understandably, you don’t plan to take your kids out to music bars at night and have fun all night long. That is not a surprise. But does that mean you can’t go to New Orleans with your children? Absolutely not!
Many Nola activities are rated children-compatible, so your whole family can have great fun!
First of all, the city itself is a museum. Discover its colorful houses and tell your children about the amazing history of New Orleans. You can also discover Louisiana’s hinterland, with the well-known Louisiana bayou. Take your children to an alligator farm and let them discover this iconic species!
Still with animals, you might consider taking your family to see the Audubon Zoo & Aquarium: at this amazing location, your kids will see animals that they probably have never seen before! From rare endangered species to monkeys and bright colorful fish, smiles and awws are guaranteed!
Louisiana can even offer you its Children Museum, a place for kids of all ages! In addition, children under the age of 1 get in for free, so literally everyone can enjoy it.
If you’re looking for comfortable motels that will have your entire family over, take a look at the Super 8 New Orleans to have a comfortable, affordable stay. Who needs pools when the beach is as close as it is in New Orleans? During the weekend or any day of the week, take a family trip to the Caribbean Sea and enjoy its marvellous landscapes.
By now, you shouldn’t think New Orleans is no place for children anymore!
Price rangefrom $32to $1,249
- Hotel Aae Bourbon House Mansionfrom $32
- Hotel Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Belle ChasseNew Orleans2from $63
- Hotel Super 8 New Orleans2from $67
- Hotel Crowne Plaza New Orleans - French Quarter4from $122
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