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New Orleans

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New Orleans is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
New Orleans
Map of Louisiana and USA highlighting Orleans Parish.png
Flag of New Orleans, Louisiana.svg
Quick Facts
Government City of New Orleans & Orleans Parish
Currency U.S. Dollar($)
Area 9,726.6 km2(Metro included)
Population 378,715(2011 est.)
Language English, French, Spanish (No official language)
Religion n/a
Electricity 120V/60Hz (U.S. plug)
Time Zone UTC-6/-5

In New Orleans [16], you'll find the roots of jazz and a blossoming culture that has been long described as being unlike anything else in the United States. Founded in 1718, it is one the nation's oldest cities and has an atmosphere rich with a mix of French, Spanish, African-American, Caribbean, Irish, Italian, Haitian, German, and Vietnamese, all creating an energy that can be described as something greater than the sum of its parts. Though hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city continues to rebound, and it remains the largest city in Louisiana and one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.


New Orleans districts map grouped.png
French Quarter
The oldest, most famous, and most visited section of the city. Most tourists will want to center their visit here (though those who explore other parts of town as well will find the city offers additional treats). Many old-line restaurants are in there, along with music clubs, museums, antiques shops, and drinking establishments. Several companies offer organized pub crawl tours which can help save money, and have the added benefit of new friends and other travelers to socialize with.
Central Business District
What many cities call "Downtown" (though in New Orleans this term is often used to refer to a different part of town downriver). Adjacent to the French Quarter; this area has many attractions. This area of the city is the American Sector named for the settlers that migrated to New Orleans following the Louisiana Purchase. In more recent times, the area is commonly referred to as the Central Business District. It is the city's financial district and like many other large cities, has a mix skyscrapers and high rise hotels. At the edge is the Superdome, the largest fixed domed stadium and one of the largest sports venues in the world. . Excellent restaurants, along with many museums (the National D-Day Museum, the Louisiana Children's Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center) and a gallery district located on Julia Street are also found here. This area includes the Warehouse District also known as the Art's District.
Downriver (Marigny, Bywater, 7th, 8th, and Upper 9th Wards, Lower 9th Ward)
Old neighborhoods "Downriver" from the French Quarter. The Marigny's Frenchmen Street is the leading authentic music district. Marigny and neighboring Bywater have a hip Bohemian vibe. Some is starting to spread into the "back of town downtown" 7th 8th and Upper 9th Wards, much of which is still struggling post-Katrina but contains quirky attractions like the St. Roch Cemetery. The Lower 9th, notorious as one of the worst hit in Hurricane Katrina, also has some unexpected historic sites.
Uptown (Uptown, Audubon & University District, Carrollton)
19th century residential neighborhoods upriver from the CBD, famous for beautiful historic architecture including the Garden District. The St. Charles Avenue streetcar runs through here. The Uptown sections contain some of the City's best local restaurants. Magazine Street hosts some 80 blocks of antique stores, art galleries, interior designer studios, and clothing stores ranging from funky thrift shops to upscale boutiques. Popular Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo, Tulane and Loyola Universities, and the Riverbend and Old Carrollton section at the far end of the streetcar line.
Middle (Mid-City and Esplanade Ridge, Tremé, Central City)
Central part of town, with historic attractions and many great restaurants more known to locals than visitors. Mid-City is home to City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Botanical Garden, and beautiful historic cemeteries; New Orleans Fair Grounds (a racetrack that hosts the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every spring) is in old Espalande Ridge. Tremé is an Historic Franco-African (Creole) neighborhood inland from the French Quarter. Central City is another historic mostly Black neighborhood, at present more troubled.
Lakeside (Lakeview and Lakeshore, Gentilly, Eastern New Orleans)
Northern parts of the city around Lake Pontchartrain. Mostly newer parts of town generally unknown to visitors, but includes restaurants (including the popular cluster of eateries along Harrison Avenue in Lakeview), historic forts, impressive Art Deco and other 20th century architecture, and a smattering of other attractions. A series of pretty parks line the edge of the lake in the neighborhoods west of the Industrial Canal. Eastern New Orleans covers a large area, including the Little Vietnam neighborhood, historic Lakefront Airport and Fort Pike.
The part of New Orleans across the Mississippi River. Includes historic old Algiers Point neighborhood; the ferry ride across the Mississippi alone is worth the trip.

Nearby communities and suburbs:[edit]



Bourbon Street, French Quarter at night

New Orleans is known for a host of attributes like its famous Creole food, abundant alcohol, music of many styles, nearby swamps and plantations, 18th & 19th century architecture, antiques, gay pride, streetcars, museums. Nicknamed the Big Easy, New Orleans has long had a reputation as an adult oriented city. However, the city also offers many attractions for families with children and those interested in culture and the arts. It is a city with a majority Roman Catholic population owing to its European origins.

Famous festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest bring in tourists by the millions, and are the two times of the year when one needs to be sure to book well in advance to be sure of a room. The city also hosts numerous smaller festivals and gatherings like the French Quarter Festival, Creole Tomato Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, the Essence Festival hosted by the magazine, Halloween parading and costume balls, Saint Patrick's Day and Saint Joseph's Day parading, Southern Decadence, and so many more. The city takes almost any occasion for an excuse for a parade, a party, and live music, and in New Orleans most events often have a touch of Mardi Gras year round. Like they say, New Orleanians are either planning a party, enjoying one or recovering from one. Party down!


Jackson Square is the historic heart of the French Quarter

In the late 1600s, French trappers and traders began settling in what is now New Orleans, along a Native American trade route between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain via Bayou St. John. In 1718 the city was officially founded as "Nouvelle-Orléans" by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, Governor of the French colony of Louisiana, with the intent to build it into a provincial capital city. The early French city grew within the grid of what is now the French Quarter. Louisiana was transfered to Spanish rule in the 1760s, but much of the population retained French language and culture. After briefly returning to French rule, Louisiana was purchased by the United States in 1803. At first the new "American" settlers mostly built their homes and shops upriver from the older French parts of the city, across wide "Canal Street" (named for a planned canal that was never built). Canal Street was the dividing line between the Anglophone and Francophone sections; the street's wide median became a popular meeting place called "the neutral ground" -- and "neutral ground" became the common phrase for the median of any street, still in use in the New Orleans dialect today.

A British attempt to seize the city in 1815 was repelled downriver from the city in Chalmette by local forces led by Andrew Jackson, whose equestrian statue can be seen in the square named after him in the center of the old Quarter.

Early New Orleans was already a rich melting pot of peoples and cultures. French Spanish African and Anglos were joined by immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and the Caribbean. While a center of the slave trade before the American Civil War, New Orleans also had the USA's largest population of free people of color. The city grew rapidly as a major trade center on the mighty Mississippi River. In the American Civil War of the 1860s, New Orleans fell to the Union early in the conflict without battle within the city, sparing the city's rich historic architecture from the destruction suffered by much of the American South.

At the start of the 20th century, the then largely neglected old French Quarter started gaining new appreciation among artists and bohemians for its architecture and ambiance. Around the same time, a new musical style developed in the city; the music developed and swept around the world under the name of "jazz".

Although far from the big battlefronts, New Orleans is proud of its contributions to the Allied victory over Fascism in World War II, especially the development and construction of landing craft such as "Higgins Boats" which made rapid landing masses of troops on hostile beaches possible. This legacy is why America's National World War II Museum is located in the city.

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath[edit]

In August 2005 New Orleans and the surrounding area was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Much worse than the hurricane was the failure of the federally designed levee system; in what has been called "the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history," some 80% of the city flooded.

New Orleans was not destroyed, but the flood was a severe blow, perhaps the worst disaster to hit a U.S. city since the great San Francisco earthquake 99 years earlier. Nearly 10 years later, many visitors might notice little or no sign that anything bad happened. For locals however, in many parts of town rebuilding is still an ongoing process. The French Quarter and other oldest parts of town most popular with visitors were built on comparative high ground, and were less damaged and have been more quickly restored. However, not everything is back to normal in the city; scenes of devastation can be still seen in many neighborhoods. More than two-thirds of the city's pre-Katrina population is back living in the city; most of them have a fierce love of their city and have faced many hardships in their continuing efforts to rebuild it bit by bit.

The city's public services - especially police - have struggled to return to their full strength, and are dealing with a city where decades of neighborhood stability have been disrupted. The city overall has experienced an increase in crime as a result. (See "Stay safe" below.)

While some visitors decide to confine their trip to the more fully intact parts of the city or just visit the worse hit areas as part of a half-day "disaster tour", for others the historic events of Katrina and its aftermath are the focus of their visit.

Volunteer projects such as “New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity”[18] which builds new houses has attracted volunteers doing good work. Organizations such as[19] are vigilant in encouraging further investigation into the flooding and hurricane protection issues surrounding New Orleans, and visitors to the city are encouraged to tour ravaged areas and help keep alive the attention needed to restore New Orleans to its original grandeur.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 62 65 71 78 85 89 91 90 87 80 71 65
Nightly lows (°F) 43 46 52 58 66 71 73 73 70 60 50 45
Precipitation (in) 5.1 5.5 5.3 4.8 4.9 5.6 6.6 5.9 5.4 2.8 4.5 5.3

Check New Orleans's 7 day forecast at NOAA

A local joke has it that New Orleans really does have four seasons: Summer, Hurricane, Christmas, and Mardi Gras. Summer is certainly the longest; for about half the year, from about late April to the start of October, the days are usually hot, or raining, or hot and raining. The city has a humid subtropical climate. Winters are mostly mild, and only occasionally chilly. Snow is so rare that the occasional light dusting of flakes will make most locals stop what they are doing to stare; they'll excitedly show the phenomenon to local children too young to remember the last time snow visited the city. If you happen to be visiting town during a rare freezing event, be forewarned that most locals have no idea how to drive on iced or snowy roads.

The Atlantic hurricane season (which includes all of the Gulf of Mexico) is June 1 through November 30. The most active month is September.

Between October and April the temperatures are more comfortable. Although heat and humidity can be intense in the summer, a rewarding visit can be made even during this season: start your day early, and do your outdoor sightseeing in the morning. The lush local flora can display a wealth of colorful flowers. In the afternoon, retreat to air-conditioning by visiting a museum, having lunch at a cafe or restaurant, or take a siesta at your hotel. Come back outside when the sun gets low. After dark the night shift of flora comes on duty; especially in older neighborhoods such as Esplanade Ridge, Carrollton, the Garden District, etc with an abundance of night-blooming jasmine, the sweet deliciously scented air can be almost intoxicating.

Creoles, Cajuns, and New Orleanians[edit]

Despite what many visitors expect, the population, food, music, and traditions of New Orleans are not predominately Cajun. The Acadian or Cajun (from 'Cadien, pronounced kay-juhn) people developed their rich culture to the west of the city, in the Acadiana section of Louisiana. While there are some good places for Cajun food and music in the city—some are branches of famous Southwest Louisiana Cajun places that opened up locations here—understand that Cajun food and culture are a recent import that has no roots in New Orleans. Unfortunately a number of businesses in the most tourist heavy parts of town decided to profit by selling visitors what they thought they wanted, slapping the term "Cajun" on dishes and products with little to do with Acadiana.

The oldest aspects of New Orleans culture are Creole, which designate the people that were already here before the city became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. French, Spanish, and African are the primary ethnic and cultural groups in old Creole culture, with additional input from Native Americans and early German immigrants (who became much more numerous later in the 19th century).

Since the Louisiana Purchase, other major immigrant groups and influences on local cuisine and culture have included Italian (mostly Southern and Sicilian), Irish, German, Caribbean and Central American. Hondurans are traditionally the largest Hispanic group in the metro area, but after Katrina, there is now an influx of Latinos, mostly hailing from Central America and Mexico that have decided to stay after helping in the construction boom in the aftermath of Katrina. Smaller populations of Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans are also sparsely located throughout the area. In the late 20th century a sizable Vietnamese community was added to the New Orleans population. They can be found in greatest concentrations in New Orleans East and portions of the Westbank suburbs (Marrero, Harvey, & Gretna).

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Louis Armstrong International Airport (IATA: MSY, ICAO: KMSY) [5] is the city's largest and primary airport. It located in the suburb of Kenner. Following a dip in service after Hurricane Katrina, the airport has since continued to rebound, hosting 10 million passengers in 2012. It is currently the 6th busiest airport in the southeast. Louis Armstrong International serves 37 destinations throughout North America along with international flights. It is one of only four cities given permission to fly to and from the country of Cuba. Additional flights are continuously being added and the airport in currently preparing for one its largest expansions by building a new terminal. European vacation packages are available from the UK on several British airlines who offer charter/cruise services nonstop to the Crescent City.

Airlines with regularly scheduled service to New Orleans:

  • Air Canada (Toronto)
  • Air Transat (Montreal)
  • Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma)
  • Allegiant Air (Orlando/Sanford)
  • American Airlines (Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, Washington-National)
  • British Airways (London Heathrow)
  • Copa Airlines (Panama City)
  • Delta (Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City)
  • Frontier Airlines (Austin, Denver, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio)
  • Jet Blue (Boston, New York-JFK)
  • Southwest (Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Cancun, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington-National)
  • Spirit Airlines (Atlanta, Baltimore, Cancun, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Bush, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Newark, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, San Pedro Sula, Tampa)
  • United (Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles)

To get into town a taxi ($36 for one or two people, $14 per person for three or more) is quickest; that's the flat fee from the airport to any spot in the French Quarter or Central Business District. Limo service is also available for rates starting at $35, and the airport shuttle [20] is $24 ($44 return). See the airport website [21] for other options.

A cheap way to get to town is the Jefferson Transit Airport Express route E2-Airport [22], which is only $2 (But be warned: The bus has no luggage racks and sometimes the driver won't leave until the aisle is free of luggage). On weekdays, the bus runs straight down Airline Highway (US 61) to "Tulane at Loyola" in the New Orleans Central Business District; the trip takes 45 minutes. (From this intersection, you can take the Loyola-UPT Streetcar down to the French Quarter. Or simply walk toward the river, deeper into the central business district, and take a left, crossing Canal Street and into the French Quarter.). On weekends the bus terminates at "Airline at S Carrollton" which is far from downtown. From there you can walk 7 blocks northeast until Canal St. from where you can take a streetcar.

The Airport bus stop is on the second level of the airport, outside door #7 near the Delta counter on the west end of the terminal, in the median (look for the sign and bench); the stop is a fair walk from the east end baggage pickup, and you'll probably have to ask at an information desk to find it.

Many major hotels have shuttle buses from the airport. Even if you're not staying at one of those hotels, the shuttles can often be a value for those getting in to town if their destination is near one of the hotels.

In April of 2015, Uber was introduced to Orleans Parish. It is a great and affordable way to get around town. There is a dedicated area where you can catch an Uber (or Lyft) from the airport - exit the airport opposite Baggage Claim number 8 and follow the signs across the pedestrian walkways.

New Orleans Lakefront Airport (IATA: NEW[2], ICAO: KNEW, FAA LID: NEW) is a primarily charter and private airport, however commercial flights are available to destinations within the Gulf South Region.

By car[edit]

The primary artery into and out of the city is Interstate 10, which travels east to west through the city and the its south shore suburbs. Interstate 12 bypasses the city proper on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, serving the suburban communities of the north shore. US 90 and US 61 also serve the city and metropolitan area, with US 61 terminating its route near the city's central business district. The city is also served by Interstates 510, 610, 310, and the unsigned Interstate 910. Principal north and south bound arteries are Interstates 49, 55, and 59.

By train[edit]

Greyhound [23] and Amtrak [24] service the Union Passenger Terminal, an intermodal facility located at 1001 Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District. It is within walking distance of the Super Dome and Champions Square.

Three Amtrak routes pass through New Orleans: City of New Orleans, Crescent, and Sunset Limited.

The new Loyola Avenue Streetcar line links the Union Passenger Terminal with Canal Street.

By bus[edit], 1-877-462-6342, [1]. Express bus service to/from Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Memphis, Mobile, Montgomery, Tallahassee, and Orlando. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1.  edit

Get around[edit]

Bourbon Street

If you are visiting the French Quarter, casinos, or just the Central Business District, a car may be more of a burden than an asset. Most hotel parking is valet/remote/expensive/difficult at best. New Orleans is ready for visitors, and the rapid transit, streetcars and buses are plentiful 24/7. Walking is fun and healthy during daylight and early evening. After midnight, you may want to call a taxi, but likely it will be a short trip at reasonable cost. For a great way to see the city, try renting a bike from one of the several bike rental companies in the French Quarter or Marigny.

With a car[edit]

Be alert that the streets of much of the city were laid out before the automobile, especially in the older parts of town of most interest to visitors. There are many one way streets, and in some neighborhoods two-way side streets may be so narrow that cars going one way may need to pull to the side to let vehicles going the other way pass when someone has parked on the street.

Due to consolidation of the underlying soils, potholes are common and road conditions are often poor for a developed country.

Street signage is sometimes unclear or missing, and some signage lost in Katrina not yet replaced, although the situation has been improving significantly. Louisiana is one of only a small handful of states that require you to completely clear the intersection before the traffic signal turns red (without speeding). Always stop at yellow lights if it's safe to do so.

Parking is often hard to find around many areas of interest to tourists, but there are generally pay lots in the area. Hotel parking can cost over $30/night downtown and in the French Quarter.

Those who don't know how to parallel park may wish to just leave their car in a pay lot when visiting much of the city.

Without a car[edit]

New Orleans streetcar network (interactive version)

Those staying in or near the French Quarter can easily get around by foot, with optional occasional trips by streetcar, bus, or cab if they wish to visit other parts of town. Bicycle rentals are available on Bienville and on Decatur Streets in the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street in the Marigny among other places.

The Riverfront, Canal Street and St. Charles streetcars travel to or near many of the sites listed here. In 2013 a spur streetcar line opened on Loyola Avenue, linking Canal Street to the main branch public library and Union Terminal. Fares for buses or streetcars are $1.25, 25¢ extra for a transfer (good only on another line but not a return trip on the same line). Express buses are $1.50. Day passes are available for $3. Have exact change ready; operators do not provide change.

Public transit is by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ("RTA") [25].

Note on Mardi Gras: During Mardi Gras in February or March (check calendar since it changes but the final day known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday), transportation of any sort will be a challenge. If you decide to get your own car, parking will be exorbitant (as high as $10 per hour) in the French Quarter and the City Area. Should you try to get a taxi, chances are you will have to call more than one company, and several times each, before you get a booking. After that, you will probably have to wait an average of 45 minutes to one hour. If you wish to travel from across town during Mardi Gras, is strongly recommended that you do get a car and park close to the streetcars or just outside the city area.

Knowing which way is up[edit]

The older neighborhoods of the city, (which comprise nearly 45% of the city), were laid out along the banks of the Mississippi River. Except for the grid of the French Quarter, streets were laid out either following the river's curves or perpendicular to them, not according to compass directions or a grid.

For this reason, locals in these parts of town often don't give directions according to "north, south, east, and west". The four directions, instead, are "up" (or "up river" or "up town"), "down" (or "down river" or "down town"), "river" (or "towards the river" or sometimes "in"), and "lake" (or "towards the lake" or "back" or sometimes "out"). Don't be daunted, this makes sense when you take a moment to understand it.

Look at a map of the city. If, for example, you are taking the streetcar that runs along Saint Charles Avenue from the French Quarter to Carrollton, you see that the route starts off going south, then over some miles gradually turns west, and winds up running northwest. This is because Saint Charles reflects a bend in the river. From the local perspective, the entire route goes one way: up (or on the return trip from Carrollton to the Quarter, down).

Know that Canal Street is the up river boundary of the French Quarter. (Keep going further "up" away from the Quarter and you'll be in "Uptown".)

Some streets are labeled "North" and "South", this reflects which side of Canal Street they are on (despite the fact that Canal Street runs from southeast to northwest). The part of Rampart Street on the French Quarter side is North Rampart Street; the part on the Central Business District side is South Rampart. Also, a good map of the entire city is a must, as people from out of town may have to learn to simply match letters on signs to letters on the map. You see, most street names are French and Creole in origin and may be hard to pronounce. For instance, try to pronounce these example street names : Urquhart, Rocheblave, Dorgenois, Terpsichore, Tchoupitoulas, Burthe, Freret. (For the record, locals say "Urk-heart, Roach-a-blave, Der-gen-wa, Terp-sic-cor, Chop-a-two-lis, B'youth, Fa-ret.") Now you understand.

Many major New Orleans streets are divided, with a "neutral ground" (median) running down the middle. For this reason, the traffic lights have no dedicated cycle for a protected left turn. On streets with a wide neutral ground, there is a solution. Imagine turning from an avenue to a street; the solution is to turn left on green, queue in the stretch of the street between the two halves of the avenue, then proceed once the traffic light on the street has turned green. On streets with a narrow neutral ground, there is not enough room for cars to queue. In these situations, left turns are often prohibited; the solution is to go straight, take the next U-turn, then take a right turn when you arrive back at the intersection. Streets such as Tulane Avenue famously have "No Left Turn" signs posted for miles. In these situations, the adage "three rights make a left" comes in handy.

See[edit][add listing]

Voodoo in the Bywater

Detailed listings of attractions are mentioned in the Districts sections listed above. Highlights include:

  • Historic architecture in neighborhoods
    • Ornate colonial French and Spanish in the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater and Tremé
    • Victorian mansions Uptown and other historic architecture citywide
  • Historic cemeteries are in the Uptown, Tremé, and Mid-City areas
  • Superdome, in the Central Business District
  • Museums and Aquarium, Central Business District
  • Audubon Zoo in the Audubon & University District
  • New Orleans Museum of Art [26] and City Park [27] in Mid-City
  • the Mississippi River - great views from the French Quarter, the Algiers ferry, and the Audubon Zoo "Butterfly" park uptown
  • St. Louis Cathedral [28] holds regular celebrations of the Catholic Mass
  • The National WWII Museum [29] tells the American story of the war that changed the world.

Special interests[edit]

Childrens' attractions[edit]

Some top children and family friendly attractions in New Orleans include:

Occult and Voodoo destinations[edit]

Be respectful and careful; these places are used as real cult places, and are not really appropriated for simple tourists.

  • Tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery #1, Treme
  • The Alombrados Oasis[30] hosts the Gnostic Mass and frequent classes on Magick; Bywater
  • Island of Salvation Botanica [31] distributes Voodoo goods and holds Voodoo ceremonies in the Marigny
  • Esoterica [32] supplies wares, herbs, and oils in the French Quarter.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Stroll historic neighborhoods look at the architecture and businesses, and people watch in the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Faubourg Tremé, Bywater, Esplanade Ridge, Uptown, Algiers Point and Carrollton
  • Streetcar rides St. Charles Avenue (green cars) is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the U.S.; the Canal Street route also provides a pleasant ride
  • Riverboat cruises - short or long cruises, some of which have quite good jazz bands on board. Enjoy the Steamboat Natchez Riverboat Cruise. Great way to enjoy 3 attractions-in-one...New Orleans food and music during a cruise down the Mississippi. Aquarium-Zoo Cruise - riverboat cruise package is a great way to see the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo
The Natchez Riverboat provides sight-seeing and entertainment
  • River ferry - the budget alternative to riverboats, take the pedestrian ferry ($2 each way) from the foot of Canal Street across the Mississippi to Algiers Point and back for a great view of the river, downtown, and the Quarter
  • Walking tours including voodoo, jazz history, French Quarter, or Garden District ones
  • Bicycle Tours for history, architecture, or hurricane damage.
  • Casino gambling at Harrah's next to the Quarter in the Central Business District. Voted "Best Casino" by the readers of "Casino Player." This "world-class" casino offers over 2000 of the newest slots and over a hundred action-packed table games along with a buffet, Besh Steakhouse and many other food options.
  • Antique shopping up & down Royal St in the Quarter or Magazine Street Uptown
  • Cooking classes - learn how to cook meals like a local when you return home. A four-course meal is demonstrated by excellent chefs, who will entertain you as well as teach you the secrets of Creole and Cajun cooking.
  • Carriage rides - Take a carriage ride while you're in New Orleans ... and enjoy a tour of the French Quarter (Garden District tours available, too!) Quaint mule-drawn carriages take you past many landmarks of New Orleans, including Bourbon Street, the mighty Mississippi, and Jackson Square.
  • Celebrate Mardi Gras - The two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday is a period of celebration in the city, with parades and parties throughout.
  • Mardi Gras World - with thousands of sensational sculptured props and giant figures -- it's the place where Mardi Gras floats are made. A great place to get the Mardi Gras spirit year-round; at the edge of the Central Business District
  • Museums - Museum highlights include: National World War II Museum (formerly D-Day Museum), Central Business District. New Orleans Museum of Art, Mid-City; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Central Business District; French Quarter museum highlights include the Cabildo and Presbytere history museums, The Old Mint, and several house museums.
  • Cities of the Dead - Historic cemeteries
  • Run. there are great road races such as the Mardi Gras Marathon, and the somewhat more whimsical Red Dress Run (everyone wears a red dress and running shoes, men and women).

Day trips outside of town[edit]

  • Swamp tours - those with a car can make an easy day trip to the Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve, a free park, with as good a view of local swamp flora and fauna as various pay tours. Honey Island Swamp Tours Inc. - nearly 70,000 acres of the Honey Island Swamp is a permanently protected wildlife area. Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours - Cajun-style boat tour takes you out on an 1 hour and 45 minute trip through the heart of Southern Louisiana's swamplands. Some swamp tours also have vans that can pick you up at your hotel and take you to the swamp tour location, though this can be significantly more expensive option than driving yourself.
  • Plantation tours - the Great River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge has several fine plantations, "Laura"and "Magnolia Mound" (Creole Plantations) and "San Francisco" are of special interest.
  • Battle of New Orleans Site - Battlefield history fans will want to visit the site of the famous battle where Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the end of the War of 1812. It didn't actually happen in New Orleans, but in the nearby community of Chalmette, Louisiana. Drive there or take a riverboat.


In addition to year-round attractions, a series of celebrations and festivals provide additional interest:

  • Mardi Gras
  • New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, [33]. Also known just as Jazz Fest. Held the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May every year at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, F-Su 11AM-7PM. It is second only to Mardi Gras for importance and size for New Orleans. The festival has been held every year since 1970. The true heart and soul of the Jazz Fest, as with New Orleans, is music. That includes jazz, both traditional and contemporary, Cajun music, blues, R&B, gospel music, folk music, Latin, rock, rap, country music and bluegrass. But it's not just music. This is a cultural feast with food and crafts. There are thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople at the festival and 500,000 visitors each year. Visit the two large food areas where you can sample Louisiana cuisine and see demonstrations from top New Orleans chefs. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen.
  • French Quarter Festival [34] Big free music festival at multiple locations all around the French Quarter each Spring, usually the week before the start of JazzFest.
  • Essence Festival [35] Big music festival in the Superdome and Convention Center in early July.
"Running of the Bulls" New Orleans style
  • San Fermin en Nueva Orleans [36] Started as a bit of silliness by a bunch of friends in 2007: The idea was to replicate the famous "running of the bulls" in Pamplona, but with roller-derby girls with plastic baseball bats serving as the "bulls" chasing the runners. It caught on, and now attracts thousands of participants and even more spectators each July in the French Quarter and CBD.
  • Satchmo Summer Festival [37] First held in 2001 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of New Orleans jazz legend Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. Organizers were unsure how many people would come out for a music festival in the August heat, but it was such a success that it's been repeated ever since. On and around the grounds of the Old Mint on Esplanade in the lower French Quarter, first weekend in August.
  • Southern Decadence [38] Each summer, big event for Gays and those who love and respect the Gay community. This event is on Labor Day weekend.
  • Halloween. While not as large a celebration as Mardi Gras, Halloween is still a big deal in New Orleans. Locals begin costuming two or three days in advance, with most of the action Halloween night being, of course, in the French Quarter, which becomes a veritable parade of costumes ranging from the traditional to the satirical. Families can enjoy Halloween festivities in their own neighborhoods or at various events around the city specifically geared for children.
  • Voodoo Experience [39] - The pop/alternative/contemporary counterpart to the Jazz Fest hosting multiple stages in City Park over 3 days around Halloween time.
  • Neighborhood festivals. Some of the smaller neighborhood based events are listed in the individual neighborhood articles; they often offer great local music and food in a more intimate setting.


Although the city has made great strides in its post-Katrina recovery, many neighborhoods like Gentilly and the Lower Ninth Ward remain in need of help as their residents rebuild their lives. Volunteers and work groups do much of the work for organizations like the St. Bernard Project [40] or Rebuilding Together, working alongside homeowners to restore their lives. Annunciation Mission[41] links volunteers to work projects and provides lodging and meals to individuals, mission trips, and groups of all faiths and sizes.


New Orleans is justly famous for the music it produces. In some other places live music may be thought of as occasional luxury; in New Orleans live music is an essential part of the fabric of life. Parades from the grandest Mardi Gras spectaculars to small neighborhood club events have to have bands to get the locals dancing in the streets. Hey, New Orleans is the birthplace of the "jazz funeral".

There are usually several good performers somewhere in town even on a slow night. Understand that most of the good stuff is not along the tourist strip of Bourbon Street (though a couple of genuine good music venues exist even there). Most sections of the city have at least one (and often several) venue offering great live music.

Budget travelers should know there are usually at least a few free live music events every week in various parks and galleries around town. More often than not, on Sundays there will be a brass band "second line" parade somewhere in town.

The best ways to keep informed about who is playing where and when:

  • Gambit's Best of New Orleans [42], Gambit, the city's free local newsweekly has features on arts and entertainment and whatever else is going on. Gambit also produces the de-facto local restaurant guide and listings.
  • Offbeat Magazine [43] is a free monthly local music magazine with extensive listings. Can be picked up at most music venues, coffee shops, and other places around town, or ask your hotel concierge for a copy.
  • WWOZ 90.7 F.M. [44] is the community radio station dedicated to local music. At the top of each odd numbered hour they play a listing of the live music happening around town for the day. WWOZ is also good for finding out about special events like "second line" parades and "jazz funeral"s.
  • WTUL 91.5 FM [45] is the Tulane college radio station, playing mostly progressive music, but also jazz, classical, and numerous other specialties. At the top of each hour they announce concerts and other events going on around town.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Individual listings can be found in New Orleans's district articles

Okay, so you're hungry. You've come to the right place. New Orleans is a culinary delight, but don't look too hard for healthy food; some would say don't look at all (although those demanding vegetarian, vegan, or kosher food can, with effort, find some). You're on vacation, so take advantage of what they prepare best here. New Orleans has good food for people on any type of budget.

While most places take major credit cards, "cash only" restaurants are perhaps a bit more common here than other places, so plan in advance.

The main culinary tradition in New Orleans is Creole - which means the culture and its cuisine already flourishing when Louisiana was purchased by the U.S. in 1803. The Creoles were the peoples originally in New Orleans from its founding. Creole has a mixture of influences, including French, German and Spanish with a strong West-African foundation. Creoles cook with roux and the "trinity," a popular term for green pepper, onion and celery. These are the base for many savory dishes. 19th century southern Italian immigrants added increased appreciation for garlic -- an old local joke calls garlic the "Pope" to the culinary "Trinity" -- along with tomato based sauces and other dishes. (The influences went both ways; some New Orleans "Italian" restaurants have their own take on the Italian tradition, sometimes called "Creole Italian".) Eastern European, Latin American, Vietnamese, and other immigrants have added to the New Orleans mix. Thus New Orleans cuisine is rich in tradition while open to new ideas, and culturally inclusive while still uniquely distinctive.

The seafood is fresh and relatively cheap compared to many places. Some think it is often best fried, but you can try seafood of a wide variety cooked many different ways here. Note: Some visitors have recently expressed concern about the safety of local seafood due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Seafood that makes it to the markets and restaurants is safe. Oil affected areas are closed to fishing, and catches from unaffected areas are being inspected in even more detail than usual. Some items, such as oysters, may be in shorter supply.

"Po-boy" shop on Magazine Street, Uptown

Oysters are a popular specialty, gulped down raw, battered and fried, in a po' boy sandwich, or elegant Rockefeller style.

There may on occasion be some exotic items on the menu. Yes, you can have alligator if you’d like - it mostly tastes like chicken (but chewier). The softshell crab can be excellent. If it's on the menu of a good restaurant, it's probably pretty good -- when in doubt, ask.

Crawfish (don't say "cray" fish) is a popular dish here, usually boiled in a huge pot of very spicy water and served in a pile with corn and potatoes. If cracking open the shells and sucking the heads isn't your thing, try them with pasta or in sushi or any other way they’re prepared.

Po-boys (don't say "poor boys") are the distinctive New Orleans variation of the sandwich. Unless you request your sandwich put on something else like sliced white bread (while you're in New Orleans, don't bother), it will be served on a po-boy loaf, similar to French bread; bread pundits debate whether the New Orleans po-boy bread is the same thing as the baguette of France or qualifies as its own unique type of bread (some say it actually IS French bread but because of the humidity, the bread ferments very quickly and gets its distinctive taste and texture). Either way, it's good, but only part of what makes the sandwich tasty. The rest is what is put on it, of course. Roast beef with "debris" gravy, fried shrimp, oysters, etc. You'll probably be asked if you want it "dressed". In New Orleans, "dressed" means with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and sometimes pickles, depending on the restaurant. Every neighborhood in New Orleans has its favorite po-boy places; the better ones butcher, slow cook, and season their own meats. The po-boy is a great and filling taste of New Orleans at a reasonable price.

The Muffaletta is a sandwich served on a big round airy Italian loaf (also called a muffaletta) which is similar to focaccia, it consists of a variety of sliced meats such as capicola, salami, and mortadella as well as cheeses topped with olive salad. Unless you have a very big appetite, half a muffaletta will probably be plenty for a filling meal. It was created in New Orleans around 1906 at Central Grocery on Decatur where you can still purchase them.

Gumbo is a tasty Louisiana traditional soup, originating in West-Africa and comes in numerous varieties. The vegetable base is traditionally okra (in West-Africa, the Wollof language word "gombo" means okra) with filé (sassafras leaves) used as a thickener. Seafood is the most common meat; but one will just as often find chicken, duck, smoked sausage or "andouille" sausage, the ages-old "gombo d'zherbes" (vegetarian) and other types of gumbo on many a menu. Gumbo is universally served with rice.

Red beans and rice with a side of cornbread

Red beans and rice sounds bland, but is a tasty, comforting treat prepared in the New Orleans way. The beans are slowly cooked until they reach a creamy texture, with a mix of onions, bell pepper, celery, and spices. Especially traditional on Mondays. It can be vegetarian but may not be; ask. It is often served with spicy, smoked or "andouille" sausage.

Local fresh produce: Have you heard of Louisiana strawberries, satsumas and creole tomatoes? If not, it's probably because they're so good that locals eat most of them right here! The strawberries come in around Jazz Fest time, satsumas in December and the creole tomatoes in early summer. You may spot "mirliton"; on the menu, a vegetable not common in most of the United States. In Mexico and the Southwest, it is called "chayote", though travelers to Guatemala may recognize it as the same thing that's called "hisquil" down there. Of course, when the first crops come in, there are parties, festivals, and parades commemorating the strawberries, creole tomatoes, or mirlitons.

Bananas Foster might be the most well known Orleanian delicacy served at the end of a fine meal. Consisting of warmed bananas mixed with brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and rum poured over vanilla ice cream; it is usually made flambe style in front of the customer just before serving. There are a number of restaurants in the French Quarter that specialize in combining the show of making it and serving it as well.

Snow balls or sno-balls are the New Orleans take on the northern "snow cone" or flavored ice done with more finesse. Ice is not crushed but shaved into microscopically fine snow in special machines, and flavored with syrups, fresh made at the better places. New Orleans sno-balls are often topped or layered with sweetened condensed milk, but this is optional. The flavors need not be overly sweet, and can come in a wide variety ranging from striking to subtle, including such treats as wild cherry, lemonade, chocolate cream, coffee, orchid vanilla, and dozens of others. Locals almost worship the better neighborhood sno-ball stands during the city's long hot summer; try the refreshing treat as a snack or desert and find out why. Note, many snow ball shops will close in the winter, as New Orleans is surprisingly chilly between November and February and the demand dies down.

Beignets (pronounced "ben-yays") are a deep fried square donut covered with powdered sugar. It is originated in France and brought from there. Also brought by Acadians who were forced to move by British when they took over Acadia regions. Beignets are official state doughnut in United States of America. Most famously found at Café du Monde, they are a traditional New Orleans treat enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. They are traditionally served in orders of three with café au lait.

Pralines are a candy made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans. They are most famously found at Loretta's [46].

But what about Cajun food?
As mentioned, New Orleans isn't a Cajun city. Cajun people, culture, and food are centered in Acadiana, a different part of Louisiana. Cajun food was almost totally unknown in the city until about 1979, just slightly before it was discovered by the rest of the USA. Some locals are still puzzled why so many visitors come to the city looking for "Cajun" food — you're in New Orleans, why not try some local New Orleans food? That said, yes, you can find good Cajun food here. Mulate's and Michaud's in the Central Business District are the most popular places for a real taste of Cajun Country right in New Orleans. A few others are in the local listings. Be warned, however, that for every place in New Orleans where one can find real Cajun food, there are a dozen places with the word "Cajun" slapped on them to take advantage of what some visitors think they should find here; often just serving the same Creole dishes as always under a new name, or offering interpretations of Acadian cuisine that many Cajuns would consider as unauthentic as ersatz "Cajun" dishes sometimes seen on menus in the US East or West Coast.

Many restaurants will have hot sauce as a condiment on the table (even Chinese and fast-food restaurants). Louisiana is the creator of Tabasco sauce after all. Although always flavorful, not all New Orleans food will be very spicy hot. Many locals do like to add hot sauce to many dishes. If you can take it, give it a try.

In many of the fine restaurants around town, people take their clothes as seriously as their food. Despite the obnoxious heat and humidity in the summertime, don’t go to these restaurants dressed in shorts/jeans; they won’t let you in. This applies only to the nicest (and some say best) restaurants in town but there are plenty of places that you can wear shorts to (many of which are great too). This is what you've been saving your pennies for.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Individual listings can be found in New Orleans's district articles

New Orleans has no "blue laws" or mandatory closing times; there is always somewhere to get alcohol any hour of day or night every day of the year.

You can head out the door with an open container of alcohol-- but not in a bottle or can; to try to keep broken glass and jagged metal from filling the street, local laws mandate you use a plastic cup while on city streets and sidewalks. These are known locally as "go cups", and every local bar provides them, usually has a stack of them by the door and the bouncer will take your drink from you and pour it into the cup because bars can be held liable if they don't. Use them, because New Orleans Police are watching for it, especially on Bourbon Street.

Some drinks are noted for their potency, such as the tourist favorite "Hurricane" (a fruit punch and rum drink), which originated at Pat O'Brien's bar but now common in the Quarter. However, drinking does not have to be about quantity. Popular refined local cocktails include the "sazerac" and the "Ramos gin fizz". New Orleanians also love wine.

Beer lovers should try local brews like "Abita" on tap, from light Wheat to dark "Turbodog" to the quirky "Purple Haze", a raspberry beer loved by some. "NOLA" (New Orleans Lager & Ale) Brewery opened Uptown in 2008 and has become a favorite of local beer lovers as well.

Listings of some top choices of the city's bars, from friendly neighborhood dives to elegant cocktail palaces, can be found in the neighborhood articles.

  • Tales of the Cocktail is an annual event each July in the Quarter and CBD with seminars, tastings, and other events, drawing in people from master bartenders to casual cocktail lovers. There's even a "jazz funeral" procession for the cocktail which top bartenders would most like to see buried (past "funerals" have included "sex on the beach" and the "appletini").

Those not accustomed to the Southern heat and humidity should be sure to drink more water or other drinks without alcohol than they usually do during the day to avoid dehydration.

New Orleans is also a coffee loving city. A good portion of the USA's coffee beans are imported through the Port of New Orleans and roasted in local factories. Locals tend to take a good cup of coffee seriously, and in New Orleans coffee tends to be a bit stronger and more flavorful than in most of the USA. Café du Monde in the French Quarter is probably the city's most historic coffee destination, serving café au lait with chickory since 1862. Café au lait is a coffee served half brewed coffee and half hot milk. Coffee in New Orleans differs from any other coffee in the world. During the Civil War, coffee beans were very scarce. The local French extended their coffee supply by adding ground roasted chicory (the root of endive lettuce) to the brew. New Orleanians became very accustomed to the new beverage, noting that the chicory softened the bitter edge of the coffee while enhancing the robust flavor. Many taste a slight chocolate flavor while drinking café au lait, due to the addition of chicory.Popular locally based coffee house chains, "Mojo," PJ's and CC's have locations around the city serving good hot and cold coffee drinks. New Orleans also has a wealth of local neighborhood coffee shops; the best are listed in the individual sections articles.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Individual listings can be found in New Orleans's district articles

The numerous hotels in the French Quarter and Central Business District are most centrally located for most tourists, but there are good accommodations in many other parts of town as well. Hotels on or near the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line in Uptown are popular with many visitors, and the smaller hotels and guest houses in neighborhoods like Marigny and Mid-City can provide an immersion in New Orleans away from the larger masses of tourists. Individual hotels are listed in the parts of town sub-articles.

Stay safe[edit]

New Orleans is generally safe but tourists should know that unfortunately it isn't considered a completely safe city. The city's violent crime rate is almost three times the national average, and its property crime rate is also significantly higher than the rest of America’s. However most of the violence is concertrated at specific areas and an average visitor shouldn't experience any problems if they take basic precautions and know which places to avoid.

For a start pickpockets and thiefs pose a significant concern in the French Quarter and the Downtown areas. While the French Quarter and attractions most visited by tourists are some of the safest areas from violent crimes, beware of opportunistic thieves looking for a chance to snatch something from visitors who are not keeping an eye on their valuables. A famous 19th century sign from the Quarter reads: "Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women." Always watch your belongings, don't carry all of your cash in one place and leave important documents like passports or IDs in your hotel room. Around parts of the French Quarter beware of hustlers, con artists and scammers. Hustlers will try to sell you anything for a few dollars from a flower to a hat, a foot massage, or even to clean your shoes. Don't take up these offers seriously. A popular tourist scam is to bet a tourist $20 that the scammer knows where the tourist got their shoes. If the tourist takes the bet, the scammer responds, "You got them on your feet" and demands the $20. Remember that you are under no obligation to talk to people and it's just best to ignore them.

New Orleans' nightlife is pretty famous around the United States. But tourists should take some precautions if planning to explore the city's countless bars and nightclubs. When you’re preparing to go out, stash only your ID, a single credit card, your phone, and, if necessary, a small, easy-to-manage purse. Just like everywhere never accept a drink you haven’t seen go directly from the bartender to you, and never drink any beverage that you’ve let out of your sight—date rape druggings have been known to occur in New Orleans.

Public Transport in New Orleans is considered quite safe. Be alert for pickpockets in crowded buses and streetcars during the day and stay vigilant in empty ones during the night. If you intend to drive in New Orleans you should know that, while traffic is better than in other major metropolises in the US, be aware that vehicle break-ins are an extremely widespread crime within city limits.

There are some basic rules someone should follow if they intend to go out in the city at night. Try not to go out alone but with a group of friends. Stay in well lit, populated areas and avoid desolate dark alleys devoid of other pedestrians. If you want to go to your hotel ALWAYS take a cab. And above all try not to look like a tourist - in New Orleans this includes refraining from wearing Mardi Gras beads unless it’s actually Mardi Gras.

Last but not least: looking for drugs or illegal activities will not only expose you to danger; if someone you just met is trying to lure you into a strange part of town for something decadent, assume you're probably being set up for a robbery or worse. Also be advised that Louisiana has the harshest sentencing laws in the country as most felonies carry a mandatory prison sentence, so conduct yourself accordingly.

Rough Areas[edit]

Most of New Orleans' crime is concentrated in specific areas. Some of them are more or less dangerous than others but some should be completely avoided.

Central City - Central City and some of its surrounding districts (Garden District, Hoffman's Triangle, Irish Channel, and Touro) have always been a hotbed for gang violence, shootings, and homicides. once a thriving immigrant stronghold, then fell into disrepair -- some parts of it, however, like the Oretha Castle Haley (OCH) Boulevard have seen a revival in recent years and are certainly worth visiting. But past dark, don’t stray past that boulevard into other parts of Central City, and avoid even the boulevard itself late at night.

Desire and Florida - These areas are home to the housing developments of the city; DON'T GO into these areas. They are very low-income neighborhoods and their crime rate is much worse than almost everywhere else in the United States. People stay here because they can't afford to live anywhere else and not because they want to.

Saint Claude - Saint Claude and its surrounding districts (St. Roch, Marigny and the Lower 9th Ward on the other side of the canal) are places that tourists mustn't completely avoid but should be careful when visiting especially at night since there are substantially more assaults, robberies, burglaries, and thefts that take place in these neighborhoods than the rest of the city.

Mid-City - The greater Mid-City area was hit particularly hard by Hurrican Katrina back in August 2005 almost completely flooding. A few of its areas are still recovering. Be wary at night and don't stray far past Canal Street. This part of Canal Street is also not as busy as it's southern part and the area around it is mostly residential. While you shouldn't have any problems touring this beautiful street especially by streetcar it's better to be cautious after dusk.

Northwestern Suburbs - The city's northwestern suburbs (far out from the city center) are less safe than other suburban areas. These include the Venetian Isles (which are not as picturesque as their name suggests), Read Boulevard, West Lake and Pine Village.

French Quarter - The French Quarter is a peculiar entry in this list since it's not exactly a rough area, but it's been the scene of mass shootings and sporadic murders recently. Always be careful of your personal belongings as pickpockets ran rampant here. Keep in mind that the western end of Bourbon Street and western part of the French Quarter in general is mostly residential and much quieter than its central and eastern parts. It's better to take cab if you want to commute through this area at night as muggings, while rare, aren't unheard of.

Cemeteries - New Orleans' cemeteries are awe-inspiring and haunting. But only visit them during the day and preferably as part of a tour group. NEVER enter the city's cemeteries after nightfall - criminals have been known to wait behind tombs waiting for people to pass by so that they can mug them.

Wards - The wards of New Orleans are are a checkerboard of good to bad. Good blocks are often surrounded by bad blocks. In some cases, the good & bad are mixed in.

Hurricanes and Swamps[edit]

New Orleans made worldwide headlines for days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in August 2005. It left a deep scar in the city and it's a tragic experience that most New Orleanese will not forget. The truth is however that the city is in no more danger than the rest of the US Gulf Coast. Most hurricanes happen from late July to mid September; if a hurricane threatens the city during your stay contact the Hurricane Hotline

DON'T enter the city's surrounding swamps alone. The swamps hide dangerous animal life not to mention that if you venture too far you might get lost.


Hurricane Katrina[edit]

It is very important to remember that Hurricane Katrina, a 2005 hurricane that devastated the city and flooded so many neighborhoods, is a very emotional subject for many New Orleanians. Many jokes regarding the Hurricane and the evacuees of Katrina will get a negative response in New Orleans. Also some people in the city have had relatives, friends, co-workers that have lost everything in that storm and some of their loved ones may have died, and as result don't pressure anyone to tell tragic stories if they don't want to.


Police patrol after Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans was an epicenter for slavery, and many residents are in fact descendants of slaves. While the city is starting to take steps in reducing it, racism is still an issue, even if it is not apparent to a passing tourist. Racial tensions have increased significantly following the 2016 US Presidential Campaign and election. It is best to not talk about race to avoid any conflict. If it comes up, do a lot of listening and not so much talking.

Police Misconduct[edit]

New Orleans, and Louisiana in general, have not been spared from the controversies of police misconduct. While police misconduct has long been a problem in the NOPD, a particularly bad time was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when 91 officers resigned/retired and another 228 were investigated for abandoning their posts. There was serious cases of murder by police, such as the Danziger Bridge Shootings, Henry Glover, among many others. This is an ongoing issue, both on the street and in the local jails, where inmates routinely die for various 'reasons', usually even before a conviction. Because of these and countless other violent scandals in the NOPD and other local law enforcement, there is a large distrust among the police in the lower-income neighborhoods. This is a topic best avoided


The telephone area code for New Orleans and its suburbs is 504.

There are cyber-cafes throughout the city, with the greatest number in the French Quarter and Central Business District. Many coffee houses and some bars offer wireless internet connection.

The New Orleans Public Library [47] has branches around the city. Out of towners can get one hour of free internet access on library computers upon presenting photo ID; try to go at a time when school is in session to minimize risk of long waits. They also provide unlimited free wireless internet access. Check out the website for current special events held at various branches, which can range from children's storytime to lectures authors, presentations and exhibits on local history, and more. As of early 2013 branches are open in almost every section of the city.



  • Da-flag.png Denmark (Honorary), 1470 Urania St., (504) 586-8305 (fax: (504) 523-1967), [4].  edit
  • It-flag.png Italy (Honorary), 3501 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste 300, Metairie, (504) (, fax: (504) 836-7411), [9].  edit
  • Po-flag.png Portugal (Honorary), 617 N. Broad St., [13].  edit
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom (Honorary), 321 St. Charles Avenue, 10th Floor, 504-524-4180 (, fax: 504-568-9911), [14].  edit


  • The Advocate, [48] The city's only daily.
  • The Times-Picayune, [49]. Three times weekly.
  • Gambit, [50]. Free weekly. Dated Tuesdays, listing events of the week; often available the weekend before.
  • AntiGravity Free monthly. New Orleans alternative culture. Found at coffee houses, alternative music venues, comix shops.
  • Tulane Hullabaloo, [51]. Weekly student newspaper of Tulane University, published Fridays.
  • The Maroon, [52]. Weekly student newspaper of Loyola University, published Fridays.

Get out[edit]

If you have a car and want a short adventure, drive north on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway bridge for a thrill. As soon as you get to the other side, start looking for the plentiful seafood offerings: fresh crab and shrimp out of the lake at very reasonable prices. You're now in St. Tammany Parish, with which has various small cities, towns, and attractions.

I-10 runs east west through the city, I-55 dumps into I-10 West of the city and Pontchartrain; I-59 outflows into I-10 on the East side.

Travel west on I-10 out of Greater New Orleans to Acadiana or "Cajun Country". While there are a few places to get good Cajun in New Orleans, for authenticity go to the source.

River Road [53] is home to a stretch of Plantations. The plantations are scattered along the River Road on both sides of the Mississippi between Greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Sugar plantations brought in a nice bit of income back in the 18th and 19th centuries, and there are some lovely homes with the archetypal oak collonades at the entrance. There are also plantations in the French Creole style. The most popular plantations include Oak Alley [54], Laura [55], and San Francisco [56].

You can also arrange for a swamp tour. Spring at Jean Lafitte swamp is a lovely time to see the swamp iris. Also, the first and longest running prison rodeo is just up the way at Angola [57]. Before and after the rodeo, the inmates sell crafts, such as belt buckles, wallets, original paintings, and the inmates earn money for their families.

For a taste of the less urban aspect of South East Louisiana, continue further down river to Saint Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish.

Routes through New Orleans
Baton RougeMetairie  W noframe E  SlidellMobile
Baton RougeMetairie  N noframe S  END
LafayetteAvondale  W noframe E  Bay St. LouisMobile

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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