New Orleans has a habit of having to rebuild itself, even before Katrina, it had had its fair share of reshaping; fires, floods, disease. The city has experienced some rough times since the French decided to create a ‘new Paris’ upon a swamp, way back when. Since Katrina in 2005 the city has come a long way, and its people are resilient and warm. As a place that once relied heavily on maufacture, now, its main source of income is tourism. There is a reason for that – New Orleans is a fabulous place to visit. I am not going to harp on about its most recent and harrowing tradegy, more about what you can see and do there now. I got a bit stuck in New Orleans, I did not feel the need to leave. And as a heathen who has always hated Jazz, even I managed to fling off my shoes, and danced the night away – several times.
I spent 6 days in New Orleans (one of them I was so hungover I couldn’t arise from my bed till after 4pm) and I became the ultimate toursist. The place is full of tourists and the city indulges the traveller. Which is great, because it makes life very easy. Obviously the city is famed for its music, and it really doesn’t dissapoint. As I mentioned earlier – I am not one for Jazz but the allure of bar-hopping combined with the atmosphere and great live acts was impossible not to get involved in. One of the nice things about New Orleans is the nightlife is not in the slightest bit ageist. The bars are packed and music flows out on to the streets as you imagine it would.
For the music there are two main areas ‘Frenchman St’ and ‘Bourbon St’ both located in the historic French Quarter. The latter is the rowdy, crowded, party street, which certainly becomes raucous and very loud, as the night progresses. A short distance away is Frenchman Street, where you will get a more distinct, chilled New Orleans vibe. Live acts are in almost every bar, and in the evening there is a quaint arts market with local artists selling their wares. Frenchman street has a more intimate air, and all the people I came across seemed super friendly. In short; the nightlife is a lot of fun and caters for a wide range of people.
One of the joys of New Orleans is wandering around the city; particularly the French Quarter to marvel at the colonial architecture. It is a historical city, and has been passed from pillar to post between different countries (France, Spain, America), and had a large slave population at one time. Voodoo and ghost stories are prevelant and it all adds to the city’s unique atmosphere. Outside of the city itself; I would recommend taking a swamp tour to check out the aligators and other wildlife. We hired a car and conducted our trip independently, but there are lots of pre-packaged tours easily found within the city.
I loved New Orleans; the combination of history, music, beauty, cuisine, friendly people and beautiful surrounding countryside made it a big hit for me. I will return again and will try my best not to get sucked in for too long, but I hope it will grasp me in its clutches again.