Looking for a city with history, people watching, food, and a party around every corner? Then New Orleans is your place. This comeback town has its head in history, its stomach in Cajun spices and its toes tapping to raunchy jazz. Much of what the city lost in the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has returned. Its citizenry of proud survivors are welcoming the world back after a long hard climb to new glory.
From the long-held family homes lining its winding streets to the trolley cars, Alligator farms and plantations, New Orleans never disappoints. The air is humid with a hum of excitement as coffee and beignets are served everywhere from Café Du Monde to the open air markets on Bourbon Street.
New Orleans is now a major starting point for cruises to the Caribbean, bringing hundreds of thousands of new visitors each year, but the destination is most popular during Mardi Gras, when the whole town changes its colors and comes out to celebrate in a style only New Orleans can claim. This carnival atmosphere is thick with music, floats and celebration parties.
If you’re looking for a little less over-the-top people watching, try any other time of the year; it’s rarely a bad time to visit New Orleans. And whenever you do decide to visit, don’t neglect to embrace the foodie culture. Grab a bit of Creole, Cajun, alligator gumbo, or a taste of crawfish Etoufee. This is a town for foodies and friends, and a quick cooking lesson on Bourbon Street will tell you the locals have a taste for spice! Wash down the unique cuisine with a specialty cocktail like the Hurricane, Brandy Milk Punch or a southern favorite, The Mint Julep, and your taste buds will be in paradise.
In between delectable meals, I recommend spending time in Jackson Square with local artists or paying a visit to Mardi Gras World, where you can get up close and personal with the parade’s history through its largest floats and most elaborate costumes.
Wherever you go in the city, you’re certain to find a wonderful mix of food, drink, history and fun. See you there!