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Holidays to New Orleans
New Orleans - the Big Easy
There are many reasons to come to New Orleans and chief among them is that this is the most different city in the States. It's culturally different, the food is different and the music, the festivals and the life is different. The Big Easy is easy - easy to love, easy to find a good, make that great, meal, and easy to enjoy yourself in. Everyone knows New Orleans Mardi Gras and it is indeed a fabulous reason for an Easter visit. The parades themselves are an explosion of colour, sights and, shall we say, entertainments. But the entire two week period is a wonderful exercise in staying up late, eating food you've never tried before and making new BFF's.
Getting to the City of New Orleans is easy. There are plenty of daily flights to New Orleans from international airports along the east coast and once there, securing a hotel in New Orleans is also easy - but do book ahead on Holiday Supermarket for better rates and a good choice of hotels.
There are plenty of things to do in New Orleans - take in some blues or jazz in the French Quarter, wrap your lips around some gumbo, ride a street car and explore the wilder parts of your personality!
Eating out in New Orleans
Cheap, expensive and everything in between.
The visitor dining options in New Orleans are as big as your appetite. A Po'boy should be top of your list, followed by a variant on the muffuletta, a take on focaccia, it contains marinated olive salad, then layers of capicola, salami, pepperoni, emmentaler, ham and provolone.
The budget options- seafood and bbq features large in the New Orleans repertoire and it's a fact that even the cheapest of eats will taste great in this culinary town. Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar is in the Warehouse District and you can dine for almost a dime here and leave having had one of the best meals of your life. For good burgers, check out Port of Call in 838 Esplanade in the lower French Quarter. Juan's Flying Burrito is a fun joint with plenty to like in the food department. Find it at 2018 Magazine St, uptown.
Mid price options- New Orleans is all about seriously good dining, but one of the ways to eat local finery without the price tag is to do brunch. Commander's Place at 1403 Washington in the Garden District is beyond good, and the mansion location is an added bonus. RioMar in the Warehouse District (at 800 South Peters St) does seafood really well. Spanish, South American and Louisiana all rolled into one!
Splurge- it's not the most expensive restaurant in town, but it's the hardest to get into. K-Paul's is at 416 Chartres St in the French Quarter. This is the Cajun Restaurant that started all the fuss and Paul Prudhomme has been well and truly relegated to the ranks of the great with his blackened recipes. Try your luck on the ground floor - its first come, first served.
The weather in the city of New Orleans is tropical. The humidity and heat of summer may be surprising if you're not used to it. That said, the winters are short and sweet (and ideal if you're intending to see a lot of the sights).
Summer temperatures range from around 22C to 33C, while winter goes from around 6C to 17C. Summer is the wettest time of year. Autumn and spring don't really feel different as the seasons are just a transition between hot and cooler. Bring an umbrella during summer and your walking boots in winter!
New Orleans is a mardi gras, music and foodie experience!
Don't worry, there's plenty of other attractions besides Mardi Gras - but you must admit, Mardi Gras is the big event of the year for New Orleans.
Mardi Gras - this is the big one; the reason so many flock to New Orleans. If you've never been, get ready for an explosion of street parties, day in day out for two weeks. The carnival atmosphere takes over the town and the French Quarter rocks. The parades are glorious, and cover everything (not just Adult), there are kids parades and pet parades, mainly out in the Garden District. Mardi Gras in NO should be on everyone's bucket list.
St Louis Cathedral - the longest-serving Catholic Cathedral in the US, the St Louis is an inspiring, and monumental, building. Visit the place for Sunday Mass or just roam at your leisure at other times. It's a beautiful building backing on to Jackson Square in the French Quarter and mass is said daily.
Frenchman Street - if you want to know why people love jazz, make a visit to Frenchman St, choose a club and while away the hours listening to some beaten up bunch of old-timers banging out some of the finest tunes you'll every hear. It's just a couple of blocks over from the French Quarter and is as good a selection of restaurants, coffee shops and clubs and bars as you're likely to find anywhere. The music is mighty fine, and the food excellent. If you're over the Bourbon St scene, this is your kind of street.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery - when in Rome... drink the local rum. The distillery is in the Gentilley district and serves up tours and rum. It's the oldest distillery in the US and the quality of the product is its own advertisement. See how the stuff is made and then enjoy the after-tour refreshments
Preservation Hall - and its back to the music scene we go! New Orleans is a huge music city and Preservation Hall has history on its side as it pumps out a never-ending series of sessions. This is New Orleans jazz at its finest in a very small venue. Get there early, pick your seat and settle in.
St Charles Streetcar - take a ride on the wild side of a New Orleans Streetcar. This 90 minute tour gets you up close and personal to many different parts of the city, so you see a lot for your buck.
The must see- the wildlife of southern Louisiana is very different to what you'll see elsewhere so do yourself a favour and check out the Audubon Zoo for a world-wide tour of the rare wildlife including Louisiana specialties