Pronunciation is everything. Say “noo-or-LEENZ” and you are marked for a tourist. Instead when heading down south to New Orleans relax your mouth and let it drawl out “noo-AW-linz” or “noo-OR-linz” just like a native.
When you travel to the Big Easy it’s is best to have great luggage to meet any adventures you desire. The Samsonite Hyperspace line is a great match a New Orleans’ itinerary, with a Boarding Bag, Spinner Garment Bag and 21, 26 and 31-inch expandable spinners.
Those who solely think of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter when they think of this vibrant city are missing much of her charms. So let us use the neighborhood as a hub and head out first to places best visited early in the morning due to the warm and gooey humidity found through many of the seasons.
Have $1.25 in exact change and hop aboard the St. Charles Avenue streetcar at the corner of Carondelet and Canal. Having served the city, uninterrupted, for close to 130 years this streetcar is the last of the vehicles that once served as the inspiration for playwright Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”. A one-way trip takes approximately 45 minutes and winds through the Central Business District into the architecturally rich and diverse Garden District with its mansions surrounded by mounds of lush greenery. And treat yourself to a Garden District walking tour to better appreciate the 19th century Victorian houses festooned with graceful gingerbread features.
Walking through a cemetery might seem a bit strange, but New Orleans’ cemeteries with their hundreds of above ground mausoleums are a big draw. One of the nicest is located in the Uptown section – the Lafayette No. 1. You will notice a host of languages carved into marble monuments that define the city’s multi-ethnic heritage. The oldest and most historic is the St Louis No. 1. It is advisable you visit the cemeteries with a guide as some less than desirable folks look to lay down some bad hoodoo on unsuspecting tourists.
Folk religion devotees and those respectively curious will enjoy time spent at New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. The museum is small in space and big on information on voodoo, zombies, gris-gris and Voodoo Queens.
Not as controversial is the National World War II Museum on Magazine Street. It began in 2000 as the National D-day Museum and now has expanded to cover the entire war in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Wonder why New Orleans with its reputation for fun times was selected for such a serious and historic venue? The Higgins boats used for the D-day invasion were designed and built in the city.
For more sea-worthy creatures, head further down Magazine Street to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. One of the most acclaimed aquariums in the world it highlights a diversity of distinctive aquatic bodies – the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Amazon along with the Mississippi River. Be sure to look for its white alligator.
Back in the French District free entertainment comes from artists, musicians and magicians lining the perimeter of Jackson Square. Any hour the crispy fried goodness of beignets accompanied by sips of chicory laced coffee is available at Café du Monde. A parade of life comes here from tourists to debutantes bejeweled matrons. Pile on more powdered sugar and enjoy the show- just don’t wear black. Walk the Moonwalk, the pedestrian byway that borders the Mississippi River. You can also catch a riverboat cruise here for the ultimate Big Muddy experience.
St Louis Cathedral is the heart of the neighborhood and plan to visit the Presbytère. Where the priests once lived a museum dedicated to Mardi Gras now resides. Be prepared to be awed at the elaborate costumes and traditions.
“Laissez les bons temps rouler” means let the good times roll as you and your luggage will exploring all over New Orleans.