New Orleans City Guide
About New Orleans
The American city of New Orleans is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Southern state of Louisiana. The city was founded by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, a colonizer from Montreal who picked a strategic spot on the banks of the Mississippi River to create his French colony in 1718.
This city he founded was situated on a swamp surrounded by the sea and its establishment saw the construction of levees, pumps and canals, which managed to save it from major flooding until on 29th August 2005, when it was totally devastated by Hurricane Katrina, which flooded nearly 75% of the city.
However, currently New Orleans is being rebuilt with the combined determination and efforts of its residents and tourists. Visitors are once again heading to vacations in the Crescent City to listen to its vibrant jazz sounds and to take part in its world famous festivals and street parades like the scandalous but sensational Mardi Gras, all the while sampling its delectable cuisine, which showcases the legacy of its Cajun, Creole and European influences. Undoubtedly, if fine food and captivating music interest you, vacations to New Orleans are meant for you.
Where to stay in New Orleans
The French Quarter
Most tourists who head to New Orleans choose to stay in the heart of the city, which is also the oldest part of the city, namely the French Quarter that hosts the world famous Bourbon Street. The French Quarter is also known as ‘Vieux Carre’ and displays influences from both the French and the Spanish eras in the city. This vibrant area of the city is home to many bars, restaurants and a wide range of hotels that include luxury hotels, spa hotels and boutique hotel properties as well as discount hotels that offer budget accommodation. This is the place to stay during your vacations to New Orlean if you want pubs nearby your place of stay.
Yet another popular area of New Orleans is the Garden District, which is located minutes away from the French Quarter and is home to magnificent colonial mansions and thousands of fragrant magnolia trees. The Garden district is served by the New Orleans street car transport system which operates 24 hours a day. The Garden District offers several hotels that are housed in magnificent colonial edifices and this area is usually the choice of those tourists who want to stay close to the French Quarter but also relish a bit of peace and quiet. If you want some of it too, then this is the place to stay during your vacations to New Orleans.
Westbank and Metairie districts
Other popular accommodation options in New Orleans can be found near its convention center, which is also easily accessible from the French Quarter and within its suburbs of Metairie and Westbank. Metairie is a suburb located between the New Orleans airport and the French Quarter while the West bank is situated just minutes from downtown New Orleans, across the Mississippi River. Both these locations offer several discount hotel options and are popular with tourists who wish to have cheap hotel rooms for their New Orleans trips so that they can free up funds for partying and dining in the city.
No matter where in New Orleans you choose to stay, we can help you find the best hotel rates for every type of hotel, so if you have commenced on your hotel search for your New Orleans holiday, you must make sure you have explored the many exciting hotel deals that we at Fare Buzz have for New Orleans vacations.
Places to see in New Orleans
The French Quarter
The French Quarter or ‘the Vieux Carre’is considered to be the heart and soul of New Orleans. This historic center of the city extends over 90 square blocks from Chartres Street and Jackson Square.
The French Quarter was established as a French military outpost in 1718 which was transformed into a party district when the Spanish took over the city in 1764. The quarter is known for its distinctive buildings, which are adorned with wrought iron railings and tall doorways, in fact two of the buildings located here are considered to be the oldest buildings in the USA.
Today, the French Quarter has been restored to its original glory after the battering that it received from Hurricane Katrina. The French quarter continues to function the party central of New Orleans as its world famous bars, restaurants and night clubs welcome vacationers all through the night.
Hurricane Katrina Tour
In order to garner support for the city, some wily tour operators in New Orleans now offer tours that highlight the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the city. These three hour bus tours traverse some of the hardest hit districts like Lakeview and Gentilly. Tourists are not allowed off the bus and photography is prohibited to respect the privacy of the residents but tour guides highlight the destruction by showing tourists official photographs of the tragedy. If you have a philanthropic side to yourself, you may want to go for this tour during your trip to New Orleans.
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Voodoo has always played a significant role in Louisiana’s culture. The practice of Voodoo was introduced into the state by its African slaves and since then Voodoo has always been associated with New Orleans. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum aims to highlight its importance with a display of artifacts and exhibits that catalogue the history of the practice. The museum also offers excursions to voodoo rituals and is equipped with a voodoo practitioner who offers palm readings and personalized gris-gris bags for visitors on a trip to New Orleans.
Swamp and Plantation Tours
New Orleans is a city built on a swamp and many tour operators’ offers swamp and plantation tours for visitors to get an insight into the history and flora and fauna of the city. The swamp tours are especially popular since they often include alligator sightings as these predators abound in the swampy, marshy waterways of New Orleans.
Preservation Hall, which is located in the French Quarter, is New Orleans' most popular jazz venue. The famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band serves up first-rate Dixieland Jazz, six nights a week in a building, which was originally erected as a private residence. The Olympia Brass band takes over the hall on Sundays. Preservation Hall has no seating or food and beverage capabilities but it is hugely popular with jazz enthusiasts who head here nightly for the music from 8pm to midnight. Jazz lovers cannot for sure miss this hall during their trip to New Orleans.
Louis Armstrong Park
The Louis Armstrong Park is an eponymous 32-acre verdant enclave. It is named after New Orleans’ native son, the jazz great, Louis Armstrong renowned for jazz hits like ‘ A wonderful world’, ‘Hello Dolly’ and ‘Mack the Knife’. Located within the park is also Congo Square which was a meeting place for slaves in the 19th century.
Best time to visit New Orleans
The best time to plan vacations to New Orleans is during the pleasant, warm days of early spring when festivals like the city’s world famous ‘Mardi Gras’ festival take place. Hotel prices, at this time, are often the highest but that’s where we can help by securing for you some discounted hotel deals.
The summer months from June to August in New Orleans are usually unbearably hot and humid. New Orleans also experiences a hurricane season, which extends from June to November and is often characterized by occasional heavy rainstorms.
Getting around in New Orleans
Louis Armstrong International Airport is where flights to New Orleans take you to. The airport is laced with modern facilities and well connected by other mode of transportation. Do explore the attractive cheap flight tickets available with Fare Buzz and save while traveling by air.
The best way to get around the city of New Orleans during vacations is by the city’s vintage electric rail cars, which are known as street cars. These street cars operate round the clock and serve most areas of the French Quarter and the Garden District.
Public transport in New Orleans also includes buses, ferries and river boats but most tourists who stay in the ‘Vieux-Carre’ choose to explore the city on foot so as to soak in its unique atmosphere.
Where to shop in New Orleans
Shopping in New Orleans is a truly enchanting experience. Rather than malls and shopping centers, New Orleans is known for its various shopping districts.
Magazine Street located up river from the Warehouse district, within the city’s scenic Garden district is one of the prime locales for shopping in the city. This six mile stretch is littered with boutiques and stores offering antiques, apparel, footwear, jewelry, toys, home furnishings and more. Also located here are quaint coffee shops, pubs and sweet shops which offer shoppers a chance to refuel during their shopping sprees.
Yet another favored locale for shopping in New Orleans is Royal Street, located within the French Quarter. Art galleries, antique stores, designer apparel stores, jewelry stores, milliners all vie for custom on Royal Street, which also offers plenty of cafes and restaurants. Also located within the French Quarter is the open-air French Market, reminiscent of some European markets, which offers much scope for shopping along with dining and New Orleans-style entertainment. The specialty stores located within the market much artwork, antiques, clothing, novelty gift items and, handicrafts. Also located here is a flea-market populated with vendors of locally-made jewelry, clothing and art.
Aside from these extremely charming shopping enclaves, New Orleans also offers mall shopping at the mall located at the end of Canal Street- the Shops at Canal Place.
If you are an international tourist visiting New Orleans, you will be happy to know that Louisiana is the first state in the US that offers tax refunds for international visitors. This tax refund which differs from duty free shopping at the airport is available at several well-known retailers like J.C. Penney, Gucci, The Gap, Sears, Walmart, Coach and more. The retailers themselves however don’t process the refund, rather you have to take your sales receipts, vouchers, passport and air-ticket indicating departure from the US to a "Refund Center” in order to get your refund processed. Refund Centers are also located within the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and at downtown locales in New Orleans like the Riverwalk Marketplace next to the Convention Center, and at the main branch of the Capital One Bank in Lafayette and Shreveport.
Where to eat in New Orleans
New Orleans is known throughout the world for its incredible gastronomic delights like Gumbo, Muffelettas, Po-Boys and Beignets. Legendary New Orleans restaurants like Mother’s and Café du Monde have been serving these tasty treats for years. However, aside from these well-known eating spots, the city of New Orleans also offers wide variety of restaurants that serve diverse international eats.
Some ‘essential’ New Orleans restaurants worth a try on any trip to the ‘Big Easy’ include current hotspots like La Provence (French), the Joint (bbq) Clancy’s (Creole), Cochon Butcher (sandwiches), Brigtsen’s (local fare), Il posto (Italian café), GW fins (seafood), Parkway Tavern and Bakery (sandwiches) and Stella (New American cuisine).
Nightlife in New Orleans
New Orleans’ nightlife scene is legendary, bars, jazz bars, music and cabaret clubs abound in New Orleans especially on or around Bourbon Street. Get a taste of New Orleans at the city’s popular nightlife haunts like Preservation Hall (the birthplace of jazz), Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop (the oldest bar in the country), Pat O’Brien’s and Tropical Isle (cocktails), the Spotted Cat and Snug Harbor (popular jazz bars), Apple Barrel (a bar offering blues music), d.b.a (live music and interactive cabaret), the Maple leaf, Rock and Bowl and the Carousel Bar.