A southern U.S. city with a far from Southern feel.
Founded by France in 1718, before getting passed along to the Spanish in 1763 (and ultimately the U.S. in 1803), New Orleans encompasses rich remnants of colonial-era architecture, giving the city a style basically non-existent throughout the rest of Louisiana’s deeply southern plantation farms and swampy environments.
Bourbon Street, infamous for being the non-stop year-round Mardi Gras party area, is a stretch of road within the French Quarter loaded with bars that are open all hours day and night.
I personally found the hype of this area to be overrated and best avoided at all costs, unless surrounding yourself with belligerent drunkards (or becoming one yourself) is your thing. If so, then of course, by all means…
They can be a bit creepy, but the voodoo shops are also worth checking out, if for nothing else than the curiosity factor. Inside one of these you’ll find crystals, tarot cards, voodoo dolls, pentagrams, insert other oddity here __________.
These – in conjunction with the barrage of tarot card readers and fortune-tellers outside Jackson Square, and the abundant ghost tours and famous cemeteries – make NOLA a must stop spot for any aficionado of the bizarre.
If you have the time, do some Banksy hunting. The infamous artist visited the city in 2008, leaving some interesting and controversial work scattered about.
Like in other places around the world, much of his work in the city has been destroyed or vandalized, but some have been protected and can be found using a quick Google Maps search.
Let’s get to the food, an exceptionally important part of any location. New Orleans cuisine is overall pretty damn good.
Some local fare favorites you’ve probably heard of before: Po’ Boys (sub-like sandwiches of fried seafood or alligator on French bread), Jambalaya (think Creole-style fried rice) and oysters (either raw from the shell or fried).
In general, Jackson Square, on the skirts of the French Quarter, is a good point to roam around.
It has a little park, nice outdoor dining options, bars and the always anticipated but never under appreciated pop-up brass band jam sessions.
New Orleans – a place unlike anywhere else in the South, is a one-of-a-kind destination for anyone passing its way.