An unhurried city with a distinct energy and community spirit, New Orleans has been charming generations of visitors with its hot jazz, relaxed locals, distinctive colonial architecture and delicious French flavour.
Called the Big Easy for a reason, New Orleans is a relaxed destination that welcomes out-of-towners as if they’d lived there all their lives.
Of course, it is impossible to ignore the fact that New Orleans was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but the community has been working hard to rebuild. Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but no resident of the Big Easy was prepared to let even a storm like that stop the good times rolling.
The unique character of New Orleans has its roots in the city’s history. Founded in 1718 by the then Regent of France, Phillippe d’Orleans, the city fell under Spanish control for decades before being returned to France. Finally, the city was sold to the United States in 1803. As you might expect, such an unusual past made the city popular with immigrants of all kinds, hence the wonderfully diverse blend of Creole, African American and French-speaking locals that populate the city today.
Known for its fabulously ornate Spanish colonial architecture and superbly rickety streetcar transport system, the French Quarter of the city is known throughout the world as a symbol of New Orleans’ electivity. Of course, the most famous part of the Quarter is Bourbon Street – famed for its bars and jazz clubs, it is in these places that the hottest jazz in the city can be found. Indeed, all the greats have played Bourbon Street, and you can’t really be considered great until you have.
The French Quarter isn’t all about jazz and drinking though. It is also the location of the famous Café du Monde, known for its delicious French style pastries and chicory coffee. New Orleans is also closely associated with voodoo. Whilst this unusual religion is mainly considered something of a tourist attraction, a few locals really do practise it – why not head to Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street to discover more for yourself?