If you are fascinated by the idea of a trip to the South of the United States: here are 5 tips to fully experience the spirit of New Orleans, the cradle of Jazz and a crossroads of different cultures.
New Orleans, the best known city in Louisiana, is a destination not to be missed during a trip to southern United States.
Sadly also famous for having been severely hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which unfortunately still bears many visible scars during a tour of the city. Despite this, his fame persists: cradle of Jazz, home of Voodoo practices, city of a madman (and crazy) Carnival and place of conjunction of various cultures of which there is evidence in its architecture, language, cuisine and traditions.
New Orleans: the birth of Jazz
Jazz is said to have originated here between the 1890s and the early 900s, in the red light district of Storyville. Just mention one name to make you understand: Louis Armstrong.
1. Not to be missed: Jazz & Heritage Festival
If you are in the area between late April and early May you can attend the Jazz & Heritage Festival, an annual event that reminds the world that Jazz is not dead, at least not in New Orleans!
There are many clubs and places where you can spend an evening in this atmosphere, at any time of the year. From Preservation Hall offering a concert in the evening at the House of Blues, with Gospel concerts in one of the Blues Brothers venues, music will never fail during your stay here.
In fact, it will not be strange to find artists on every street corner even in broad daylight, one of the memories that will remain etched will be this: his music, constant and incessant at any hour of the day and night.
2. The New Orleans Locals
Be sure to explore Burbon Street, an area that has always been full of clubs, in the heart of the magnificent French Quarter. This street and neighborhood is one of the few places in the United States where it is not illegal to drink alcohol on the street. I think this is enough to make you understand the party atmosphere that reigns there.
3. The buildings of New Orleans
Louisiana is a former French colony, it will be quite easy to notice it by admiring the beautiful buildings of this area and among the most famous is the building on the corner between Royal and St. Peter Street, with its magnificent wrought iron balconies.
Don't miss out Jackson square and queue for one café au lait and bignet at the Café du Monde: believe me it's really worth it!
4. French Market: on the hunt for souvenirs
A short distance away you will find the French Market, the oldest of its kind in the entire United States, born in colonial times between the end of the 700th and the beginning of the 800th century. If you're on the hunt for souvenirs, you'll find a handful of them here.
Nola, as the locals call it, is a cheerful, colorful city, witness to a rich, varied past and the cradle of Creole culture. You will easily find places that still offer Creole dishes, and many still speak French or Spanish.
5. The New Orleans Carnival
Not to be missed if you are in the area at the right time: the Mardi Gras celebrations, the New Orleans carnival.
Parades, dances, parties, color and joy invade the streets of the city. You will surely notice the hanging beaded necklaces scattered all over the city, they are thrown to the spectators by the allegorical floats of the carnival procession and some remain hanging from the trees all year round.
All of this contributes to its reputation as a cheerful and partying city, but there is another aspect that New Orleans is famous for: the Voodoo. If you are interested in the subject, I recommend that you join a themed tour and plan a visit to the tomb of Marie Laveau, the best known voodoo queen.
Make sure you do one stroll along the mighty Mississippi River and why not, one small cruise on the Steamboat Natchez to admire the city from a different point of view.
New Orleans is history, traditions, music and a decidedly different and unique US city that amazes and charms all visitors.