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New Orleans - The Big Easy

New Orleans is a city which impresses with its relaxed lifestyle and its great music, food culture and art scene. The carnival season with Mardi Gras Day and the beautiful architecture of French and Spanish colonial times guarantee a memorable trip.

Decatur Street with carriages

Geography - The Crescent City

New Orleans, the biggest city in the US state of Louisiana, lies in the delta of the Mississippi River and is surrounded by swamps. The river is the city's natural border in the south, while Lake Pontchartrain constitutes its border in the north. Due to its position at the lake, the city has the shape of a crescent, which gave it the nickname "The Crescent City". The city has an area of 907 km² but only half of it is land area. New Orleans has about 350,000 inhabitants. Its metropolitan area is even populated by 1.4 million people. The climate is warm and temperate with increased precipitation. The city often suffers from tropical storms (hurricanes) between May and October.

View of New Orleans in Louisiana

Culture - The cradle of Jazz

The Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Beauville founded a settlement at the Mississippi River Delta in 1718 and named it after the Duke Philipe de Orléans. The city is mostly known for its Creole and voodoo culture as well as for its variety of music genres. New Orleans has been a centre of music for a very long time. The combination of different genres led to the creation of Jazz, which had its golden age in the 1920s. New Orleans offers a great number of sights and attractions. Its main tourist destination is the French Quarter, which is also called "Vieux Carré" and is the city's oldest quarter. It accommodates the popular Jackson Square with St. Louis Cathedral and the twin buildings The Cabildo and Presbytère, which are museums now. The streetcar adds to the city's special atmosphere. The St. Charles Line with the green streetcars is the best-known one. It travels along St. Charles Avenue, passing the Garden District and the city's mansion district, which contains many buildings in French and Spanish colonial style. The Riverfront Line is equally popular. Due to its red carriages, it is also called "Ladies in Red". Real magnets for visitors are the city's cemeteries (Cities of the Dead) because deceased people have been buried in mausoleums here since 1830. Another feature is the city's variety of museums. Worthwhile examples are the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), the Historic New Orleans Collection, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Louisiana Children's Museum, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, Fort Pike and the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. A truly unique sight is New Orleans' Jazz National Historical Park.

St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans

Experience - Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street

The most European US city is not only known for its music and Creole culture but also for its excellent food culture and its relaxed way lifestyle. The Creole and Cajun cuisine is an extraordinary taste experience for connoisseurs. Specialities are Po' boy (a submarine sandwich), muffuletta (sesame bread), gold oysters, crawfish étouffée, jambalaya and gumbo. The Café du Monde at Jackson Square is famous for its Café au Lait and its beignets (a pastry). To the left and right of Jackson Square, you see the typical red four-storey brick houses, the Pontalba Buildings, whose ground floors accommodate bars, art handicraft shops and souvenir shops. Travellers can enjoy free music performances on the French Market, the oldest market in the USA, at the weekend. Besides the French Quarter, you can go shopping in Magazine Street or Royal Street. Art lovers get their money's worth in the many galleries and on the art markets. The city's exciting nightlife mainly takes place in the French Quarter. Bourbon Street is world-famous and contains numerous new and historical bars. St. Anne Street is equally popular. It is also called the "Lavender Line" because it is located at the edge of the LGBT quarter. Frenchmen Street in Marigny offers a number of bars with regular performances by live bands. A real highlight is the carnival season, which starts on the 6th of January, with Mardi Gras Day on the day before Ash Wednesday. At this time, the people in New Orleans celebrate with many parades, balls and king cake parties. The whole city is decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras colours (purple, green and gold) and masks.

Nightlife in the French Quarter

Activities - Romantic carriage rides through the French Quarter

There is a lot to see and do in New Orleans. Active holidaymakers can choose from a number of leisure activities such as golfing, fishing, boating, cycling, bowling, riding and playing tennis. Travellers who want to relax can go on a picnic in City or Audubon Park or get a treatment in one of the many spas. At Jackson Square, more precisely in Decatur Street, you find the typical New Orleans carriages, which are particularly popular with romantic couples. Next to Jackson Square, you see the Mississippi Promenade, which is excellently suited for long walks. A special experience is a visit to the different plantations around New Orleans. San Francisco Plantation, Laura Plantation, Oak Alley Plantation and Houmas House Plantation are popular examples. Great destinations for family trips are Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, the Aquarium of the Americas or the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. At the end of Canal Street, you can cross the river for free to visit the community of Algiers. Further south of the French Quarters, you find Mardi Gras World, the only place where you can celebrate Mardi Gras Day all year.

Mississippi steamboat in New Orleans

Information

New Orleans' nearest airport is Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. From there, you can take a shuttle into the city centre. Arriving by ship is possible as well because the second largest sea port in the USA is an important hub. Good to know: New Orleans is one of the few US American cities in which people are allowed to drink alcohol in public.

The biggest city in the US state of Louisiana is a centre of art, culture, cuisine and music. The birthplace of Jazz fascinates with unique charm created by the city's scenic architecture, easy-going lifestyle and the contagious liveliness, which is particularly present at night.

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