New Orleans is an amazingly popular destination, and while it has become famous for a wide range of adult-oriented activities, there are, in fact plenty of things to do for the whole family. This city has developed a truly unique culture from influences from all over the world. From the architecture and cuisine to the events and music, there are a lot of elements that make New Orleans so remarkable.
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1. New Orleans Music
Music has always been a major part of New Orleans culture. This is where jazz was born, and the music still permeates almost everything in the city. Whether it’s the loud, boisterous sounds of events and parades or the soft, smooth jazz in the small, atmospheric clubs, the music in this town is something special.
It is important to note, though, that while the music you hear on the famous Bourbon Street may be a good introduction to the music scene, most locals will probably tell you that’s not where you can get the most authentic experience. If you really want to hear something special, you can try some of the clubs and theaters away from the normal tourist areas. It may take a little extra work, but it will be well worth the effort.
2. The New Orleans Food
New Orleans cuisine is an experience not to be missed. The first thing you should try on arrival is the famous Creole food. The Creole culture and cuisine was already thriving in this area when Louisiana was purchased in 1803, and since then it has continued to grow and develop and add influences from around the world. In basic terms, Creole has a mixture of French, German, Spanish, and West African influences, but it is something you just have to try for yourself to really appreciate.
A lot of travelers also expect to try some Cajun food in the city, even though it is not, in fact, a New Orleans creation. However, with so many people looking for it, many places throughout the city have added some Cajun options. There’s something for everyone in New Orleans, whether it’s the fresh fish, oysters, and crawfish, or the wide varieties of gumbo. A traveler could spend the entire trip just sampling the unique dishes.
3. New Orleans Is Rich With History
The unique culture of New Orleans comes from the long history that began as far back as the late 1600s when French trappers and traders settled in the area. After it was purchased by the U.S. in 1803, many new people began moving into the city, but they tended to settle up river from the French section, with Canal Street becoming an unofficial dividing line.
This is what created the French Quarter – the oldest and most famous part of the city. This neighborhood actually went neglected until the early 20th century, when a lot of people started to realize the potential of the area and the jazz musicians started getting a lot of attention.
Of course, one of the most tragic parts of New Orleans history was Hurricane Katrina. This tragedy changed everything in the city, but the city has been determined to get back on its feet, and most travelers won’t notice any signs of what they experienced. However, there are some areas that are still recovering.
4. The New Orleans Events
Of course, no discussion of New Orleans would be complete without its world famous events. Mardi Gras more than doubles the population of the city every year, so travelers are advised to book their hotels far in advance. This is the time of year when parades, parties, and pageantry rule the streets, with revelers wearing their masks, costumes and beads as they enjoy the experience. It should also be noted, though, that while most people believe Mardi Gras is a strictly adults-only event, there are lots of family friendly activities scattered throughout the city, too.
While nothing can top Mardi Gras for sheer numbers and spectacle, Jazz Fest still brings in more than 500,000 visitors every year. This is held annually on the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, and it is a chance for anyone to experience jazz, Cajun music, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and much, much more. With thousands of musicians and lots of options for food and fun, this is a remarkable part of New Orleans culture that you won’t forget.
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