In contrast to the workaday grind to which so many lives are devoted in most big cities, New Orleans is a place where priorities incline toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: “Laissez les bons temp rouler.” In other words, "let the good times roll." Whether that means partaking in Mardi Gras, listening to jazz where it was born, or sampling some of the most soulful food on earth, the Big Easy has you covered.
- Bourbon Street: Neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs along 13 city blocks where the party never stops. Touristy as all get-out, but you have to visit at least once.
- Frenchmen Street: Just north of the French Quarter, this area provides a slightly more authentic taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars can be found within two blocks of one another, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week.
- Don’t pass up the chance to have your fortune told by a psychic on the street, take a hair-raising ghost tour, or stroll through one of the city’s elaborate, Spanish-moss-draped cemeteries.
Hope You’re Hungry
- Café Du Monde: Just off Jackson Square near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, this legendary cafe serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait. The line may look intimidating, but it moves fast and the food is well worth the wait.
- Parasol's: where to go for po’ boy sandwiches involving battered chunks of lobster served on a fluffy French loaf with remoulade
- Gumbo Shop: This French Quarter restaurant dishes up a renowned seafood okra gumbo.
Where to Stay
- Hotel Monteleone: This luxury hotel in the French Quarter has been welcoming guests since 1886. It’s been a particular favorite of authors, including William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote.
- The Cornstalk Hotel: an ornate mansion dating back to 1816; the rooms in this hotel are fit for a king—in fact, Elvis Presley once stayed here.
- Queen Anne Hotel: Located in the city’s genteel Garden District, this fully restored Victorian hotel is filled with antiques, tapestries, and gilded mirrors.