Thursday, 15 November 2012

History and charm in New Orleans

New Orleans has always held a fascination for me – elegant Southern architecture, jazz, creole cuisine and the mighty Mississippi River. I wanted to experience it all!

The largest city in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans combines French Creole architecture with world class cuisine and fascinating annual celebrations and festivals. One of the top ten most visited cities in the United States, the city is home to the French Quarter and the notorious nightlife of Bourbon Street.

The French Quarter is bounded by the Mississippi River, Rampart St, Canal St and Esplanade Avenue and is the oldest neighbourhood in the city. The most well-known of the French Quarter streets is Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is lined with drinking establishments including Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, The Old Absinthe House and Cat’s Meow. It is largely quiet during the day but really comes alive at night! Local open container laws allow drinking in the streets which creates a great ‘street party’ atmosphere.

One of the most popular drinks is a ‘Hurricane’ which is made with rum and fruit juice, syrup or grenadine.

 I was lucky enough to visit during Mardi gras which made the atmosphere even more electric. Mardi gras translates as ‘Fat Tuesday’ and refers to the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before fasting commences on Ash Wednesday. Everybody dresses up in colourful masks and costumes and dancing, parades and all round revelry prevails!

As I previously mentioned, New Orleans is world famous for its food and one of the most popular styles of cooking is Creole. Creole cuisine combines French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American and African influences. Classic dishes include Crawfish Bisque, Gumbo and Shrimp Creole. I visited The Gumbo Shop whilst I was there and had my first taste of delicious gumbo!

To top off an amazing stay in New Orleans, what better way than boarding a steamboat and cruising down the mighty Mississippi River. I took a trip on the Natchez steamboat which was built in 1975 and is operated by the New Orleans Steamboat Company. The Mississippi River is the chief river in North America and borders or cuts through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

New Orleans really does have it all, from raucous nightlife to French inspired architecture to leisurely trips on the river, I urge you to visit.

1 comment:

  1. New Orleans is really wonderful. Though I had visited there once but I am drowned by its charm.