New Orleans is a spectacular city to visit. As soon as we began the long drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, we were immediately shocked by the number of boats in the beautiful water. Of course, you could fly to New Orleans but the drive is really quite lovely.
This fascinating city is very crowded and the traffic can be brutal. Parking is nearly impossible to find. Fortunately, we stayed in the St. James Hotel which offers valet parking for their guests. Streetcars and taxis are available for those who fly and don’t want to rent a car.
The 1850 House at Jackson Square is a great place to visit. We were impressed by all of the period furnishings within it. The 1850 House is styled around the lives of a middle class family. History buffs shouldn’t miss this tour while visiting New Orleans.
Another great place to visit is the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. We really enjoyed watching all of the colourful sea life swimming throughout the facility. The tour guide explained that there were more than six hundred different species in the aquarium. The view of the great Mississippi River is right by the venue and it is worth checking it out for the amazing scenery.
The Audubon Zoo in the Garden District of the city was spectacular. We found it hard to believe there was a fifty-eight acre zoo right in the middle of New Orleans. They have one of the best zoos in the United States. We especially enjoyed the White Tiger brothers, Rex and Zulu. There is an animal nursery which seemed to be popular with all of the visitors. All around the swamp area which is loaded with alligators are wicker rocking chairs. We enjoyed relaxing there before grabbing a snack at the restaurant. Animal lovers will absolutely love the Audubon Zoo.
Located in the Arts District is the oldest museum in Louisiana. We were driving to Louisiana’s Civil War Museum and found it odd as the building looks like an old cathedral while the other area buildings are significantly newer. The museum has an incredible collection of artifacts and memorabilia from Confederate soldiers and events in the Civil War. This was really an interesting museum and the curator is very happy to answer questions about their displays. This was really a great place to spend the afternoon.
One of the most amazing places that we visited in New Orleans is the Voodoo Museum in the French Quarter. The Voodoo Queen was happy to explain all about the culture and rituals of this religion. We really didn’t know anything about it and dispelled all of the crazy myths that we heard. There is a gift shop where people can buy love potions, voodoo dolls, crosses made out of real bones and other oddities. Those who like interesting yet out of the ordinary places will surely love the Voodoo Museum.
It may sound a bit mental but one of the most popular places to visit in New Orleans is the St. Louis Cemetery, number one. It’s located downtown on Basin Street. One of the things that we found rather strange was that the dead in New Orleans are always buried above the ground. We learned that this is because the city was built on swampland and the bodies would rise out of the ground if they were buried traditionally. Just by meandering through this cemetery, you’ll see a variety of ways that families have covered their dead. Many of the tombs are made out of cement but there are some that are simply made of bricks stacked around and slightly above the body of the deceased.
During Hurricane Katrina, many of the graves were damaged. Visitors can see into a few of the graves which are missing bricks. Do make sure to visit the tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Visitors should always leave her a gift. When we went to the cemetery, there were flowers, money, alcoholic beverages, voodoo dolls and many other trinkets left for Voodoo Marie. Just to be safe, we left her a few quarters.
Most people visit New Orleans for the partying lifestyle of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. We didn’t take a leisurely stroll down Bourbon Street and found that it consisted mainly of pubs and souvenir shops. The streets were lined with snockered people piddling on buildings and falling down. Scantily clad young women were happy to bare their breasts for men offering them colourful Mardi Gras necklaces. Bourbon Street wasn’t my cup of tea and surely isn’t appropriate for children however; young people in search of a good time would certainly find one there.
Before leaving New Orleans, we wanted to take a drive through the Ninth Ward. This was the district that was hardest hit during Hurricane Katrina. It was a very sad drive. There are still homes with the government’s markings as to how many people died in a particular home on them. It has been nearly seven years since the deadly hurricane took the lives of about two thousand people. Driving through this area will help visitors understand how truly devastating this natural disaster was to The Big Easy.
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