Of all the places you can catch a ride on a Caribbean cruise ship, New Orleans is one of the most magical. Famous for its Mardi Gras celebration, there’s much more to this unique city near the delta of the Mississippi River.
An important port since the early 1700s, New Orleans was ruled by the French and Spanish before Napoleon sold it to the U.S. as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The city has welcomed influxes of Creoles, Africans, Haitians and other immigrants, all of whom contributed to the distinctive art, culture and cuisine of the city.
The first stop for many visitors is Bourbon Street, which stretches the length of the historic French Quarter. There are lots of drinking establishments, live music venues and a non-stop party atmosphere – enjoy it, but be sure to explore the rest of the Quarter, too.
Ironically, most of the Quarter’s historic structures were built by the Spanish after the French colonial buildings had been destroyed by fire. Wander the narrow streets to admire the stucco buildings with elaborate ironwork balconies. You may come across voodoo shops; Pat O’Brien’s Bar, famous for the Hurricane cocktail; and Antoine’s, where Oysters Rockefeller is a signature dish.
The Quarter connects with Jackson Square, dominated by beautiful Saint Louis Cathedral and a variety of street performers. Walk across the square to enjoy delicious café au lait and beignets at Café du Monde.
Beyond the French Quarter, visit the Garden District to see the lush gardens and beautiful homes. The district’s southern border is Magazine Street, known for boutiques and antique shops.
Venture to Uptown to see Audubon Park, site of a former plantation and right across St. Charles Avenue from Tulane University. There’s a golf course, a zoo and a rookery for wading birds like great egrets and blue herons.
Visitors are also fascinated by the Cities of the Dead: above-ground cemeteries that are absolutely fascinating (the city’s high water table makes traditional burial problematic). Some of these cemeteries offer informative tours.
For more information about New Orleans’ wonderful lodging, entertainment and dining options, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal travel expert. Cruise Holidays is holding its annual meeting of franchise owners and agents in New Orleans next week, so they’re likely to have first-hand NOLA information and experiences to share with you.