Are you tired of taking the same old vacation year after year, but don’t know where to find the experience you’re looking for?
Well, New Orleans may be the perfect place to make new memories! It’s a city of eclectic cultures, harmoniously residing in one of the most hubris areas in the world.
New Orleans is a vibrant city full of sights, sounds, and smells you will enjoy any time of year, not just during Mardi Gras!
Boasting several ethnic influences, there are many unique experiences that will dazzle your senses depending on the street you happen upon.
The best approach to this colorful town is to start at one end and work your way down.
Nations from around the world have converged in this Louisiana city, such as French, Spanish, Congolese, Haitian, Native American, Latino, Sicilian, and Anglo-American, creating a fusion of cultures you won’t find anywhere else.
When you think of New Orleans, Cajun and Creole probably first comes to mind.
Despite popular belief, these two influences are starkly different, but play an intricate role in the history of New Orleans.
Cajuns were a more rural French people from various parts of Canada who were exiled after British control.
They settled in South Louisiana and branched out into Texas. Their food and music has been a contagious influence you can still experience today.
Cuisine such as gumbo, étouffée and jambalaya all have the Cajuns to thank.
Their upbeat musical sound combines the fiddle, guitar, and accordion, and songs are sung in the traditional Cajun French.
Creoles, however, are a mix of French, Spanish, and African who settled in the convenient town of New Orleans, right off the port of the Mississippi River. Unlike the Cajun farmers, Creoles remained in the city.
The Creoles resided in the infamous French Quarter, still a bustling center of New Orleans today.
French culture is the leading influence in New Orleans, bringing Mardi Gras, Catholic schools, and jazz funerals to the Big Easy.
While everyone knows the wild escapades of Mardi Gras (where masks were traditionally worn to eliminate class distinction), the jazz funerals—where a jazz band plays during the funeral procession as opposed to more somber music—are not as popular outside the French Quarter.
Although it was the French who popularized the jazz funeral, it was the African American culture that made jazz music the legacy it is today.
Many greats reigned from Louisiana such as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, the “inventor of jazz” Jelly Roll Morton, and “The King” Buddy Bolden.
Taking a stroll down Bourbon Street, you won’t be able to stop swaying to the beats these legends left behind as you linger past the bars and jazz clubs up and down the corridor.
There are many impressive students and aces alike keeping jazz alive, which has become a sort of anthem for the narrow roadways of the French Quarter.
Check out Fritzel’s European Jazz Club to hear some of the best of them, with artists performing every night of the week.
However, be aware if you are traveling with your children. Bourbon Street is also the place you will pass drunken young people and burlesque clubs trying to lure you in.
Walk the French Quarter during the day to get fresh bread from the German owned Leidenheimer’s, or to join in the “second line” of the brass bands that play down the street, just as the locals do. And don’t forget to get a beignet and a cup of chicory coffee!
Another interwoven aspect of New Orleans history was the practice of voodoo. The Healing Center tucked between the French Quarter and 9th Ward shows you what this mystical art looks like today.
So if you love music, culture, and the water, then New Orleans will be an unforgettable experience you won’t get anywhere else in the world.
The unique tastes and vibes that make New Orleans it’s own tucked away treasure will want you coming back for more.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have any recommendations on where to visit in New Orleans, or if you have a New Orleans experience you’d love to share!