Here’s my quick plug for the city, if you haven’t been. Try the French Quarter festival in the spring, it’s free and features local musicians only. Unlike the crowded Jazz festival that takes place two weeks later or the craziness of Mardi Gras in February, the French Quarter festival gives you more of a local flavor. You can peruse the shops on Royal Street or sip café au lait with a beignet at the Café du Monde near the riverfront. It’s a great walking town and has classic streetcars that run up and down St. Charles Avenue if you wish to wander further afield. The plantation style homes in the Garden District look reminiscent of Gone with the Wind, and are second only to the iron balustrades and Creole architecture of the French Quarter across town. Great museums abound, including the growing World War II exhibits, which rival anything in Washington D.C. You can also take a riverboat ride on the Mississippi or eat out at any of the endlessly impressive Cajun and Creole restaurants. I admit, I did just about all of these over the last few days, and each was well worth it.
The best thing about New Orleans is you never know what you’re going to find. One day we came across this little street band that played some awesome jazz. We bought their CD on the spot. We also met some friendly locals who pointed us towards their favorite eating spots. And famous people abound as well; many homes in the Garden District belong to movie stars, writers, actors, etc. Oddly enough, we actually spotted the comedian Jeff Foxworthy on the street and in the museums, twice! Like I said, you never know what you’ll find from one day to the next. So go checkout the Big Easy for yourself, and as they say in New Orleans…“Laissez les bon temps roulez”…let the good times roll!