New Orleans Culture.
New Orleans culture is different from any other city in America. New Orleans has been called the northernmost Carribean city for a reason—it is indigenously connected to the Gulf Coast and climes beyond. New Orleans is an island where fairy tales come true. It can happen to you.
New Orleans is a bird of another feather.
Time moves more slowly in New Orleans than it does in other places. No one is in a rush. We are all just enjoying our lives and the company we keep. Everyone is friendly in New Orleans. Happiness loves company and good memories are made in New Orleans every day.
It is going to be nice to see you.
Stay for as many days as you can and explore as many parts of the city as you can. New Orleans is a kaleidoscope. Every facet is a part of this wonderful city we call home, but every part of it is distinctly unique.
Here is a list of some parts of New Orleans that most visitors want to experience and some that they should if they want to get off the typical tourist radar:
Bywater. A collection of artists, hipsters, and AirBnBs, the Bywater is a collection of quirks. Wander its streets to admire the murals and the overall creativity that infects the air. Between Poland Avenue and Press Street, there is a scavenger hunt of experiences to discover. Lovingly referred to, by some, as “the Brooklyn of New Orleans.”
Marigny. Faubourg Marigny was the city’s first suburb. A lived-in, organic neighborhood, the Marigny is home to a number of old-school bars, small bistros, and Frenchmen Street. Frenchmen Street is where locals go to listen to live music. I went the other day for a hot dog. I sat on the balcony. It has the best view.
French Quarter. New Orleans’ raison d’être, the French Quarter is over 300 years old. Do you want to go to the Quarter? Yes. Do you want to spend all your time there? I hope not. It is nice. Everyone goes for good reasons. Do not spend all your time in the French Quarter.
The French Quarter is bounded by Esplanade Avenue on one side and Canal Street on the other side. La Belle Esplanade is located a twenty-minute stroll from the quiet end of Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street is another five minutes after that. There are bars, restaurants, and historic sites, speakeasies, houses of assignation–all sorts of things you will never find in Illinois– scattered all throughout the French Quarter. Go. Wander around. Get lost in the jazz. Soak it in.
Central Business District. The CBD is the part of New Orleans that looks like a regular city. If it were not for the St. Charles streetcar, you would not know you are in New Orleans, except for the fact that everyone is happy. The architecture in the CBD is classic American urban. A collection of highrises that house hotels, offices and condominiums, the CBD is home to the National WWII Museum, as well as more things than I care to mention here.
I will mention the Federal Reserve bank in the CBD. Check it out. They have a little museum and they will give you a souvenir when you leave, gratis. Shredded bills are worthless.
Garden District. If there is one thing you should do while you are in New Orleans (besides visiting the French Quarter), you should take the St. Charles Streetcar. This is the green streetcar.
The Garden District is in the American part of the New Orleans. Wander and enjoy the architecture. Most of the house you will see are still single family homes that belong to the original families. This is genteel New Orleans, debutante territory. All aboard!
Uptown. Uptown is a direction, it is also a distinct neighborhood, it is also what we refer to everything upriver of Canal Street. Take the St. Charles Streetcar to the end of the line and back. St. Charles Avenue is lined with big, beautiful mansions, as well as Audubon Park, and Tulane and Loyola Universities. Get off on Oak Street or Maple Street. Go to Jacques-Imo’s and then catch a brass band at the Maple Leaf.
Magazine Street runs parallel to St. Charles Avenue. It is the main shopping street in New Orleans, lined with bars, restaurants and shops. It is not constant commercial but it is seven miles long so there is always more to discover. Strollling Magazine Street is a pleasant way to spend a day.
West End. This is advanced placement. You will need to get a ride out there, or rent a bicycle. It is not that far but I wouldn’t walk there. It’s a long walk. The West End is on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Seafood restaurants with views of yatchs coming and going out on water as far as the eye can see. A toast to the sunset.
Mid-City. Take the Canal Streetcar. One line goes to the Cemeteries. The other goes to City Park. Between the two and along the way, Mid-City sprawls its tidy houses and business districts. Mid-City is full of surprises. Some of the best old-style Creole nieghobhorhood restaurants are in Mid-City. Try Mandina’s. Try Katie’s—Guy Fieri loves Katie’s Restaurant and Bar. Try Angelo Brocato, a Sicilian ice cream parlor that has been open since 1905.
If you are a regular person who wants to imagine what it would be like to live in New Orleans, spend some time in Mid-City. Tourists visit but not as much as other parts of the city because, by New Orleans standards, Mid-City is low key.
Experience New Orleans like you live here. You know you want it.
Ding, ding ding! goes the streetcar.
I will meet you in New Orleans. I hope to see you sooner rather than later.