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Overview to New Orleans: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

Downtown New Orleans

There’s more than a little of the mythical about New Orleans. The bordellos, Mardi Gras, the partying, the decadence, the voodoo, the sluggish Mississippi River… The city seemed to perfectly capture the great sense of romance wrapped up with traveling in America.

Then Hurricane Katrina struck, and the world watched in horror as a beautiful city lay practically in ruins. Thankfully, though, things are now back on track, and the city is returning to its old ways once again.

The French Quarter – the breathtaking Vieux Carré – is a mishmash of charming balconies, colonnaded front porches and half-seen courtyards. It spreads out from Jackson Square to Rampart Street in the north and the mighty Mississippi to the south.

Not far from the French Quarter lie New Orleans' eeriest attraction – the Louis cemeteries known as the ‘Cities of the Dead’. These ornate rows of tombs (including the last resting place of Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau) are bursting with stories of strange goings-on.

To the west of the French Quarter, Canal Street divides Uptown New Orleans from Downtown. Here, the Lower Garden District has a distinct bohemian feel, while the Garden District itself is awash with grand piles and impressive mansions.

The city’s great cultural mix has created a cuisine that’s unique, too. Spicily delicious, Creole food is a real highlight. And then after dinner, an excellent nightlife scene centers around – rather appropriately – Bourbon St in the French Quarter and throughout the Faubourg Marigny.

Every year, New Orleans winds itself up for its two showcase events – Jazz Fest (April/May) and Mardi Gras (starting in January). Despite everything it’s been through, the city seems determined to face the future the way it’s always handled itself in the past – with a swing in its step.