With street jam sessions to make your hips sway, rich creole food to make you drool and an infectious care-free atmosphere – it’s hard not to fall in love! So, pack your stretchy pants, dancing shoes, alligator spotting binoculars and get ready to embrace the infectious New Aww-leans way of life.
Where music is in the water and the rhythm runs deep
Home to beignets, jazz and European architecture there ain’t no city like the Big Easy. Sweet liquor and brass bands rule the French Quarter most days of the week. World-class musicians are found busking on every corner and hole-in-the-wall dive bars keep you dancing to the early hours. A city that celebrates food and festivals, and history and hedonism in equal measure – nowhere is more at home with itself than NOLA.
Pastel-coloured stucco, wrought-iron balconies and the rattle of streetcars, New Orleans is an old soul. The architecture may be faded, but no city is more alive. Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street are a hotpot of homegrown musical talent, over-spilling bars and smoky cocktails. Catch a live set beneath the ceilings of Preservation Hall, and try and time your trip around Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. Although to be fair, every night in the French Quarter is a carnival.
You don’t go to the Southern States unless you’re a) serious about music, and b) not serious about your waistline. For café au lait and beignets (French-style doughnuts covered in sugar), head for the striped awnings and local institution that is Café du Monde; for poboys (Louisiana’s bad boy meat or seafood sandwiches) go with an empty stomach and loose trousers to Parkway Poboys and Tavern; and for oysters, dive into Bourbon House Restaurant. Happy as a clam.
From swamp bayou’s to wild boars
New Orleans has a wild reputation, inside the bars and out. Only a short drive from the city, the swamps are utterly magical and entirely unexpected. A pristine wilderness of ancient waterways, exotic bird life and Cajun culture, plus a line-up of resident swamp monsters including alligators, wild boar, turtles and raccoons.