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New Orleans: More Than What To See And Do

New Orleans is more than what to see and do. It’s more than beads hanging off of street signs. New Orleans is tasting powdered sugar on the fingers, cobblestones that rise and fall with every step; big porches with small details. It’s big music, marching through the streets and gentle hospitality.
I feel the blast of humidity coat me as soon as I walk outside. It surrounds me and then engulfs me. Nola says “You cannot ignore me. I have a big personality and you are going to look my straight in the eye and see what I have for you.” New Orleans is heat meets grit. It is a no-nonsense work hard, play hard city. The pace moves like slow jazz, where just when you think you know it, it brings up an unexpected surprise.

New Orleans: More Than What to See And Do

The Streetcars: more than just a form of transportation, the cars themselves are a form of history. The streetcar trolleys started back in the 1800’s and the St. Charles green streetcar is the oldest operating streetcar in the world. The RTA fare is easy to purchase through the phone app, and the app also gives walking directions to the closest stop for pickup. I appreciated the app also counting down the stops to alert me when my stop was getting close.

Garden District

Every city has its own personality, and its revealed through its food, its traditions and its architecture. Visit Garden District: stroll through the streets and admire the revival architecture and cottages. I stopped in French Truck Coffee for an iced cafe, and also browsed the Garden District Bookshop. I wouldn’t go out of my way again for the bookshop. It’s literally just a tiny bookstore, but it does have air conditioning. I tried to visit the Lafayette Cemetery, but it has been closed for repairs with no date on when it will re-open to the public.

French Quarter

Bourbon Street is the most famous street in New Orleans. Here’s my take: it’s like the Vegas Strip but more party and less club. I had the very rare opportunity to participate in a Second Line Parade. As we marched through the streets of the French Quarter, people came pouring out of the hotels and bars to cheer us on. I threw beads and danced behind the marching band as the costumed revelers hyped up the crowd. We had a police escort (permits for a Second Line parade are required, and bands are paid up front). We marched for about 45 minutes up and down the streets, sun reflecting off the gold accents in the costumes, the points of our umbrellas and the shiny brass instruments as golden hour turned to dusk.

Jackson Square and the Riverwalk

I walked down from Canal Street to the St.Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America (1720). It is a Catholic Church, dressed as a castle, with a gift shop. Surrounding the Cathedral are the historical museums of New Orleans, and musicians and artists. Across the square is the Mississippi River, and next to the grand staircase taking you up to the riverbank, the famous Cafe De Monde. Famous for their beignets, BUT they only take cash. The riverbank gives a great view of the bridge and the passing ships. This is also where you will find the steamboat tours.

Final Tips for More Than What To See And Do

Wear the most comfortable shoes possible. The sidewalks and roads are uneven.
Bring cash (including quarters) for tips, beignets and riding the streetcar if you decide not to pre-pay on the app.
Plan on taking it slow. The heat is no joke and you really want to take it everything to see and hear. Let New Orleans soak into you, just like the humidity. Soon, it becomes part of you.

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Zanne

Zanne is the Founder, Editor, Administration, and Publisher of WhereGalsWander along with the title of Chief Trouble Maker. Blame her for everything.

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