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Because You Can! Enjoy the Big Easy

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Play nice in New Orleans.
Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock

EVERY DAY IS A MARDI GRAS in New Orleans but the city pulls out all the stops during the official, month-long carnival which starts in January and ends in February.

You can expect massive floats, outrageous costumes and a glimpse of weirdly wonderful West African/ Roman Catholic rituals. If New Orleans is all about eating, drinking and celebrating, Mardi Gras is the best time to visit.

1

ONE OF THE MOST DISTINCTIVE CITIES in the world, New Orleans is known for its old-world character, year-round carnival atmosphere and ‘be nice or leave’ motto.
Louisianians, who live in The Big Easy, have a certain way of doing things, and it’s easy to join the party, whether you’re into live music, Creole cooking or the magical mayhem that is Mardi Gras.

2

THE HISTORIC FRENCH QUARTER delivers a full-on Paris-meets-the Caribbean vibe, complete with buskers, fortune tellers, sketch artists and travelling performers.
Stand-out French-inspired buildings include St Louis Cathedral; the Cabildo, which houses a Louisiana state-history museum; and Presbytère, where there’s a permanent exhibition on Mardi Gras.

3

A MULTI-CULTURAL MIX OF MUSIC spills out on to the streets of New Orleans at all hours of the day and night. Head to Frenchmen Street, where back-to-back bars and clubs deliver live music on tap, everything from rock, metal and hip-hop to folk, Cajun fiddle and, of course, jazz.
Preservation Hall on nearby St Peter Street is your best bet for traditional New Orleans jazz.

4

CITY PARK HOMES ALLIGATORS and is deliciously wild – an only slightly tamed version of the surrounding Louisiana wetlands. Three miles long and one-mile wide, it’s bigger than Central Park in NYC, and dotted with towering oaks and weeping willows, gardens, waterways and bridges. As you wander, stop off at New Orleans Museum of Art and its surrounding sculpture garden.

5

AN INTRODUCTION TO CREOLE COOKING starts with a po’boy sandwich – roast beef or fried seafood, plus tomatoes, lettuce, onion, mayonnaise, hot sauce and pickles, all stuffed into an almost- French baguette. Hunker down in a neon-lit diner off Bourbon Street and po’boy it up with an order of Louisiana gumbo (meat or seafood stew) on the side.

6

PADDLE-WHEEL RIVERBOATS ARE AS ESSENTIAL a part of the New Orleans landscape as the streetcars cars that have rumbled down St Charles and Carrollton avenues for 150+ years. Book a brunch or dinner cruise on the Mississippi River for unique views of the city, with live jazz and Creole-style dining thrown in.

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