Grayline offers a several hour bus tour of areas affected by Katrina, and I felt like I got my money’s worth from it. We saw areas in all stages of recovery (or lack of it) and the new pumping stations that are supposed to prevent a repeat of the situation. Our guide had first-hand knowledge as well as the technical information—she had 7 ½ feet of water in her home, and it stayed there for 3 weeks.
Many of the replacement homes are being built on stilts, with the lower area just used as a carport or storage area. The tour included a drive through Musicians' Village, and the homes being built by Brad Pitt.
Grayline has a ticket office along the waterfront, and that is also where you board the bus for the tour. I think our tour departed in the early afternoon, and it cost around $45 (slightly less for seniors.)
**UPDATE 4/28/13 - When I last visited New Orleans, I was saddened to see that Le Petit has shuttered her doors... :-(
The original corner building was designed in 1789 by Gilberto Guillemard and built in 1794 by Jean Baptiste Orso, a wealthy citizen of New Orleans. The original building was destroyed in the great fire of 1794 and was rebuilt in 1797 for the last Spanish governor of Louisiana, Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos.
After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the corner building passed through many hands until the mid 19th century when, it became “Le Veau Qui Tete.” As the French Quarter declined into a slum, the building fell into disrepair and remained so until its acquisition by the theatre group, an important component of the “urban pioneers’ of the 1920’s who revived the French Quarter by making it a center for the arts.
During its 92 years of operation, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre has been recognized as one of the leading “little” or community theatres in the nation.
YLC Wednesday at the Square is a free, 12-week concert series with food and drink for sale to benefit the Young Leadership Council. Local artisans also sell their work in the Artist Village near the Camp Street entrance. They sell alcohol and you can set up your own chairs or blankets and listen to the GREAT music. LOTS of people come out to celebrate and it can get very packed so show up early for a good place to set you stuff up at.
Concerts are held every Wednesday from March 6 to May 29, 2013 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, rain or shine.
Listen to the music, be mesmerised by a hula girl, be fooled by a magician or simply watch the characters go by. Great jazz groups all over the French Quarter - sit on the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court for a prime spot for some good live music. Jackson Square often has magicians as well as tarot readers and jugglers. Walk down Bourbon street and you might bump into someone wearing only a black bra, knickers and suspenders - yes it was a guy. Listen to the steam pipies being played on the Steam ship Natchez - very clever and quite nice - for the first 10 minutes. And then there are just the animals ...
A great way to see parts of New Orleans that are not within walking distance of your French Quarter or downtown hotel. We took the 2 hr VIP City Tour - $45 / person in April 2013 (pick up & drop off at hotel) and we were driven around the lower 9th Ward to see some of the effects of Hurricane Katrina, through the Garden District and a guided tour of a cemetery. There are many tour operators offering city tours, swamp tours and plantation tours. Be sure to get one that will take you through the Lower 9th Ward and the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Parking is pretty expensive in the city but it can be a good option if you will be walking around for 3-4 hours....We found a spot in the Central Parking lot near Harrah's Casino, and then took the Trolley ($1.50 each way) around the French Quarter area and back. The parking spot cost us $9.
Did not know this ahead of time, but they have coupons on the website---
We got 2 massages at the same time at Spa Atlantis---not cheap but the service was excellent and the massages were very good. $120 each for an 80 minute massage included a champagne mimosa afterwards.
This is a huge place next to the Louis Armstrong Park above the French Quarter. They have all kinds of perfoming arts' happenings----some things going on as of November 2012 are
Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, Madame Butterfly, Wicked and more. Check the website for more info--open again after Katrina repairs-
We had our car and quickly found a street parking spot near this park where the Treme Cajun Gumbo Festival was going on....free music on a pretty day with 6-8 stands of some of the area's restaurants serving their most popular gumbos, shrimp and more, usually for about $4-$8 per serving. This would be a cool park to visit at any time, with a duck pond and fountains, and lots of trails among the greenery.
There is a park on the levee where people walk their dogs and such---I was told not to do it at night but it seemed that alot of folks were there at all hours safely...great place to see the sunset through New Orleans...
These were my top picks.
Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde is a must. Good for breakfast, brunch, or after a night of drinking some. They offer milk, cocoa, tea and juice also.
If you want a not TOO expensive sit down sandwich (po boys) place, Cafe Masperos, right down the street from Jackson Square.
Wax museum nothing special, but the kids may like it.
Audubon Park Zoo, a good place to let the kids run around, and the across-the-street Audubon Park.
There is a Louisiana Nature center with an observatory, and walking trail (small fee).
There are many other walking history and ghost tour points of interest and tours available. Including plantation mansions.
The lakefront has a really nice Mardi Gras fountain, grab a poboy and watch the boats in the man-made lake and then drive to the near-by City Park and Arboretum trails(all free).
New Orleans Museum of art is a nice big place to go and now has an outdoor sculpture garden, too!
After Thanksgiving the Museum and City Park area have a nightly light display called Christmas in the Oaks. You can walk through or drive through (small fee-per vehicle). It is an amazing display of lights in overgrown oak trees and lit up Christmas decor (and sea monster in lagoon).
There is a lot of beautiful architecture in New Orleans.
A lot of cemetery ground to cover with above-ground graves.
Six miles outside New Orleans is The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery that marks the 1815 Battle of New Orleans
Fontainebleu State Park , north of the lake from New orleans, offers camping, trails and day use-see warning tip.
Grand Isle at the southern tip of Louisiana has a nice beach and tall lookout tower to climb. The camp area, if any is left, is too muddy to have a pleasant stay, but this is a great place to get out and bring a picnic.
Bayou Segnett, south of the river offers camping, cabins, a seasonal water park, boating, fishing, day-use area.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is fee-free and has several trails, picnic area, visitors center and just outside you can rent a canoe (have it brought to you and picked up when you're finished). Jean Lafitte also hosts an annual, volunteer butterfly count (counting migrating butterflies).
Highest point is the Driskill Mountain is 163 m and the lowest point in New Orleans is -2,5 m
Louisiana is the only state in the US with political subdivisions termed parishes ,
Louisiana is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States .
Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans.
Royal Street is a quiet street that runs parallel to noisy Bourbon Street, which is a block away. Royal Street is the center of New Orleans' upscale antiques shops. Although many are very expensive, they are full of a lot of beautiul merchandise and fun to windowshop and visit.
In addition to antiques shops, there are also a number of art galleries and clothing boutiqes on Royal Street. On the day that were were there, the street was closed to cars, and there were a bunch of interesting street musicians performing on each block.
Whenever I get the chance and I have the neccesary transport I always like to look at the city's and suburban local style of architecture.Visitors to New Orleans ,I would imagine ,(like I was ) would be struck by this unique and attractive style of old colonial buildings with their lovely big and "airey" external verandahs ,to cope with the local humidity These verandahs and external areas fitted out with intricately made wrought Iron "laceworked "balconiesand facias..
To me this was so much like early Australian Colonial houses with their iron lace facias and verandahs..a style that is followed today with many renovators following the old styles. I must say I thouroughly enjoyed New Orleans and look forward to a return visit..
This small chapel was built in 1826, which makes it the oldest chuch still standing in the city. It was built close to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, just outside of the French Quarter, at the peak of the yellow fever outbreak; the idea was to avoid holding funerals at St. Louis Cathedral for fear of spreading the disease. In fact, friends and family were not even allowed to enter the church and would have to watch funerals through the front door; as soon as it would be over, the caskets would quickly be taken through a back door straight to the cemetery. Today, the chapel remains a very important part of the Catholic and Voodoo communities in New Orleans (there are several Voodoo temples located near the chapel), especially through its different outreach programs for homeless people. Many parishioners come pray near the statue of St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes (which explains why I didn't take any pictures inside the chapel). Another popular statue is that of St. Expeditus, who is recognized in Voodoo as Baron Samedi, but is not officially considered a saint by the Catholic church - legend has it that when the statue arrived at the chapel, the only thing written on the box was "expedit", which is French for rush delivery, and somehow it led people to believe that it was the name of the saint. To this day, people often come to Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel to pray St. Expeditus when they need a fast solution to their problems. The chapel is also known as the official church of the police and fire departments, and there's a beautiful altar dedicated to policemen and firemen next to the main altar.