Some of these type of "artists" dot the streets of the French Quarter. Their poses draw your attention (and your money) like deer and headlights. Some are almost convincing and others should just quit their day job.
The live statue in this picture was extremely convincing and gave my daughter and another tourist a crash course in a "day in the life of a street artist". It was quite enjoyable to see this friendly person interact with us and especially my daughter.
Unique Suggestions There is nothing to be ashamed of in just smiling and walking away or offering just your change. If you don't have a strong constitution for this, you will find your money in their buckets.
On the pedestrian malls surrounding Jackson Square you'll find a bunch of psychics all trying to tell you your future. I went up to one of them and asked if she knew what city I was born in. She had no clue, of course, so I figure if they can't see into my past, how can they see into my future!? Don't be a chump. ;-)
Everything you see on the streets is not always as they appear. You will likely run across a few women who appear to be very outgoing and flamboyant. These are not actually women at all, but rather men who dress up as women. If you really want to know the difference, you can ask them to hold their arms straight out in front of them, and if the elbow joint does not curve over 180 degrees, than it is a man.
There are lots of mimes around, especially in Jackson Sq. Unless you are prepared to loose a buck or two don't stand there and watch them. You'll either get pickpocketed or be expected to add to their hat or both.
Along the riverwalk you may see vendors trying to peddle their jewelry or art, and we stopped and bought a couple pieces of jewelery for cheap, but be careful of the card sharps you could lose your money really quick! These guys hands' move really quick, I saw people lose 40, 80, 120 bucks on one guess. But it is fun to watch, especially if you aren't the one betting! If you are going to play make sure you watch the dealer for a while and see how he works. Some of them arent very good but we noticed this guy would say "make sure you pick up the Ace" if you were going to pick up the wrong card, just to throw you off. Good luck, if you do pick the right card- you double your bills!
My daughter is holding up a balloon that I was forced to to purchase from a balloon person. We passed them once on our way to Cafe du Monde and I was successful in averting their insistent beckonings. What is worse is that they were asking MY daughter. Of course my daughter would like a balloon animal...but since they don't last (and I know how to make a poodle) I thought the exchange was worthless. We had to pass by them again and they had us cornered. They were making balloons before I can say "no thank you" and demanded a "donation".
I later gave my daughter a lecture about "gifts" from strangers and of course, the balloon didn't last. Live and learn I suppose.
Unique Suggestions If you get cornered with a balloon person. Smile and ignore, they are much more pushier than the other street vendors. I guess they have to be in order to make a living.
Around Jackson Square you'll see several artists and/or vendors selling their art. These works on canvass or paper range from abstract scenes of the French Quarter to still life as well as caricatures of celebrities and politicians. Often you'll find artists willing and able to do caricatures of you with a Bourbon Street scene in the background.
Why is this a tourist trap? Don't get me wrong, there are some great works for sale but ask yourself if you're really going to want it a few months after your return.
There was a long row of these astrologers in between Jackson Square and the Cathedral. They were there from late in the afternoon to the wee hours of the morning.
They charted your future with runes, tarot cards, numerology, or just really good guessing. Wether you believe them or not is up to you. Most won't approach you until they see a look of interest in your face.
All within a one-block radius at any given time: Young men balancing bicycle wheels atop their heads. Men and/or women dressed as Greek gods and godessess painted in silver intently trying to remain frozen. Bronzed cowboys making robotic noises as they move their "articificial" joints. Acrobats. Dancers. Tarot card readers. Fortune Tellers.
Unique Suggestions Right outside the doors of St. Louis Cathedral on the north end of Jackson Square, you'll usually find VERY talented musicians playing in the traditional New Orleans Brassband and Dixieland style. If you happen to be in the area while a group is performing enjoy the quality traditional interpretations.
Pay a few bucks and the local fortune tellers will tell you your past, present and future (in case you forgot where you came from and how you got here). Yeah. OK. Why was the fortune teller lady scared when the balloon popped? She should've known it was gonna happen!
I live here in New Orleans.. and I find the whole trap analogy offensive. We are known all around the world for crowds.. massive crowds depending on events going on.
Street performers are indeed artists ..and are New Orleans icons. Aside from it being a unique and creative outlet many are dependent on the money they earn doing so.
Jackson Square Artists are also like the street performers and are essential to our economy.
This is what people come here for and why we love New Orleans. LIVE AND LET LIVE..where strange IS normal..
Something you don't like or find offensive.. don't judge, just walk away. As in any city any where... watch your personal items, children and pockets.
We are a diverse city that offers a buffet of things to do for all. Apply common sense and good judgement you will have a memorable and wonderful time..
Unique Suggestions There are many websites you can research before coming.. ones created by locals for the vacationer to help determine what activities best suit your tastes and likes.
Once here you can also find many skilled and experienced guides if you want structure or you feel more comfortable.
As any big tourist( Las Vegas, NY city, Hollywood Blvd.) destination there will always be someone looking to get over if they can.. so keep your safety in mind at all times even in your own mall parking lot.
This is a city that never sleeps and often tourists get out of control and forget themselves.
If you think or know this is you then make sure as in anywhere you partake to have a designated non drinking companion . Again, use of common sense and judgement go a long way every day not just on vacation.
Fun Alternatives New Orleans is much more than Bourbon St. or Jackson Square, we have historical home tours and national parks, swamp tours, battlefields, museums , river boat rides down the Mississippi, casinos , cooking classes, spas to pamper yourself. Did I mention our great antique shops, even outlet mall a short drive out the city.
Magazine Street is also a great alternative for many over Bourbon St. with tons of shopping, restaurants and galleries to explore.
Fishing, boating, and great sport teams which the arenas are always hosting events or trade shows are always a great alternative from the bar district.
Still in recovery from Hurricane Katrina and BP oil spill (contrary to what media tells you)
and we welcome all to come see why we call New Orleans home...
This is an incredible city for all, a vacation here will give you an experience like no other and memories to last a life time..
If you must have your palm or cards read in New Orleans, there are plenty of people who would be glad to take your money... they might even see it in your future. You won't find the real deal out on the streets, but if you feel the need for instant gratification just make sure you find out how much it will cost you first.