Introducing New Orleans
A heady confluence of the haughty European and the boisterous third-world, New Orleans is often referred to as the northernmost Caribbean city. Precious architecture stands alongside careening overloaded junk trucks, sumptuous delicacies tickle palates while offal in the streets offends the eyes. Never be in a hurry, and any time you step outside, be ready for a meandering conversation with a total stranger.
In August 2005 New Orleans' various strata were laid bare when Hurricane Katrina lashed the city and levee breaks left residents scrambling for their lives. But even after her hardships, the town’s unofficial motto and pervading gestalt is Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll). The people of New Orleans have embraced the process of rebuilding, and though the population in town has been halved by the post-storm diaspora, the areas along the river, most-frequented by visitors, never saw flooding and are rich once again with the city’s trademark joyfulness.
New Orleans' vibrant, old-school panache lends a certain dignity to otherwise debauched activities. Revelers throw strings of beads from cast-iron balconies in appreciation of beautiful strangers passing below. The sonorous echoes of unbelievably sweet jazz, funky brass, R&B and blues beat from unexpected corners, and dancing becomes a reaction, not a choice. Meanwhile succulent restaurant aromas recall a history infused with African, Spanish, French, Italian and Caribbean cultural influences.
It’s a great city to walk around, anchored by the beguiling French Quarter and the adjoining faubourgs (originally, ‘suburbs’). Despite the city’s bawdy reputation, it’s the moment when things are quiet – late afternoon when everyone is at the hotel getting ready to go out, early morning when the light explodes on the city and work crews come out to spray away last night’s sins – that New Orleans reveals its subtler charms.
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Best places to stay in New Orleans
New Orleans city guide
New Orleans is all about experiencing the divine through mortal senses. There’s joy, from great food to the pandemonium of Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, and serenity, in the shade between live oaks, or watching fireflies on Bayou St John.
Beyond the beignets: New Orleans' modern food movement
New Orleans is a food city, no question; it always has been. No offense to those hearty regional faves – gumbo, jambalaya and the ubiquitous beignets – but the association has long been one of over-indulgence rather than variety and refinement.
New Orleans Encounter guide
The New Orleans Encounter guide gives you twice the city in half the time. This pared-down number is ideal for quick trips - it's less accommodation, more neighbourhood highlights and the best of local knowledge.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: a guide to NOLA's second-biggest party
'Gregg Stafford' by dsb nola. Creative Commons Attribution In an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s A Year of Festivals we look at the wild musical party that is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
New Orleans - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to New Orleans starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on the best places to eat, including where to find delights like alligator-sausage cheesecake.
Coast to Coast Road Trip Eastbound
Get out on the road and follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac to discover the real America. This ultimate coast-to-coast road trip connects you and your small group of fellow travellers to the iconic cities, natural wonders, national parks and monuments that make this land great. Learn about Navajo culture in the Southwest and what the odds are in Las Vegas.
Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise
Savor the beauty and romance of New Orleans from the decks of the Steamboat Natchez! Cruise along the Mississippi River while enjoying live jazz music, a buffet dinner and gorgeous sights. This authentic paddle-wheel steamboat in New Orleans is one of only six still operating on the Mississippi River.
The glutton's guide to New Orleans
New Orleans finds itself in its food; meals are both expressions of identity and bridges between the city’s many divisions. In this excerpt from Lonely Planet’s hot-off-the-press New Orleans city guide, we take a tour of the best cuisine in town.
New Orleans - Understand New Orleans & Survival Guide (Chapter)
All the info you need on everything from history, music and architecture, to public transport, money, the internet…you name it. Get hints on the gay and lesbian scene, and tips for women travellers and travellers with disabilities, as well as a handy glossary.