In Order to Really Experience New Orleans, You Have to Experience Its People
To say that New Orleans is a vibrant, culturally diverse city is truly an understatement. Between the colorful sights and sounds of Mardi Gras, to the historic architecture of the French Quarter, to the famous foods like beignets and jambalaya, the Big Easy has something for everyone to explore and enjoy.
However, although there are a variety of beautiful sites to see in New Orleans that will allow you to immerse yourself in the city’s culture, perhaps the most interesting sites to see in New Orleans are its people. New Orleanians are notoriously resilient, and have been able to retain their laid-back and easygoing, yet warm and welcoming attitude (hence the nickname “the Big Easy”) despite being faced with hardship after hardship.
Although the history of the city of New Orleans is a checkered one, filled with various conquests, wars, and slavery, these hardships and obstacles have only served to foster a deep sense of resiliency in its people. This is perhaps most evident in how the New Orleans community pulled together following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina landed in New Orleans. By the time it made landfall, it had decreased in strength from a Category 5 to a Category 3. Nonetheless, Hurricane Katrina is considered the costliest natural disaster, and one of the top five deadliest hurricanes, in American history, causing over $108 billion in damages. Final reports confirmed that 1,464 New Orleanians died as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Despite grappling with bleak odds and terrible conditions, the people of this city were able to come together and rebuild, even in those neighborhoods that were flooded after the levee system was overpowered by the storm. Now, almost ten years later, activities in New Orleans are all but back to normal. Many of the historic architecture and famous places in New Orleans that had been destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have now been restored. However, the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought upon and its people has not been forgotten.
So, while you find and enjoy all the interesting sites to see in New Orleans, don’t forget to mingle with its locals. Their hearty laughter is contagious, their positivity infectious, and their laid-back and relaxed attitude towards life is a welcome break from the constant buzz of the modern world.
How to Really Experience New Orleans, Authentic Cajun Style
It’s so easy to find unique things to do in New Orleans because, well, the Big Easy is a unique kind of place. But in order to truly appreciate and thoroughly experience New Orleans’s uniqueness, you have to throwback to its rich, often tumultuous past.
The greater New Orleans metropolitan area, as well as the city’s center, is rife with culture. This can easily be seen in the city’s architecture, its cuisine, and even in its people, who come from all different backgrounds and come in many different shades.
These cultural influences can even be heard in the area’s distinct local dialect of American English, that is neither traditional Southern nor completely Cajun. Rather, it’s a mix of several different English dialects from various immigrant groups and Cajun (a dialect of French spoken mostly in Louisiana) that have blended to create the famous, almost musical accent that New Orleans natives are known for.
While Big Easy tours are a popular tourist destination in the city of New Orleans and can allow you to immerse yourself in the many fascinating aspects of its culture, they may not be for everyone. If you’re looking for something a little less “touristy” and want to check out the same places in New Orleans that locals frequent, there are plenty of unique things to do in New Orleans that will provide you with a truly authentic experience.
Of course, no New Orleans experience, whether you’re a local or a tourist, is complete without visiting the French Quarter. Referred to simply as “the Quarter” by locals, the French Quarter is the city’s oldest neighborhood, and is an eclectic blend of authentic New Orleanian restaurants and tourist hot spots. Of all the famous places in New Orleans, the French Quarter is definitely a must-see.
Tucked away in the French Quarter is Royal Street, one of the neighborhood’s oldest streets and the place where all the locals go to do their shopping. There are a variety of restaurants, intimate music venues, and hidden-gem boutiques that will allow you to experience the Big Easy behind the scenes — without feeling like too much of a tourist.
How Cajun Cuisine Serves Up a True Taste of Authentic New Orleans Culture
Ever get the urge to visit an exotic, foreign country brimming with diversity and culture? While traveling abroad is truly a rewarding and satisfying experience, you can quench your thirst for wanderlust by visiting a culturally rich location right here in America. Where? Why, New Orleans, of course.
Although the city of New Orleans may be best known for Mardi Gras, the Big Easy has many ways for you to experience life the way locals do, Cajun style. But in order to truly appreciate and understand all the unique things to do in New Orleans, one must take a look back at its rich past.
The Big Easy is all about honoring traditions, and many of the fun and exciting things to do around New Orleans embrace the city’s diverse African, Caribbean, Cajun, European, and Native American influences. If there’s anywhere in the United States that best highlights America’s reputation as being a melting pot, it’s New Orleans. Simply taking a step back (New Orleans is known for its relaxed vibe, hence its famous moniker, “The Big Easy”) to enjoy all the sites to see in New Orleans will allow you to see just how diverse this city is.
New Orleans was founded by French colonists in 1718, but was later ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The Spanish influence is perhaps most easily seen in the city’s old world style architecture and cuisine. When Napoléon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, the population of New Orleans exploded, and saw an influx of immigrants who came seeking a better life. Shortly after the Haitian Revolution of 1804, many whites and freed African slaves flocked to the city as well.
So many of the sites to see in New Orleans involve these cultural influences, which have continued to be honored and passed down from generation to generation. Aside from viewing its architecture, an excellent way to experience authentic New Orleans culture is to take a New Orleans culinary tour. These tours allow visitors to get a true feel — and taste — of what New Orleans is all about.
For a True New Orleans Experience, the French Quarter is a Must See
You don’t have to be born on the bayou in order to enjoy a truly authentic Cajun experience. Simply head down to New Orleans in order to get a taste — literally — of this complex, rich, and vibrant culture.
The Big Apple seems to always be in the spotlight (think Broadway, Fashion Week, New Year’s in Times Square, etc.), the Big Easy gives New York City a run for its money due to the variety of activities in New Orleans. Whether it’s taking in the historically famous places in New Orleans, visiting one of the many alligator farms, or boating through the swamp, there are a number of unique things to do in New Orleans that will allow to experience what Cajun life is all about.
Although there are several beautiful places in New Orleans, the French Quarter will allow you to experience several facets of Cajun culture all in one central location. So if you’re wondering what to do and what to see in New Orleans, the French Quarter is where it’s at. Of all the amazing sites to see in New Orleans, the French Quarter is a must.
If you’re wondering what to do in New Orleans French Quarter, here’s just a few ideas to get you started.
The French Quarter is the city’s oldest and most-visited district. Old world-style wrought iron balconies and Spanish-inspired architecture reflect the city’s rich history and cultural influences. So when in Rome — or New Orleans — it’s best to eat as the locals do. Café du Monde, located at 800 Decatur Street, is one of world’s most famous cafés and serves up traditional French fare, such as sugary beignets (French donuts) and creamy café au lait. Breakfast here will only set you back about $5.
While you’re enjoying your meal, you can bask in glory that is St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, a colonial, European-style plaza that considered the heart and soul of the French Quarter. Jackson Square is brimming with activity, and is home to a number of boutiques, street performers, and even fortune tellers to keep you entertained.
While you’re there, if you need some guidance as to what to do in New Orleans French Quarter — the sheer number of things to do around New Orleans can be intimidating — consider going on a guided tour. The 1850 House Museum bookstores offers fascinating walking tours which focus on the architecture, history, and local folklore of the French Quarter. The best part? Tickets are only $15!
This is just a small taste of what the city of New Orleans has to offer and what to do in New Orleans French Quarter.
How to Experience a Different Side of New Orleans That Many Tourists Don’t Get to See
Sure, Mardi Gras is the ultimate “turn up” spot, but the city of New Orleans has a lot more to offer than just a killer party scene. In fact, if there’s anywhere in the country that’s reflective of America’s reputation as a melting pot, it’s the Big Easy.
New Orleans is a vibrant, thriving city with a rich cultural and historical past that can still be experienced in today’s modern times. While there are several entertainment venues and party activities in New Orleans, a visit to this diverse city wouldn’t be complete without soaking some of the more unique and off-the-beaten places in New Orleans.
Also dubbed the Crescent City due to the way it curves around Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans was established by French colonists and still retains its strong European influence. This is perhaps most apparent in the city’s French and Spanish Creole architecture which can be seen on Big Easy tours.
After Napoléon Bonaparte — yes, that Napoléon — sold New France (modern day Louisiana) to the United States in 1803 as part of the historic Louisiana Purchase, the city of New Orleans grew rapidly. The diverse mix of French, Spanish, Creoles (descendants of colonists who have mixed European, Native American, and African heritage) and Africans created the Cajun flare the city is known for today.
With all this culture and so much to do, it can be difficult to figure out what to see in New Orleans during your visit. So, if you’re trying to figure out what to see in New Orleans that will allow you to experience life as the locals do, head to the city’s most historic neighborhood; the French Quarter, known simply as the Quarter by locals.
Of all the unique things to do in New Orleans, a tour may seem a bit, well, “touristy”, however, the Historic Voodoo Museum located at 724 Dumaine Street in the Quarter offers a 3 hour supernaturally-theme walking tour for under $20. This will allow to experience a different side of New Orleans culture that many tourists often do not get to see. However, voodoo (an Earth or spirit-based religion steeped in ritual) is intrinsically entwined in New Orleans culture and a history, a fact which locals embrace.
On the other hand, any guided tour will allow you to know what to see in New Orleans and what else you might like to experience if the supernatural is a bit too creepy for your liking.