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Whether or not you’ve ever traveled to New Orleans, you’ve likely heard about it from a friend. After all, it’s where the famed Mardi Gras festival explodes onto the scene each February, and where much of Southern jazz and Blues were born. It’s where the unique architecture of the French Quarter resides, attracting millions of tourists to walk the cobbled streets and taste the beignets each year. But there’s so much more to New Orleans than just its old, historic buildings, fantastic food, and famous celebrations.
New Orleans Cemeteries
The mere mention that you want to tour some cemeteries might garner a few suspicious looks from friends. But take those same friends to one of New Orleans historic cemeteries, and they’ll surely be in awe. St. Louis Cemetery #1, the most famous, was opened in 1789 and houses a variety of breathtaking above-ground vaults from the 18th and 19th centuries. It can be a little creepy, especially when the sign at the entrance warns that any visit is at your own risk. However, one can truly experience the history of the city on the cemetery grounds, in a way that isn’t possible anywhere else. In fact, the cemetery is so popular that even Nicholas Cage purchased a pyramid-shaped tomb in the cemetery as his final resting place.
The French Quarter
New Orlean’s French Quarter is known for hosting wild celebrations such as Mardi Gras, and housing the city’s lively and sometimes outrageous bar scene. But there’s more to the French Quarter than dance parties and hand grenades. The French Quarter actually features some of the most famous cuisine on the southern coast, vibrant culture, and its own style of New Orleans art. Stroll down Royal Street for a peek at all different types of modern and contemporary art. Stop in one of the French Quarter’s famed seafood restaurants for some freshly-plucked oysters or red beans and rice. And of course, you must stop by Café Du Monde and have some famous beignets on your way to the French Market. They’ve been serving coffee and baked goods in that exact spot since 1862.
Perched along the great Mississippi River, you’ll encounter one of the most beautiful public squares in the south. Jackson Square, with its unique cathedral-like architecture, bronze statues, and wide expanse of lush greenery, has been featured in numerous movies, and continues to be a site that attracts travelers from all walks of life. And if you’re in search of a masterpiece, it also serves as the home base for an open-air artist’s colony. Although Jackson Square is surrounded by restaurants and shops, it’s entirely free to visit. So, grab a beignet from Café Du Monde, find a park bench, and spend the day doing something most travelers love doing: people watching.
New Orleans Tours
Guided tours offer access to all of New Orleans, but with the added bonus of a knowledgeable guide. Current tours available in New Orleans:
- Cemetery Tours
- Plantation Tours
- French Quarter Tours
- Cultural and Historical Tours
- Neighborhood Tours
- Horse and Carriage Tours
To see what’s going on in New Orleans, and browse the different types of yours and their availability, check out New Orleans Online.