7 Things to Do in New Orleans, USA


Mandakini Malla | July 31, 2014 11:50 IST
 



1. Eat Sea Food Jambalaya


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If sea food is your thing, and you love trying out different cuisines, New Orleans is the place for you. New Orleans is famous for a lot of different meals - chief among them is the traditional rice dish known as Jambalaya. While ingredients in Jambalaya can vary from chicken, sausage, seafood, or any mixture of the three, seafood is highly recommend since its local and fresh. The mixture of Creole spices makes it fun for the Indian pallet and the presence of rice brings some home comforts.

2. Bourbon Street


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Bourbon Street is the throbbing, beating, partying heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. It comes alive in the evenings with strains of Jazz wafting through the open windows of its numerous bars, and stays hopping till the wee hours of the morning. Like me, if you don't mind sounds of revelry and merry making through the night, pick a guesthouse / hotel with a balcony on or close to Bourbon Street. That means, you are never far from the party, and you are never far from your bed, in case you need to stumble home.

3. Drink Cocktails



Drinking isn't just a sport in The Big Easy, it's the key to surviving muggy summer days... and in the French Quarter, and it's acquired the status of an art form. Many cocktails can claim N'Orleans as their birthplace - The Hurricane, Sazerac, Hand Grenade to name a few. And there is absolutely no harm in trying out the Bloody Marys, and the Mint Juleps and Margaritas. There are a whole lot of cocktails bars with expert mixologists to be found, though I still prefer old fashion bar rooms with bar tenders, like The Absinth House and the Rusty Nail. The French Quarter is one of the few places in the US where open containers (plastic) are allowed. So don't hesitate to ask for a go cup when you don't want to be tied down to one bar.

4. Listen to live Jazz


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Jazz and NOLA - can't separate one from the other. Classic, experimental, young, old - you can experience it all within the small boundaries of the French Quarter. Just walk down the streets at any hour of the day - let your ears pick out the strains of music and guide you to whichever bar catches your fancy. Or, just hang out with your 'Go-Cup' at any bar window to listen to some A-Grade Jazz till you are ready to move on.

5. Go for a Haunted tour


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NOLA is often referred to as the most haunted city in America. Maybe it is the alcohol addled mind that enhances all experiences or it the chequered history of the city, whatever it is, you know you are never alone. So, why not better acquaint yourself with the friendly spirits by going on a ghost tour. Haunted tours are aplenty in the French Quarter, so pick a good one and go for a spooky walking tour that also explains a bit of the history of the place. And I also discovered a gem in the process - Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop - a tavern located at the end of Bourbon Street. It is known as the oldest continually occupied bar in the United States and the most haunted bar in the French Quarter. Its said that a pair of eyes are sometimes seen in the fireplace... I could swear by the 8 cocktails I'd had that night... that there were quite a few eyes in that fireplace.

6. Take a cruise down the Mississippi


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For a lazy afternoon, book yourself on one of the historic steam boats for a meal and jazz cruise. For a while, it really does feel like you have gone back in time a little... to a time when the pace was gentler and the music was softer. Let the grand Mississippi soothe those party jagged nerves. Fairly easy on the pocket, and a nice relaxing experience, with a heavy dose of Southern Hospitality.

7. Go for a Swamp tour


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I don't know about you, but if I am on a vacation, I need to get out of the city and walk a little on the wild side... and in this case, air boat on the wild side. Just outside the city are the gorgeous, moss draped bayous of Louisiana where you are sure to encounter alligators and swamp snakes... those are the big ticket shows and always fun to spot. The big highlight for me is actually the surreal views from the airboat - ancient cypress trees laden with Spanish moss, the graceful glide of the water birds as the gators silently wait for their chance, or the occasional swamp deer wading cautiously.

While the captain of the boat will always have a few tricks up his sleeve, and get a gator to jump pretty close to the boat, but like all wildlife tours... there is really no knowing what may happen on yours.

TIP: Budget enough for the Tip Jars. Every bar with live music has a tip jar for the musicians.

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