New Orleans Tips #2
Okay, you’ve decided to go to New Orleans. Hurray!. You will have the time of your life.
But, you ask, what do I know of New Orleans? I don’t know where to go.
Well, what do you want to experience? History? Bars? Naked men and women? Riverboats? Swamps? Alligators? Katrina’s remaining scourge? Jazz bands? Plantations? Vampires? Cemeteries? Ghosts? Fabulous food? All of the above and more? Okay, then let’s get moving and plan this trip.
First and foremost, as I recommended in Post #1, get yourself a copy of New Orleans Vignette Magazine. It doesn’t matter that it’s not being published anymore. You can still buy old copies online and they have a ton of information in them, most still very relevant to today.
Second, for history, get your hands on a copy of a book called “Queen, New Orleans…city by the river….” By Harnett T. Kane. It’s old, so again, scour the internet for it. I swear, it’s priceless when it comes to history in New Orleans. You will learn about duels, prostitutes, murderers, victims, and the history of so many more, including the buildings.
Stories about the Cathedral, the Cabildo, The Vieux Carre...or as we call it...Jackson Square. You can learn about the Baroness Pontalba, who built the fabulous Pontalba buildings that border two sides of Jackson Square ( and which you can see a bit of behind the musicians in the picture above). The cornstalk fence. The Quadroon Ballroom, now a beautiful hotel. How the Creoles and Americans tried to “out do” each other. The history of Storyville, once a bustling neighborhood of jazz clubs and brothels. The French Market…now mainly a place to buy tee shirts and mardi gras souvenirs, but once the place where every cook in town bought fresh fish, vegetables, fruit and all their other food goods.
And in this book you can see pictures of “old New Orleans”, and a lot of what I’ve mentioned above. This is a treasure trove of information that you definitely should read before venturing to the French Quarter. Can you do without it? Of course, but your visit will be so much richer if you know some of the stories behind what you will see.
Then, go on line and learn more. Come here, to Happy Clutter, because I will keep telling you more about one of my favorite cities. Go to Trip Advisor and read others comments, good and bad. Go to New Orleans own page, and sometimes find bargains and sales.
Here's another get started tip....whatever hotel you stay in, don't take their shuttle from the airport. Taxi drivers may be a bit more expensive, but they can be a wealth of information. Remember, they live there. Ask them questions. History, restaurants, museums, whatever, they usually have an opinion.
But one warning, before you climb into that cab, tell the driver where you're going, how long you expect it to take to get there (look that up on Maps, Yahoo, Bing, whatever, ahead of time) and get a price for your ride. Watch out for the vans.....they can overcharge drastically and you end up stopping at everyone elses hotels before getting to yours, and, its harder to get the drivers to answer questions...too many people in the van.
So, now you're at your hotel. Make sure you get ALL of your luggage out of the cab and into the hotel lobby. BTW, I never, ever let go of my purse or my overnight bag, which us packed with any other valuables I've taken with me. That stays on my lap or at my feet, always!
So, that's Tip #2 on your trip to New Orleans. Stay tuned, I'll be back with #3 shortly.