The Big Easy, the City that Care Forgot, the Crescent City. By any of it’s nicknames, New Orleans is easily identified. This also applies to the city’s carefree style and “laissez les bons temps rouler” attitude for which it is famous. Whether you visit during Mardi Gras or on a random week, you’ll be sure to have fun exploring one of the most historical cities in America.
The Audubon Zoo consistently ranks among the top in America. The zoo is located in Audubon Park and spans 58 acres. The zoo boasts that animals have been at this site since the World’s Fair in 1884. Today, it is home to 2000 animals, including white tigers, a Komodo Dragon, elephants, orangutans, and, in the Louisiana exhibit, there are nutria and white alligators.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
The Audubon Aquarium, as its name implies, houses exhibits focusing on the water life of the Americas. These include a Mississippi River exhibit, a Caribbean reef exhibit, a Gulf of Mexico exhibit, and a Amazon River exhibit. There are 530 species represented, so visitors can see everything from sharks to sea otters to catfish. There is also an IMAX theater on site with a changing list of movies. “Hurricane on the Bayou,” a film about Hurricane Katrina and the importance of Louisiana’s wetlands, is shown most days and is a great watch for visitors to the area.
The Steamboat Natchez is the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. Feel like you’ve stepped back into the 19th century as you see New Orleans from the river on a jazz cruise. You can also tour the engine room and see the calliope, the organ-like instrument famously used on steamboats.
Along the riverfront in the French Quarter sits Jackson Square. This was the center point of Early New Orleans. Enjoy the beautiful park with its statue of Andrew Jackson and walk across the street for a stroll along the Mississippi River. Opposite the riverside of the square are three historical buildings that should be visited: the Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytere. It is not rare to hear jazz music and see fortunetellers and artists in the Square. Jackson Square is also a good base point for visiting Bourbon St. and seeing the incredible architecture of the French Quarter.
New Orleans is famous for its beautiful aboveground cemeteries. Legend and part truth say that the vaults were built above the ground because the city was so prone to flooding; buried bodies could end up floating due to rain. St. Louis Cemetery is the name of three of these sites and includes the oldest ones. Most were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. St. Louis #1 has tours almost daily and visitors can see the supposed tomb of Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau.
Frenchmen Street, located beside the French Quarter in the Faubourg Marigny, is the most famous jazz street in town. On any night of the week, visitors can hear live jazz music pouring out of the many venues. Most places have no cover fee.