Visiting New Orleans in the Spring
The beauty of New Orleans can be overpowered by only one entity, nature. The landscape of southern Louisiana is blanketed by vegetation of all species and people must coexist in this land where pitcher plants can kill honeysuckles. Yet people thrive in this wild wetland. Mardi Gras takes places each year with joy and happiness displayed everywhere, especially in the French Quarter. Jazz bands and Krewes march to the happy tone of the saxophone. There are people everywhere. Even during the months when Mardi Gras is not as prevalent, the air, architecture, tours, and restaurants are still full of Jazz and that exciting New Orleans atmosphere. This scene lays the foundation for some things new comers to New Orleans may not know.
1. Watch out for Dangerous Sidewalks
I saw women walking around in 6-inch heels and the sidewalks are more than uneven. I stepped into a hole a half a foot deep. I nearly sprained my ankle and I was wearing tennis shoes. In fact, the sidewalks were so bad that I had to hold my husband's arm the whole time we were in the Quarter. I kept imagining how people managed walking around New Orleans when Mardi Gras was in full swing on Fat Tuesday and there are thousands of people who flock to the French Quarter.
2. Weather is Variable
My husband and I thought, "It's Louisiana. It must be warm all year like Florida." We were WRONG! On a parade night during February, we froze watching a parade downtown. I can only imagine how cold the cheerleaders marching in the parade were. There is even a ghost story we heard on a tour about a young woman freezing to death on a roof, or balcony (depending on your haunted tour guide), while proving her undying love for her husband. She is still seen lingering about on cold nights. So, be sure to check the local forecast before packing or take some light winter clothes, just in case.
3. Try the Food!
You did not go all the way to New Orleans in the southern United States to eat at McDonald's, Arby's, Denny's, or the Hard Rock Cafe. Try the Shrimp Bar-B-Que, Gumbo, Turtle Soup, or, dare I name it?, a Po' Boy! You must try these delectable delights at a local restaurant where culture and service are prevalent in the historic dining rooms and the very people who are privileged enough to know how to cook food the way it should be made.
4. Hurricane Katrina Still Lives
The population declined and many businesses did not come back. If you drive into New Orleans from the east you will still see the abandoned Six Flags Over Louisiana amusement park rides just off the interstate. The ghosts of the flood waters, the destruction caused, and the people who never returned are prevalent every where but for $40 you can tour the decimated Lower Ninth Ward. I learned that instead of riding in an air conditioned bus, people can volunteer to help rebuild New Orleans. There are many organizations that willingly allow volunteers to help for a few days, a day, a few hours, and they truly appreciate the gesture. I suggest using the website lowerninth.org. Tauck tours also gives part of its tour fee to the lowerninth.org. In the end, I would simply like to see more people helping out a community that lost everything; I hope you feel the same way too.
Hubs on Travel Destinations
5. Have Fun!
Do you know when the next time you will be in New Orleans? There are many historical and interesting places to see while in New Orleans. Take a tour, try a cafe flambe or a signature hurricane, try a culinary tour or a cooking class, check out a museum, volunteer, go shopping, and take a lot of pictures. Have a conversation with some of the locals and hear their wonderfully soft accents. Your time in New Orleans will fly by and I can guarantee you will miss it later when you are remember how nice the southern hospitality you received was. So, you might as well have the time of your life while you are there.
Excellent writings by locals.
A walking tour book for those of you on a budget.
A little Anne Rice because everyone likes a good vampire story in New Orleans.
© 2012 morningstar18