Join intern Liz as she blogs about her experiences on the Step On Bus Tours team.
Stand on any given street corner in New Orleans and you’ll be barraged with the unexpected. Neon lights flash, beckoning you into voodoo shops, bars with frozen cocktails to go, and live performers. Visitors and locals alike watch overhead from balconies, listening to the sounds trumpeted by the jazz players. You’ll most likely find some sort of plaque or marker, explaining the events that took place hundreds of years ago and yet are still a part of the atmosphere.
|The St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square|
It can be tough to decipher where you are, what era it is, or, most of all, what you want to explore first.
The magic of New Orleans is unlike any other place. It is a French-Creole city of many different cultural influences, experiences, and histories. The impact of the city’s establishment by France is still strong, from the architecture to names on the street signs to the signature food (beignets being an arguable favorite). Mixed with the Creole history that imbibes the area, the almost forty-year presence of the Spanish, and the uniquely American Antebellum touches, you get a gumbo pot full of personality with something for everyone.
Walking through the streets, it is easy to think that you left the America that you have known and arrived in a different country with its own unique swagger.
The party reputation of the French Quarter, however well-earned, is not the only aspect of the neighborhood: the small, local shops and restaurants bring character to the area. Ride the streetcar to the Warehouse District to go to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Walk through the Garden District and be treated to an unofficial home tour, looking at some of the most beautiful residences in America. Or, for the adventurous traveler, venture to the bayous for some quality time with alligators.
|The French Quarter|
What really sets New Orleans apart, however, is the thorough enjoyment of the simple pleasures that the city’s patrons revel in. There is no guilt in these pleasures: a large, hearty plate of jambalaya; an ice-cold drink in the Southern sun; a swinging melody. Religion is a large part of Orleans culture. Family gatherings on porches are commonplace. I have a theory that music is so popular in NOLA because it is so easily shared with others, giving anyone who can hear it a little pleasure of their own.
It’s near impossible to describe the Big Easy in just a few paragraphs. New Orleans is something that has to be seen to be believed. And even then, as you stand on that street corner, you may not be able to believe your eyes.
For more information on our trip to Biloxi and New Orleans September 10-16, 2017, call us at (248) 619-6692.