New Orleans. There’s a reason they call it the Big Easy. There’s a nonchalantness about the city that is refreshing, relaxing, and well…easy. Visitors need to stop trying to enforce their own agenda on this unique city and just go with the flow!
Located about 460 miles from Atlanta, New Orleans is easy to get to by car or plane. Starting in late 2015, Southern Airlines, which operates out of the private Peachtree-Dekalb Airport, will help you get there in style. They plan to offer direct luxury jet service to New Orleans’ Lakefront Airport, conveniently located close to the Central Business District.
Once you get there this is no shortage of things to do, eat or drink. Check out some favorites in the New Orleans French Quarter.
What to do
Spend your days wandering through Jackson Square, stopping to appreciate the impressive Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France. Admire the unique architecture that is quintessentially New Orleans with French, Spanish, and Creole influence dripping everywhere. Let yourself absorb the more than 300 years of history around you.
Go shopping on Royal Street, one of the oldest streets dating back to the French colonial period. Spend some time browsing at the art galleries such as Galerie Rue Royale, on one of the most expensive streets in the country.
Stroll over to the Toulouse street warf and enjoy a special meal aboard the Steamboat Nachez. Or if you’re not sure where to start, take one of the many walking tours available in the French Quarter and throughout New Orleans. One well-run tour company is NOLA Doubloon History and Heritage Tours.
What to drink
It does not take much to find a reason to partake of a drink in New Orleans. If it’s a day ending in “y” then that’s a good enough reason to have something special!
Head to Bourbon Street to let it all hang out and let go of as much of your inhibitions as you dare. While you’re strolling down the packed streets, try one of the drinks New Orleans made famous: the Hurricane!
For a slightly less bawdy experience, go down to Frenchman Street for jazz, reggae, blues and local music. Get away from the tourists and hang out with locals for some truly authentic N’awlins flavor.
Pirates Alley is a great place for those who want to do some talking with their drinking. Be bold and try the (totally legal) absinthe drink called the Green Fairy at Pirates Alley Cafe.
What to eat
You must go to Cafe du Monde, open 24 hours a day, every day except Christmas and during hurricanes. Cafe du Monde only serves two things: chicory-based coffee, which can be mixed with milk for cafe au lait, and hot, fresh, sweet beignets with heaps of powdered sugar on top. First time in New Orleans? Blow off a bit of powdered sugar and make a wish! Legend has it these sugared wishes come true!
For a fancy and pricey dinner, head to the New Orleans mainstay, Arnaud’s Restaurant. For the rest of the time, go to their sister restaurant Remoulade. It is casual and comfortable and the huge menu is impressive. This is the place you go when you don’t know where to go.
While you’re in New Orleans, be sure to also get your fair share of classic New Orleans food including po-boys, crawfish étoufée, muffulettas, and if you are there on a Monday get to the restaurants early for their red beans and rice specials. You can come to New Orleans however you want, but just don’t come on a diet.
New Orleans is full of good times and good people. It is a place both the saints and the sinners can enjoy…especially since both of those people tend to live in all of us. There are not many reasons not to go to New Orleans. Who’s up for a road trip?