New Orleans: The Big Easy sparkles with restaurants, events, and attractions

New Orleans: Fun and Food Year 'Round in the Big Easy

There are some cities that win your heart. You know they aren't perfect, but they sparkle with a joy in living that is rare. New Orleans is such a city. It thrives with festivals, street musicians filling the air with their music, artists, galleries, food to sigh for, and everyone eager to welcome visitors.

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New Orleans: Eating is passion

In this city, eating is passion and Cajun and Creole cookin' is king. Seafood abounds and delicious food is a way of life. Stellar Antoine's, and Brennan's are again serving the specialties that made them famous. Visitors can enjoy Antoine's Jazz Brunch, along with its specialty dish Oysters Rockefeller, and Brennan's for breakfast or dinner and the finale of their world famous Bananas Foster.

Cafe du Monde is a perennial favorite outdoor eatery. Both for the musicians who sit outside serenading and the cafe's deliciously light powdered-sugar dusted beignets and signature coffee with chicory.

In the Central Business District, one of the hot new spots is Luke serving German and French cuisine in a cozy brasserie atmosphere. And no, you won't find jagerschnitzel mit spatzlesnitzel together on your plate with moules et frites. Just near each other on this eclectic menu. Herbsaint is becoming a new favorite in the Warehouse district.

New Orleans: The Big Easy sparkles with restaurants, events, and attractions


Music feeds the soul in New Orleans. Preservation Hall is jazzed. The intimate space and funky atmosphere puts visitors up close to the musicians, whether sitting on the few benches in front, or standing in the back. New Orleans street musicians are a fixture of the city. From harmonious a cappella to instrumental jazz these buskers bathe the city in music. If you enjoy their offerings, leave a donation in the hat usually placed nearby.

For a real treat, find zydeco music. With its African-Caribbean roots first and foremost, this is dance music. Few people can hear the strains of the washboards and accordions without getting up and moving. It's not as easy to locate as the traditional jazz, rock or R&B sound, but worth the effort.


Historic Royal Street is still the place for shopping. Galleries featuring New Orleans style art, and French antiques line the narrow road. Fisher-Gambino has items for home decor and gorgeous lighting fixtures. Visiting M. S. Rau Antiques is like going to a museum where the exhibits are available for purchase. The 23,000 square-foot space contains everything from Tiffany glass to antique gambling equipment. And did we mention the historic vampire killing kits? The numerous art galleries carry colorful inexpensive posters to original oil paintings and sculpture. Perfumeries blend their own signature scents. The restaurants and shopping makes Royal Street a full day of strolling and eating. Of course, the legendary French Market is a browser's delight.


New Orleans offers every manner and content of tour. Famous for their above-ground cemeteries, these and other city tours help visitors understand the history of this indomitable city.
New Orleans: The Big Easy sparkles with restaurants, events, and attractions

Warehouse District

The Warehouse District, snuggled next to the French Quarter, is a burgeoning neighborhood whose renaissance predates Katrina. Once filled with 19th century warehouses, today it is home to some of the city's best museums and new residents in its new vertical living towers. Magazine Street has the New Orleans School of Glassworks and Printmaking, with its gallery New Orleans ArtWorks Gallery, filled with gorgeous blown glass art. Have a couple of hours free? They also offer classes.

The district is also home to the country's official World War II museum. The National World War II museum has no shortage of information on military campaigns, but the heart and soul of this expanding institution is the oral histories and anecdotes of the men and women, on both sides of the war -- Allies and Axis powers.

Events all Year 'Round

Although any time is a good time to visit this eclectic city, New Orleans knows how to party and offers a calendar filled with festivals, often on the theme of music and food. The Satchmo SummerFest honors native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong with free musical performances on three stages. Southern Decadence taking place end of August through beginning of September with parades of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender culture Of course, there's Mardi Gras, but there's also Voodoo Music Experience held each October around Halloween. The International Arts Festival with world music from four continents. Jazz & Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival with live music throughout the Quarter. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience and more.

As they say in New Orleans -- Laissez le bon temps roulez -- let the good times roll.

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Neala McCarten

Updated: January 22, 2017

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