The Party Never Stopped: A City Recovered
Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst tragedies in recordable United States history. The fact that it is the monetarily costliest hurricane to ever strike America pales in comparison to the lives it took and the psychological damage it inflicted. While residents from Florida to Texas also felt Katrina’s wrath in late August 2005, New Orleans suffered a blow that left the city crippled and broken in the wake of the storm. Yet because the spirit of its people remained strong and positive, the city that loves to party recovered and is more vibrant than ever. Even Katrina could not hold the Big Easy down and there has never been a better time to visit New Orleans.
The French Quarter Experience
With so much to do and see in New Orleans, having an entire week to enjoy this fun loving city is ideal. If you are not able to sneak away for that long, just spending a few days here will leave you satisfied and wanting more. Schedule at least part of a day walking through the French Quarter, admiring the area’s metalwork, hanging porches, and beautiful architecture. Because the Quarter was largely unaffected by Katrina, it has remained the centerpiece for tourism due mainly in part to its famous attractions. Since there are many other cool areas to explore in the city, you do not have to marry yourself exclusively to the French Quarter experience. For example, Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny is a great alternative to the drunken craziness of Bourbon Street. In addition to offering wonderful opportunities to see some live music, you will also have a chance to party with the locals. To each their own though, and there is never a right or wrong way to enjoy a city as festive as New Orleans.
If you enjoy fun activities that are free and exciting, take the ferry to Algiers and get an up close view of the Mississippi River. The ferry departs from the Canal Street docks in downtown New Orleans and makes the quick jump across the river to Algiers. You will be able to admire the city’s skyline while also conjuring up sobering images of what the city looked like during and after Katrina. These thoughts might spark a sense of amazement at how well New Orleans and its residents have recovered from the chaos. This is due largely in part to the spirit of the city and its people, which is especially evident in festivals such as Mardi Gras. Although it acts primarily as a suburb, Algiers is also home to Mardi Gras World, a sort of graveyard for Mardi Gras floats. Check it out if you have the time, but avoid Algiers at night as there are few people walking around and it can be unsafe.
When you ferry back to downtown, take some time to explore the Central Business District. The best time to walk this area is during a weekday when you can see New Orleans in action. Make your way up to the Louisiana Superdome and see first hand where many people sought shelter during the hurricane. Let the structure’s new roof and face lift act as testaments to the Big Easy’s resiliency.
Streetcar Named Saint Charles
Another enjoyable yet cheap form of amusement is taking a ride on the Saint Charles Streetcar, which lasts about ninety minutes roundtrip and offers great views of New Orleans’ nicer residential areas. Among other notable sights, you will pass massive southern-style houses with magnificent porches and gardens. Also of interest along the streetcar line are the campuses of Loyola University and Tulane University, which are both very beautiful to walk through. Because it extends all the way from Saint Charles Street to the Mississippi River, Audubon Park is worth checking out as well and it is located directly across from Loyola.
Authentic Nawlins Cuisine
This article cannot go on any further without a mention of New Orleans’ cuisine. Let your taste buds lose control by indulging in some gumbo or jambalaya from a local restaurant. With some of the most delicious food you have ever tasted at your disposal, eating three meals a day is not enough in this city. Dedicate yourself to eating at least four meals per twenty-four hours when you visit. If nothing else, try eating some alligator meat either deep-fried as an appetizer or in a gumbo. Allow the cliché rumor to stand: The meat does in fact taste similar to chicken.
What You Want And More
With so much to offer, let New Orleans be the destination of your next road trip. Regardless of how much time you have to spend in the Big Easy, the city will always leave you wanting more. Whether you love to explore, party all night, or eat until you explode, New Orleans has what you want. Moreover, because of the positive spirit of its residents and help from its many supporters, the city is well on its way to being fully recovered. There has never been a better time to visit New Orleans and it will take more than a hurricane to stop this town from partying.
By: Gordon Alford