With a heady mix of superstition, tradition, history, and tragedy, New Orleans welcomes and delights visitors to a place where every street tells a story. Take a historic streetcar ride through Canal Street and think back to Tennessee Williams’ steamy play, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' based in the city, or visit the French Quarter and the infamous Bourbon Street, home of the Mardi Gras festival. Stop for a delicious cafe au lait and try the beignets, a true local delicacy, before heading out to sample the tastes of the city's world famous cuisine. No trip to the city is complete without remembering the victims of Hurricane Katrina at the moving memorial on Canal Street. This honours the over 1,800 people who lost their lives in the events of August 29, 2005.
Location: In a sea of marsh and swamps is 'The Crescent City'
Built along the curves of the Mississippi River, the city has a high point of just two metres above sea level. It is surrounded by levees, or earth buttresses, to keep the waters at bay. Served by Louis Armstrong International Airport on the western outskirts of the city, it is less than a 20-minute bus ride to the centre. A spectacular 40-kilometre drive north across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway brings you to the small town of Mandeville. The causeway looks never-ending as you venture onto it, and its open sides give wonderful views of the lake and cityscape.
Business: One of the USA's premier convention centres
Many hotels offer facilities for the business visitor and all are within easy reach of one of the finest business venues in the USA. The Ernest N. Moral Convention Center is the sixth largest in America, and has the capacity in its Great Hall for over 60,000 guests. For more intimate business meetings, there are boardrooms available that cater from 50 to 350 delegates.
Culture: Look beyond Mardi Gras for a cultural feast
Of course, Mardi Gras is the major cultural event in the city's calendar, but step around the corner from the frenzied activity, take a breath, and enjoy some of the city's love affair with opera, classical music, and ballet that has been a part of life since the French settled here in the 1700's. With a dozen major venues to choose from, and many more smaller organisations and theatres showing performances, you can be assured that on any given night there will be something for you to discover.
Activities: Tuck in to some of the local cuisine
There is one thing you are sure of when you go into nearly every New Orleans restaurant or diner, and that is you will not leave feeling hungry. From the Po-Boys, huge stuffed sandwiches, to traditional Jambalaya, Gumbo, or Crawfish Étouffée, you will get a taste sensation unlike anywhere else in the world. A tradition for many locals is the Sunday Brunch; many establishments offer a classy option for this mid-morning meal, often requiring a casual smart dress code and with live music to accompany your meal. It is often advisable to book ahead, as brunch times can vary and are very popular.