One of the most interesting cities in the United States is New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisiana was a French colony for over 120 years, and you can still see this influence today. New Orleans is a melting pot of French, Spanish, indigenous, and African cultures, making it very different from most other American cities. Almost ten years have gone by since Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the city. The city was rebuilt after the tragedy and is now full of energy and attracts tourists from around the world. The best time to visit New Orleans is during the famous carnival season which will begin on February 13th in 2018. Start planning your trip and get your ESTA to soon be able to enjoy this magnificent American city and its legendary carnival – Mardi Gras!
1 A visit to New Orleans can begin in the famous French Quarter. The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 destroyed a large part of the old city, and with it, its French architecture. Accordingly, the city’s current architecture that dates back to the end of the eighteenth century is essentially Spanish colonial architecture – reflecting Spain’s dominant influence in Louisiana at that time. The majority of buildings have very attractive, ornate façades with beautiful decorations on their balconies. The French Quarter’s main street is Bourbon Street. Known for its bars and parties, Bourbon Street is the heart of the French Quarter and one of the main streets in which Mardi Gras is celebrated. During the carnival, people parade down the streets and throw colourful beaded necklaces from balconies. People wear colourful costumes and the atmosphere is full of joy and pleasure.
2 Another major attraction found in the French Quarter is Jackson Square. At the square’s centre you will find an impressive statue of President Andrew Jackson on horseback, which gives the square its name. Behind the statue, you can see the Saint Louis Cathedral, which was built in 1789 and is a very attractive white building with the best of both architectures. To the cathedral’s left is The Cabildo, originally the city hall and now a museum. The Cabildo was built from 1795 and 1799 and was the colonial seat of government in New Orleans. To the cathedral’s right is the consistory which is Presbyterian and was built in 1793 to coincide with The Cabildo. Jackson Square is a good place to take very nice pictures and to walk around.
3 Close to Jackson Square is Canal Street, one of New Orleans’ most emblematic streets. Canal Street is full of big stores, and houses New Orleans’ famous tramway which takes up a large portion of the street. Canal Street crosses Saint Charles St which is home to some of New Orleans most beautiful homes, built in an elegant and attractive style common in the South of the United States. Saint Charles also has an old tramway that takes you to the top of the street and brings you to two famous attractions in New Orleans: Audubon Park and Tulane University.
4 New Orleans is synonymous to good food and no visit to the city is complete without trying its famous creole cuisine and fresh sea food from the Gulf of Mexico. Certain famous restaurants such as Antoine’s Restaurant and Arnaud’s offer creole cuisine, and are found in the French Quarter. Some of the most famous creole dishes are Po-Boys; sandwich with roast beef, fried shrimp, oysters, cat fish, or soft-shelled crab. Another popular dish is Gumbo, a ragout served with okra rice (a vegetable that is in the same family as the sweet potato), seafood, chicken, or sausage. A favourite dish is always crab étouffée. They’re crabs or a sort of fresh water lobster. The dish is slow-cooked and served with rice similar to gumbo. Now, if you are looking for something sweet, eating beignets is the answer. They’re made with fried dough and covered with sugar, but without a hole in the middle like doughnuts. The most famous place to buy these is Café du Monde, to the right of Jackson Square.
New Orleans is one of the can’t miss cities in the United States. It’s one of the most thrilling and colourful cities in the Unites States. Almost ten years have passed since Hurricane Katrina hit the city, but New Orleans heroically rebuilt itself and resuscitated the joie de vivre that has always been so admired. Visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras gives you the possibility of going to one of the United States’ most original an entertaining festivals. Hurry up and apply for your ESTA to be able to enjoy Mardi Gras and all of the other attractions and delicious food that New Orleans has to offer!