Five Unusual Things to do in New Orleans

In Louisiana, New Orleans is the place to go to experience a city that truly captures the essence of Louisiana’s culture and history. You’ll find jazz music at the corner of every street, epic gumbo festivals, tons of museums, haunted cemeteries, and of course, Mardi Gras.

But not everyone wants to check out the usual spots, or maybe they aren’t a fan of the crowds that usually populate local favorites. Thanks to Louisiana Travel, here is a list of unusual things to do in New Orleans.

Located in one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods, you’ll find an arrangement of artist shacks and tiny homes, all built with recycled materials. If you go inside one of these shacks, you’ll find an assortment of handmade musical instruments built into the building themselves.

Their website states “The Music Box Village is a place where play, imagination, experimentation, collaboration, community and hard work come together as a whimsical village of artist-made interactive “musical houses.” Each installation is inspired by the unique musical and architectural culture of our home city of New Orleans, and represents a collaborative process between artists based here and abroad. Our one-of-a-kind art site hosts intensive artist residencies, performances, panels, and welcomes visitors for exploration and play.”

Established in 1772, this shop is named for Pierre Lafitte, a blacksmith and a brother of Jean Lafitte, a pirate, and hero of the Battle of New Orleans. The brothers used their shop to plan their many exploits. In the 1940s, the shop became a popular cafe with local artists.

Their website claims Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to be “a gumbo of truth and French, Spanish, African, Cajun and American embellishments.”

So make sure to stop by and soak up some history when you’re in the French Quarter.

Have you ever been curious about Voodoo and its roots? If so, make sure to stop by this museum!

At the Historic Voodoo Museum, you will learn about the real history of Voodoo and experience Voodoo related artifacts and objects. The museum was founded in 1972 as a designated place for all things Voodoo to live. They claim they took “all the mysteries, the secrets, the history, and the folklores of rituals, zombies, of gris-gris, of Voodoo Queens and all that jazz, and put it all in one place at the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter.”

This warehouse-converted-art gallery features 35,000 feet of gallery space and is home to the up-and-coming artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums. Contrary to tradtional canvases, Odums paints powerful and hopeful murals on exterior and interior walls.

“Studio Be features “Ephemeral Eternal,” his first solo exhibition that includes over a dozen original murals, several room-sized installations, and reconstructed murals salvaged from #ProjectBe before the Florida Housing Development’s demolition in 2014. The studio is open to the public 4 days a week, and welcomes hundreds of visitors from near and far weekly.”

Located in the historic Tremé neighborhood, this museum is the only one of its kind in the world. Dedicated to the contributions of the city’s African Americans to New Orleans culture, the museum has become a collection of priceless artifacts from Mardi Gras Indians and jazz funerals, and has archived images of more than 500 related cultural events.

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Seven Tours You Can Take In New Orleans

What better way to get to know New Orleans than to take one of these tours? New Orleans is filled with rich culture and heavy history, so using a tour guide who is well versed with all the ins and outs of the city, coupled with a hefty knowledge of all the ‘ghosts of New Orlean’s past’, is a great way to see the sites.

Louisiana Travel put together these tours in New Orleans so you can get better acquainted with the Crescent City.

Step Back in Time: History Tours

New Orleans doesn’t have just any old history. This city has experienced it all – massive fires, cultural melting pots, a few spells, mischievous personalities, and so much more. If you know the right places to look, you’ll find that New Orlean’s past is represented all around you. Finding the perfect guide to enlighten you on the stories that are (literally) under your nose.

Eat Your Way Through New Orleans: Culinary Tours

Is it even truly New Orlean’s if there isn’t food? You can take one of many culinary tours that will take you to a few classic New Orleans restaurants and learning the history behind it. If you want a more hands-on experience, check out one of the city’s cooking schools, where you can try your hand at making jambalaya, corn and crab bisque, or barbecued shrimp.

Ride in Style: Carriage Tours

What better way to see the city than a carriage tour? Call for your carriage to pick you up from your hotel or head down to the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square and hop in! All you have to do is sit back in awe as your driver narrates stories from the French Quarter or Jackson Square.

Choose to Cruise: Riverboat Tours

Choose between the Creole Queen or the Steamboat Natchez and experience New Orleans history at it’s smoothest. Pick between a relaxing evening with dinner and a side of Jazz from the Dukes of Dixieland while cruising up the Mississippi River, or dive into history with the Chalmette Battlefield cruise, which starts at the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and visits other historical combat sites.

Spook Yourself Silly: Ghost Tours

Get prepared to have a spookingly good time, because New Orlean’s has lots of ghosts. These nighttime adventures will take you to French Quarter locations best known for their paranormal activity. If you want to tour an actual haunted house, check out the Mystère Mansion/Haunted Mortuarya neoclassical mansion built in 1912 with nine resident ghosts.

Walk Among the Dead: Cemetery Tours

Between cowboys, African slaves, and plenty of voodoo, New Orleans definitely doesn’t have a shortage of cemeteries. On one of these tours, you can wander historic cemeteries, visit graves, and learn about voodoo, including its root in West African cultures, Catholic influences, and its modern-day practices.

Distinguishing Designs: Architecture Tours

Mixed in with New Orlean’s rich and dynamic culture, you’ll find colorful houses, plant-filled balconies, and wistful courtyards. You will see influences from French, Caribbean, and Southern American styles and architectures, resulting in a unique style known from New Orleans. On one of these tours, you’ll see structures that range from modern to the late colonial era.

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Visit New Orleans on a Budget

Visiting New Orleans doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! In fact, there are plenty of things to do that requires a grand total of zero dollars. If you know the right places to look, having fun on a budget is totally possible – especially in a culturally rich city like New Orleans. You just have to know where to find it.

A little bit of advice for finding the hidden gems of the city is to strike up conversation with locals and ask them where you should go! They’ll know the perfect places to send you for the best time with the most beautiful scenery.

Here are a few things you can do in New Orleans on a budget:

  • Visit Frenchman Street, New Orleans

An often underrated aspect of New Orleans, take in the french architecture and culture on Frenchman Street. Stop and listen to the live bands performing for tips, then head over the the Frenchman Art Market.

  • Listen to Live Music in New Orleans

It isn’t a true visit to New Orleans until you’ve heard the soulful Blues of street bands. Try and find as many as you can to experience the Jazz, R&B, and Blues of Louisiana.

Grab a coffee and enjoy the sights as you explore Audubon park. You could even rent some roller skates or bikes to see the park quicker.

You never know what kind of character you’re going to meet, so keep your eyes peeled for adventure and make sure to have fun!

Get ready to dance, because Magazine Street is filled with music and happy chatter. You can peruse this street for hours, stopping to watch the bands, grab a bite of true Cajun food, and stop in at a few small shops.

You don’t have to bet, but just watching the races can be fun! Plus, you get to meet the horses before the race, so pick a favorite and watch them win!

City Park is huge, so don’t worry if you don’t get to see every inch of it. Take in the scenery, fit in a couple of photo ops, then head to the Sculpture Garden located in the heart of CIty Park. Here, you’ll find intricate sculptures and artwork scattered for you to see.

  • Bywater District in New Orleans

This trendy up-and-coming neighborhood is perfect for a casual Sunday morning brunch. The laid back atmosphere compliments filling food nicely, so make sure to take your time and soak it all in.

This dog-friendly park offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the Mississippi River and New Orleans skyline you won’t want to miss.

Stroll from Bywater to downtown and experience the gorgeous scenery that this particular part of New Orleans has to offer.

Closer to downtown, this park matches the hustle and bustle of the city. Stroll through this waterfront park, take in the scenery, and grab a bite to eat from one of the small restaurants nearby.

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New Orleans Tourism Musts

Louisiana is a beautiful bayou-filled state. When visiting New Orleans, most people wonder how to narrow down their list of “must dos”.  We’ve got you covered. Take a walk along the Mississippi River, or do any of the following, and your sure to enjoy yourself.

New Orleans, also known as “The Big Easy”, was originally founded as La Nouvelle-Orléans in the Spring of 1718 by the French Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Previous to the establishment as a French port city, the land was inhabited by the indigenous Chitimacha people. Spanish moss hangs from the trees, swamp air floats on the breeze, and Cajun spices and dishes are plentiful. Today, New Orleans is a vibrant port city filled with culture. It has become a festival city, hosting events from the annual Mardi Gras celebration and parades to the annual Jazz Heritage Music Festival to Voodoo Music + Arts Festival to the Bloody Mary Festival. It’s always a party in New Orleans; laissez les bons temps rouler!

The French Quarter is a scenic must-see. This area is characterized by its historic buildings with their cast-iron balconies to their brick or stucco exteriors. The main architecture style of the shopfronts and homes of the French Quarter is that of the Creole cottage. Along the Quarter, you can visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, take a walk among the flowers of Jackson Square, catch musical street performances in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, stop in a Voodoo shop, or stop in one of the many bars to hear live music or grab a drink for your stroll down Bourbon Street. Take a guided ghost or vampire tour through the taverns, cemeteries, and alleyways of New Orleans, if you’re brave enough!

Book your stay at the Domio Baronne St., which is a wonderful apartment-style hotel that is perfect for large groups of families and friends. This hotel is found in the Warehouse District, minutes from the French Quarter and Convention Center. If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel experience, look no further than the Cambria Hotel & Suites New Orleans, also located in the Warehouse District. For a stay at an affordable price point, look to the Omni Riverfront Hotel, the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, or the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.

If you are a purveyor of history and art, there are gorgeous museums in the city from which to choose. For example, the National WWII Museum displays the various theatres of the war, showcasing industrial efforts at home to the combat experience of the American soldier abroad. For a more artistic museum experience, visit the New Orleans Museum of Art  (NOMA) in City Park. This is New Orleans’ oldest fine arts institution with a permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects. Outside of NOMA is the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. There are also plenty of galleries and antique shops to visit for several blocks in the French Quarter if you want a look at local artists’ works.

Take a walk through City Park or Frenchman Street for stylish exercise and views. Replenish yourself with a stop at Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee, Angelo Brocato Ice Cream for Italian style treats, GW Fins for American cuisine, or Loretta’s Authentic Pralines for delicious pecans coated in brown sugar and butter.

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30 Interesting Facts About Louisiana

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, Louisiana was the 18th state to join the union by attaining statehood on April 30, 1812. Today, Louisiana is the 31st most extensive, or biggest, state as well as the 25th most populated state. It shares borders with three states, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The remainder of the state’s border, the southern border, is lined by the Gulf of Mexico. It is known to some by such monikers as the Sugar State, the Bayou State, the Creole State, the Child of the Mississippi, and the Pelican State. Louisiana consists of 64 parishes, the state’s specific version of counties. Its capital city is Baton Rouge. In the next 30 facts written by theFACTfile, we will learn more about Louisiana’s history, people, geography, economy, and more.

  1. The first inhabitants of what is now known as Louisiana were Native American tribes such as the Natchez, Bayagoula, and Chitamacha.
  2. The first natural gas field was found at a depth of 400 feet in Louisiana in the year 1823.
  3. Because of past fertility of its land, Louisiana was once known as one of the richest regions in America due to the indigo, sugar, and cotton industries making the white statesmen rich.
  4. Louisiana was a French colony between 1682 and 1763.
  5. France relinquished Louisiana and the Isle of Orleans to Spain in November 1762.
  6. René-Robert Cavelier names Louisiana in the mid 1600s in honor of King Louis XIV of France who reigned from 1643 to 1715.
  7. The food and culture of the state reflects the longevity of early French and Spanish settlers’ influence on the state.
  8. The Louisiana State Capitol is the tallest state capital in the U.S. Inaugurated on May 16, 1931, the capital building is 34 stories at a total of 450 feet tall. This tallest of capital buildings was built under the direction of former Governor Huey P. Long, who was assassinated in the building in September of 1935, four years after the building’s inauguration.
  9. The nickname “the Pelican State” comes from the numerous pelicans that once inhabited the state’s gulf coast. These pelicans indigenous to Louisiana have since gone extinct, and now, the pelicans found on Louisiana’s gulf coast are actually brown pelicans from Florida.
  10. Louisiana is one of the leaders in the country’s leading oil and gas producing states.
  11. In August 2005, the Category 3 hurricane, Hurricane Katrina, devastated some parts of Louisiana, particularly the 9th ward of New Orleans. The damage dealt by the storm was underestimated as the possibility of levees breaking was not taken into account. Katrina eroded 73 square miles of Louisiana coastland, and caused the death of an estimated 1,500 Louisiana citizens. It resulted in more than $100 billion in damages. Louisiana hurricane season lasts from June through November each year.
  12. During its first centennial in 1912, Louisiana adopted its official flag depicting a pelican mother feeding her own skin to her three chicks with the below inscription saying, “Union Justice Confidence” in front of a deep blue background.
  13. The Mississippi River both runs through and borders the state.
  14. The state has been governed under 10 different flags since the Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto, landed in 1541.
  15. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, buying 530,000,000 acres of territory in North America for $15 million from Napoleon Bonaparte of France. This purchase effectively doubled the size of the United States at the time.
  16. The original Louisiana Purchase territory is now split into 13 states.
  17. Louisiana boasts no official language. English, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese are among the most common spoken languages in the state.
  18. It is one of the wettest states in the United States.
  19. Along with being the capital, Baton Rouge is an important inland port due to its location along the Mississippi River.
  20. Louisiana leads the U.S. in crawfish and shrimp production.
  21. This is a mostly flat state. The highest point, Driskill Mountain, is 535 feet, or 163 meters above sea level. The lowest point in the state is New Orleans at 8 feet, or 2.5 meters below sea level.
  22. Louisiana land can be divided into three types of regions: lowlands, hills, and terraces.
  23. Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” is a big festival boasting numerous parades that takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. The Mardi Gras festival has been held in New Orleans since 1838.
  24. Louisiana was home to important contributions in the US space exploration program, such as the production of the C-5 boosters used in the Apollo moon landing.
  25. This is the only state to have political subdivisions called parishes rather than counties like the other 49 states. Jefferson Parish is the largest population-wise, and Cameron Parish is the largest land area-wise. There are 64 parishes total.
  26. LA state license plates have had the following phrases appear on them: “Bayou State”, “World’s Fair”, and “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
  27. The capitals of Louisiana have been as follows: New Orleans from 1812-1830, Donaldsville from 1830-1831, New Orleans from 1831-1849, Baton Rouge from 1849-1862, New Orleans from 1862-1882, and finally, Baton Rouge since 1882.
  28. The geographic center of Louisiana is located 3 miles southeast of Marksville in Avoyelles Parish. The whole state is 380 miles long and 130 miles wide.
  29. Coincidentally, the state’s shape resembles the capital letter “L” or a boot.
  30. Louisiana is a major producer of corn and soybeans.

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