When you think of New Orleans, there are several things that come to mind: Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, music and food, and, if you’re a football fan, the New Orleans Saints. But there is so much more to New Orleans that we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look.
Jackson Square. At the very center of New Orleans sits Jackson Square. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, this public square is just bursting with live performers and artists, and is surrounded by restaurants, art galleries and shops that will give you a small sampling of New Orleans.
St. Louis Cathedral. Proudly on display in Jackson Square is St. Louis Cathedral, the longest continually active Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Dating back to at least 1789, the church is named after Louis IX of France. The current Spanish colonial building was constructed in 1850, and an inside tour will reveal the beautiful stained glass windows and Rococo-styled gilded altar. As you walk around, you may notice that the floor has a slight tilt – the building is actually sinking.
City Park. Take a stroll through City Park – the 6th largest urban park in the U.S. Built on swampland in the early 19th century, it was originally knows as the “Dueling Oaks”, where many city disputes were settled. The park is home to some of the world’s oldest oak trees – some dating back 600 years.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is New Orleans oldest cemetery and sits a block away from the French Quarter. Several famous historical figures are buried here, including the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and the aristocrat Bernard de Marigny. The cemetery is no longer open to the public, but you can take a guided tour of the cemetery, where you’ll learn more about those buried in the cemetery. You may even get a glimpse of the plot that Nicolas Cage has purchased.
French Quarter. You can’t visit New Orleans without at least walking through the French Quarter of the city. This is the heart and soul of New Orleans, and there is much that will attract your attention. To get the most out of your visit to the French Quarter, consider taking a walking tour.
Garden District. For a close look at how the upper class lived in New Orleans, visit the Garden District. Here, you’ll find Italianate and Greek Revival mansions such as the Goldsmith-Godchaux House, the Brevard-Rice House, The Manse and Colonel Short’s Villa. Take a guided tour of the district to hear more of the history and learn about some of the more famous residents.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. The plantations around New Orleans were known for their sugarcane, so it’s appropriate that the oldest premium rum distillery is located in New Orleans. Located in a 150-year old cotton warehouse, the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery produces rums and pre-mixed cocktails from Louisiana sugarcane molasses. There is a 45-minute tour of the facility, where you’ll learn how the molasses is fermented, distilled and aged to become rum, and, of course, taste some of the results.
Whitney Plantation. Founded in 1752, the current Spanish Creole house was built in 1803 as the plantation shifted from growing indigo to sugarcane. The plantation opened to the public in 2014, and is the only plantation in New Orleans that is dedicated to telling the story of the slaves living there. The 90-minute tour will take you through the slave cabins, the owner’s house and various outbuildings as well as a freedman’s church.
Oak Alley Plantation. On the west bank of the Mississippi lies this beautiful plantation, which is accessible down a 240-meter alley of live southern oaks. Take the tour of the grounds and learn more about the lives of the men, women and children who were kept at Oak Alley, including how one slave was the first person to figure out how to propagate individual pecan trees.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve protects six different locations around New Orleans and encompasses bayou, prairie, swamp and the site of the Battle of New Orleans (1815) at Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. Each center allows you to experience New Orleans from a historical and geographical perspective.
New Orleans Jazz Museum. There is nothing more synonymous with New Orleans than jazz, so make sure that the New Orleans Jazz Museum is on your “must see” list. Here, you’ll see an amazing collection of notable jazz memorabilia including the first ever jazz recording from 1917, Louis Armstrong’s first coronet and other instruments played by jazz greats like Sidney Bechet, George Lewis and Dizzy Gillespie. Enjoy the thousands of jazz recordings and photos that document the earliest days of jazz. And, of course, if you’re lucky you’ll be treated to a live jazz concert or two.
Café du Monde. While there are many restaurants and eateries in New Orleans that will entice you with their unique regional dishes, the one place that makes any trip to New Orleans complete is Café du Monde. Originally opened in 1862, this coffee stand is famous the world over for its coffee blended with chicory, and its beignets. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked.
As you can see, there is a lot more to New Orleans than meets the eye. Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437, and we’ll help make your next trip to New Orleans memorable.
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