New Orleans is an incredibly unique city. I can honestly say that it feels the most foreign when compared to the rest of the United States. New Orleans has a bizarre range of influences. French, Spanish, West African, and Southern are the most prominent in this amalgamation of culture. Many think of New Orleans as an adult oriented city but the unique flair of New Orleans can be appreciated in a family friendly environment as well.
Swamp Boat Tour
These air boat tours are available not too far out of the city, and are absolutely incredible. Going on a swamp boat tour is not like going whale watching where you wait all day hoping to catch a peak of a faraway whale. On the air boat tour I went on, we saw hundreds of alligators, and our tour operator literally was encouraging them to jump into our boat. I feared for my life, though I was repeatedly assured this was totally normal.
This street is in the heart of the French Quarter, and is basically New Orleans oldest neighborhood. It is best known for its bars and strip clubs, but is also an amazing place circled by street cars where you feel like you can go back in time hundreds of years.
Of all the cities in the United States, I think New Orleans has the most unique food. No it is not you Chicago! Deep dish Pizza may be enjoyable, but is not that different than the pizza we eat in the rest of the country, and we ripped Pizza off from somewhere else anyway.
Some of the can’t miss items are:
- Beignets – deep fried donuts covered in powdered sugar. This sounds simple, but world famous Café du Monde makes them like no other.
- Oysters – often gulped down raw
- Gumbo – traditional thickened soup, often full of seafood and served with rice.
- Alligator – I felt like I was chewing on a bouncy ball but it was delicious!
- Po’boys – the New Orleans sandwich, typically with roast beef, gravy, fried shrimp, oysters, and mayonnaise.
- Crawfish – boiled and served spicy. Often you are expected to crack open the shells, and suck the head out (I passed on this).
Historic Cemetery Tour
Due to the lack of elevation, cemeteries are above ground in New Orleans. This makes graves in these cemeteries more visible, which inspired ornate decorations. There are a number of cemeteries in town that are hundreds of years old. They are especially spooky at night, and can be explored alone, or as part of a haunted tour.