Is New Orleans Really the Party City It's Made Out To Be?

Bourbon Street is renowned for its lively atmosphere all year round. Learn more about what makes New Orleans such an iconic party city.

Is New Orleans Really the Party City It's Made Out To Be?

Bourbon Street is renowned for its lively atmosphere all year round. While the rest of the city comes alive during Mardi Gras season, Bourbon Street is a party any time of year. The Hollywood stereotype of a white mansion on a plantation is rare, but there are several examples preserved in this section of the Mississippi, less than an hour from New Orleans, including those where parts of 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained were filmed. On vibrant Bourbon Street, in the French Quarter, people drink all kinds of Day-Glo concoctions, but you can still find an authentic New Orleans classic at the Pat O'Brien bar, where waiters supposedly invented the Hurricane cocktail to get rid of excess rum in the 1940s.

Despite its “anything goes” feel, the New Orleans Police Department sets up its presence every night to help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. The city of New Orleans is renowned for offering Creole cuisine, jazz music and a festive atmosphere all year round. The people of New Orleans enjoy Mardi Gras once a year, but for the rest of us, once in a lifetime should do. It's just a few blocks from the famous New Orleans attraction, Jackson Square, the New Orleans Jazz Museum and the Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River.

The Garden District bookstore on Prytania Street is the best place to find signed editions of novels by Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire and native of New Orleans. Its founder, Antoine Alciatore, introduced French sauces to New Orleans after arriving from France in 1840, and the place is now run by the fifth generation of his descendants. This set of European traditions, mixed with the influence of slaves and free people of color from West Africa and the Caribbean, is still what defines the culture of New Orleans. Claire Bentley, CEO of BA Holidays who accompanied travelers on their trip said that “New Orleans is a fascinating city that became famous for its incredible jazz and blues musical heritage”.Thanks to its music scene, New Orleans maintains a creative class that is very disproportionate to its population.

In Jackson Square, a few meters from the Mississippi and in the shade of St. Louis Cathedral, you can find fritters from Café du Monde, a specialized pastry shop in a New Orleans institution that is open 24 hours a day except for Christmas and hurricanes. New Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz and 200 years ago city authorities first allowed slaves to meet in Congo Square which is now part of Louis Armstrong Park to play music, sing and dance. In 1838, New Orleans apothecary Antoine Peychaud created bitters that bear his name and also invented the Sazerac cocktail (top right), which mixes rye whiskey with sugar, bitters and wormwood.

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