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New Orleans - French Quarter - Elter photo

,, Probably one of the most important things to remember about New Orleans,  if you’re a guitar player, on no account forget to wash your hands in the Mississippi you might end up playing like Robert Johnson or more realistically John Robertson. Doubtless, it will help either way. Don’t chew your fingernails after though and don’t dip your feet in it otherwise you might end up a tap dancer.
Another thing to bear in mind is don’t upset any Voodoo Queens, always say please and thank you to them and keep your hand on your mojo.

It’s “New Or-Linz” the way the locals say it. I tried to say it like this but nobody seemed to be fooled and I got what might be described as an old fashioned look. The New Orleans accent is interesting and sort of New York meets Haiti. Half the time I couldn’t understand a word of what was being said and my Manchester accent definitely had more than a few bemuse relations.

New Orleans is also called the big easy as there is a lot of night-life, bars restaurants, music, and more illicit not to say illegal pleasures.
Its a melting pot, with emphasis on the pot. It’s pretty easy going but not always as easy as you might think. There are some of the negatives associated with large numbers of tourists and plenty of poverty in the population.
Just to add to the confusion New Orleans is also called The Crescent City due to its position on a bend of the Mississippi Don’t get too confused, save that, you will be anyway.

The iconic Andrew Jackson monument in Jackson Square is the world’s first equestrian statue in which the horse has more than one foot off the base. More interestingly, there is lots of music in Jackson square. Actually there is a lot of music everywhere. There are also plenty of hustlers, con merchants, and ne’er do wells, often with backup. If someone wants to bet you that they “know where you got your boots at” don’t bother. The answer is one on the left foot one on the right.

Apart from the abundant street musicians, you might also see a Jazz funeral, real or contrived,. They are a unique part of New Orleans’ history and culture. The music and dancing of the funeral were originally intended to help the deceased find their way to heaven and celebrate their final leaving from Earth.

New Orleans can be great fun, some bits feel a little like a Disney theme park, take a friend rather than make one down a dark alley, enjoy and watch your back.

(Alan Durant, 2020)

Practicals

Transport


In the French Quarter, many bus lines start from a bus station called Basin.  

New Orleans has two tram lines.

Taxis don’t look the same as many drivers are working individually. The starting fares are slightly different.

New Orleans - Parking - Elter photo

Food

Try the Cajun, and Creole regional food specialties at the French Market, located between Decatur and Peter street.


,,The food, in general, is excellent, especially seafood. Things can be spicy and I particularly like the Cajun cooking gumbo being a favorite. The  Poboy’s, a sort of sandwich with attitude, should also be tried in fact there is a huge variety of things you could eat.
New Orleans is famous for its beignets! Ideally from the Café du Monde on Decatur Street  How you feel about them depends whether you like over sweet doughnuts or not, see what you think. You might also have to wait quite a while.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have but I tried the alligator and it tasted as much like sausage as anything else. Having given the experience some more thought I have come to an agreement with the alligators that if they don’t eat me then I won't eat them. (Alan Durant, 2020)

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"The keywords are Cajun and creole. So-called Cajun cuisine was introduced by the French settlers who came to Louisiana 250 years ago: simple dishes with rice, lots of vegetables, and spices. Creole cuisine, in addition to European influences, also has African and Caribbean roots, often employing seafood. Both cuisines characteristically use a lot of spices and have a pungent, spicy taste. One of Louisiana’s best-known seafood ingredients is crayfish, which locals say is better here than anywhere else in the world. The marshy terrain of the countryside and the mouth of the Mississippi delta provide ideal terrain for crab fishing, making fresh “crawfish” easily accessible in New Orleans, where it is most often found cooked and slathered in hot spices.

The hometown of jazz also has two famous traditional sandwiches. One is the muffuletta, which was made famous by Italian immigrants. This is a large, round bun sprinkled with sesame seeds and cut in half, then filled with unbelievably generous helpings of ham, salami, cheese, and olives. The other is the Po-Boy (Poor Boy) sandwich, available at every street corner. This crispy French baguette is usually stuffed with fried seafood, lamb or chicken, but sometimes alligator meat is also added. It is really delicious, though if you get a juicier version, you might want to make sure you have a spare shirt to change into. Since 2007, by the way, the po-boy has had its own gastronomic festival in New Orleans.

Another popular, ubiquitous dish is the signature meal of Louisiana’s Creole cuisine, gumbo, which could be described as a thick, spicy rice soup. It can be prepared in various ways, with crab, chicken or vegetables. The other main attraction of New Orleans is the turtle soup, which could best be compared to a very dense and strong stew. It is sold in many places, but is not particularly cheap, since the basic ingredient is relatively difficult to obtain. At first, it may seem strange that food made from alligators is also sold in many places. From market breweries to white tablecloth restaurants, alligator meat is offered in a variety of forms. You can get hotdogs with alligator sausage, alligator omelet, fried alligator, dry-smoked alligator burgers, sandwiches, and a million other options. To reassure animal lovers: tens of thousands of alligators live in Louisiana and can be consumed legally under controlled conditions.

Tabasco sauce, though world-famous, is still a local attraction, since it is produced on an island in the state of Louisiana. A spicy sauce consisting of chili peppers, salt, and vinegar, it should have a place on every restaurant table and storage shelf. Interestingly, there is also a store in New Orleans where you can get over a hundred different kinds of hot sauce. Here, everyone can choose the hot sauces of the right strength for them, and choose from the flavors to their liking. Nor can we leave out New Orleans’ most popular dessert, the praline. Many stores sell homemade pralines, which taste like fresh caramel covered in seeds. They’re often prepared right before the customer’s eyes, and are genuinely delicious.” (2016)



New Orleans - Cajun Kitchen - Elter photo

Shopping

Some shops on Royal Street are open until late in the evening.

New Orleans - French Market

New Orleans - French Market - c.s. photo

Fun



,, Things to like: The music.

Many places have free music. You can put a donation in a jar, on the stage, or passed around if you want. It is a good idea to give something. Jazz predominates with Cajun and Blues as well. The prices in the bars can be on the high side, its a good idea to check. Trying to avoid the most touristy streets is a good idea. As an example, the bustle of Saturday night on Frenchmen Street, with as many locals as tourists, and great street musicians is worth a look. You might find yourself dancing on a bar playing or at least trying to play a washboard to a cajun beat.

There are countless clubs and music bars but a couple that can be recommended is the jazz clubs Snug Harbor https://snugjazz.com/ plus a bar called the Blue Nile http://bluenilelive.com/
It's also worth a visit to the preservation hall. https://www.neworleans.com/listing/preservation-hall/2742/  

 Think about New Orleans when sipping on your favorite happy-hour cocktail. America’s first mixed, apparently, the Sazerac, was created by Antoine Peychard in a French Quarter bar. It’s now the official cocktail of New Orleans. There is a Sazerac bar in what I think was or is the Roosevelt hotel. For some strange reason, I can’t remember, no idea why. Not my favorite drink but it grows on you after the fourth.

(Alan Durant, 2020)


New Orleans - Cool skeletons - Elter photo

New Orleans - Fun - Elter photo

New Orleans - Street music - Elter photo

New Orleans - Street performer - Elter photo

Public safety


Public safety in New Orleans is not good. Tourists have to be very careful. The good news is that most crimes are committed in city areas irrelevant to the tourists.

The French Quarter happens to be the safest part of the city in terms of violent crime; still, beware of the pickpockets. Thieves mainly aim drunken tourists as their pockets are more accessible. 

It is dangerous to move around the French Quarter after midnight,  especially in the side streets. During the day, in the evening, there is no danger.

In front of the bars and inside, avoid conflicts wit the bouncers because they willingly use physical violence against the trouble-makers.

Many central streets of New Orleans are full of beggars and illegal vendors (I refrain from using the word black marketeer). Some of them are vehemently trying to convince the tourists that their shoes - even the sneakers - deserve more shining.

There are all sorts of crooks out there, so suspect all those who street approach you with any offer.  Best to pretend that you don’t understand English.

In the lower part of the French Quarter, there are many youngsters who verbally harras the passerby.  Avoid walking alone in empty sidestreets.

The tourist should avoid the district called Central City and the Back of town districts. To be on the safe side, you better visit St. Louis Cemetery with an organized tour.

Avoid Ditto Armstrong Park, unless there is a jazz festival there. Avoid the Iberville area west of the park.

It is especially dangerous to get into contact with drug dealers. They can take you to a part of town to quickly become the victim of a robbery.

There are a lot of patrolling police on the streets, but that doesn’t solve all public safety problems

New Orleans - police horse - o.p. photo

New Orleans - police - t.d. photo

New Orleans - Bywater neighbourhood - warning - t.d. photo

Others

1. Comfortable shoes are essential because the pavement is quite uneven.

New Orleans - Bourbon Street - Elter photo

Background

New Orleans - tourist crowd - Elter photo

Destination in brief

Population (in 2020): 390,000 - 60% Black (or African American), 34% White, 3% Asian

New Orleans had 480,000 inhabitants, so a sharp population decline happened in the last two decades.

Though New Orleans is the largest city in Louisana, the capital city is Baton Rouge.

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 2900 USD - (National average: 3500 USD) 

Many nicknames New Orleans as Big Easy indicate that it kept the easy-going atmosphere of a smaller town despite its immense size. Many, especially in PR, use the acronym NOLA for the city.

History


In the 1800s, America bought the city from the French so that the European atmosphere can be felt so much in the streets, in the culinary art.

The Caribbean sense of life arrived here by the slaves brought in from the Caribbean. They did not come directly from Africa but the Central American archipelago.

By American standards its pretty old. It was founded in 1718 by French colonists and it has a colourful history and a colourful present.

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,, There are plenty of famous and even infamous characters present and past associated with New Orleans. French pirate Jean Lafitte, for instance, operated in Louisiana and helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in 1815.

One of Bourbon Street’s oldest bars, depending on who you ask, the oldest bar in the USA, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jean Lafitte himself. The last time I was there we were lucky enough to catch Dr. John playing in the backroom, largely for his own amusement. A note Bourbon  Street, (named after the French royal family, not the whisky) is the one tourist flock to.

There is Louis Armstrong arrested for firing a gun on the street as a boy and becoming an outstanding trumpeter and people like Professor Long Hair one of the early blues-men.

The first-ever game of Poker was played in New Orleans in the 19th century using a 20-card pack. amusement. Don’t bet your holiday money and don’t forget that those riverboat gamblers are forever shooting people, well at least in the movies.

New Orleans has the largest municipal park in the country, New Orleans' City Park is home to the famous Duelling Oaks, where Creole gentlemen frequently met to settle scores with swords, pistols, and sometimes even Bowie knives. Probably better not to go around looking askance at people unless you're an expert with a Bowie Knife. 

 New Orleans has a thriving voodoo culture dating back to the early 19th century. The city’s most prominent icon for this religion is Marie Laveau, an illegitimate daughter of plantation owner Charles Laveaux, and his Haitian slave mistress. Her final resting place is in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, but locals believe that Laveau materializes to lead voodoo worship during St. John's Eve every year her tomb receives more visitors each year than Elvis Presley’s grave but she is almost certainly just as dead. I’m not sure if it means anything but when I was at the cemetery I attracted the attention of a black cat that followed me around. I made a point of leaving an offering at the grave, just in case.

Go to the “right” restaurants and you can see a Voodoo Queen The lady I met was dressed all in black carrying an ebony cane with a silver death head handle. I was very very very polite to her and helped her with her chair. Let's face it there are more than enough toads in the Bayou

(Alan Durant, 2020)



New Orleans - Magical Legends Park - Statues of legendary jazz musicians - Elter photo

Nowadays

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New Orleans - Jackson Square - Elter photo

People

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New Orleans - Fun - Elter photo

New Orleans - t.d. photo

Attractions

Bourbon Street

New Orleans - Bourbon Street daytime - m.m. photo

New Orleans - Bourbon Street at night - m.m. photo

New Orleans - French Quarter - Elter photo

Jackson Square

New Orleans - Jackson Square with St. Louis Cathedral and The Cabildo (Louisana State Museum) -Elter photo

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