No one would ever visit New Orleans in the southeastern US State of Louisiana , a melting pot of French, African, American, and French-Canadian cultures, without touring and exploring the historic Bourbon Street, the city’s most famous mile-long strip that dates back to 1718 .
Quite touristy, Bourbon Street with its endless restaurants and bars, is quiet during the day and comes alive at night when people could be seen carrying their drinks from bar to bar. In New Orleans you are legally allowed to consume alcohol on the street. With revelry of all sorts, the street , lit by neon lights and throbbing with music, embodies the life of a party town. Because the establishments are packed, even on weeknights, we have to play safe in Bourbon Street where there are drunk tourists, pickpockets and scammers. New Orleans is a fabulous city for a family vacation but Bourbon Street is adults-only and with strip clubs and bars, not for kids.
For more authentic music and great jazz Frenchmen Street is another hot spot.
As experienced, a greater way to tour New Orleans is by taking a streetcar. Boarding any of the historic vehicles is boarding a piece of movable New Orleans history. We’re able to take the famous old dark green historic St. Charles Streetcar, the oldest continuously-operating streetcar line in the world as it has been in operation since 1835 travelling from the French Quarter and then to the oak tree-lined Carrolton Avenue. The green cars of the St. Charles line will also take you to the city’s Garden District, a beautiful neighbourhood teeming with marvelous old mansions of historic architecture that conveys so much charm and character. We learned that many famous people associated with New Orleans reside in this area.
The bright red streetcar on the Canal Street leads to the historic Metaire Cemetery and the cool and welcoming City Park . Nowhere in our bucket list is a walk on a foreign cemetery but in New Orleans! The cemeteries in New Orleans are perhaps the most famous in the United States and are often visited by tourists because they are characterized by above-ground tombs over swampy grounds where buried bodies would be washed up whenever it floods. The city’s flat elevation has historically made it vulnerable to flooding. Metaire has the largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and funeral statuary where we saw the most famous, the Army of Tennessee Louisiana Division Monument, a monument tomb of Confederate Soldiers of the American Civil War. Noticeable also is a pseudo-Egyptian pyramid, costing $125,000 to $500,000, an elaborate resting place of a restaurateur.
We ended up our walking and streetcar tour with a Paddlewheeler Creole Queen Riverboat Cruise – admiring the scenic views from the promenade deck, listening to an on-board jazz band, and enjoying Creole-style dinner buffet as the 24-feet diameter paddlewheeler sails along the Mississippi River.
Seen the best of New Orleans ? Not yet, until the Plantation Tour and the festive spirit of the world-famous Mardi Gras.