Five years ago, on August 29, a powerful hurricane struck the Gulf Coast of the southern United States, killing more than 1,800 people and causing billions of dollars in damage to states along the coast. Much of the flooding and many of the deaths occurred in and around the city of New Orleans. And in an extra blow to the economy, the city’s tourist attractions were especially hard-hit. But, if the New Orleans’ restaurant scene is any indicator, New Orleans is definitely on the way back.
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For those who enjoy participating in outdoor activities, the state of Mississippi has a lot to offer. Named for the Mississippi River, many people sign up for canoe trips, horse rides, fishing trips, biking adventures, and more because of the beautiful landscape, lakes, streams, horse trails, and more that is available. Mississippi is a place where you can go to relax and enjoy being around nature. Old plantations, historic civil war sites, and open fields are places you can go to visit when you want to see a little bit of history.
But there is more to Mississippi than outdoor activities. If you want to meet new people, see the sights, and have fun at night time, you should visit larger cities such as Gulfport. With casinos and other attractions, you will be able to find excitement in the nightlife that surrounds you. Close to the ocean, you can take walks and listen to water from your Gulfport hotel room. The casinos also feature great food, musical acts, and much more. You can choose to stay in the casino hotels or you can find other accommodations if you plan on seeing other parts of Mississippi. If you crave more nightlife, you can always make the short trip to New Orleans from Gulfport.
Biloxi is another city located in Mississippi. This city also has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and historical places to visit. If you want to visit historical attractions, you will not have to travel too far.
The Biloxi Lighthouse is a place you don’t want to miss. It was built in 1848 and was said to be the first cast metal lighthouse in the South. In addition, while in Biloxi, be sure to check out the Mardi Gras Museum. It features over 300 years of traditional Mardi Gras costumes, history, and artifacts.
If looking for landmarks, you will find everything from old mansions to bridges. There are battlefields, churches, libraries, cemeteries, forts and much more located throughout the state. You will have to decide what to see and plan in advance because some places require reservations in order to see them. If you are traveling with a group, Mississippi is a good vacation destination because of the amount of activities you can participate in.
When you are deciding where to stay in Mississippi, you should consider staying in a campground or resort. These places will have additional information about local attractions, and sites that you will not want to miss. Along the way, you can ask local residents what they would recommend in terms of food, attractions, and other activities. Meeting new people can be the best part of a vacation. In Mississippi, people are very friendly and you will not be afraid to ask for advice on which attractions to visit. Once you have traveled to Mississippi, you will want to return in order to see more of this wonderful state.
I’ll be going down there in March and im looking for things to do while my rents are out doing whatever.
Any Clubs, attractions, anything for the under 18 crowd
Things a teenager can do in New Orleans:
Mardi Gras and the Jazz Festival are world famous events, but New Orleans hosts many festivals and celebrations throughout the year: www.nola.com/festivals
The Saint Charles Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world and is a "tourist attraction" in its own right. It is part of the public transit system, as are the Canal Street and Riverfront streetcar lines: www.norta.com
Wander around the French Quarter, enjoy the architecture, watch the street entertainers (do tip), and visit some of the historic buildings that have been turned into museums (go to www.frenchquarter.com and click on Historic Attractions).
Assuming the weather is good, you can collect a sandwich lunch and eat in the riverfront park (watch the shipping) or in Jackson Square (a very nice park).
The Riverwalk shopping center has an air-conditioned food court with dining overlooking the river (www.riverwalkmarketplace.com). The Canal Place shopping center is in the French Quarter and has a cinema and higher-end shopping (Saks 5th Avenue, Brooks Brothers, etc.). Magazine Street is a miles-long shopping district: www.magazinestreet.com
The lobby for the Westin Canal Place Hotel is on the 11th floor and overlooks the French Quarter. It is a great place for an afternoon drink/snack:(www.westin.com).
Cafe du Monde is in the French Quarter and you shouldn’t miss having cafe au lait & beignets (www.cafedumonde.com). Another great coffee shop is the Croissant d’Or (at 615 Ursulines Street), which is open from 7:00am to 2:00pm and has food in addition to pastry.
The Palm Court restaurant is very nice, has moderate prices, and offers traditional live jazz starting at 8:00pm: 1204 Decatur Street, tel 504-525-0200 (reservations are important and they are not open every day). The Palm Court is closed from about July 25th to about September 25th each year.
Maximo’s Italian Grill has great food and atmosphere: 1117 Decatur Street in the French Quarter, (504) 586-8883.
All of the famous restaurants (Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Commander’s Palace, etc.) have reopened. The Pelican Club (on Exchange Alley in the FQ) is not as well known but is the same type experience. Reservations are a good idea, and probably essential on weekends. Tujaques Restaurant (823 Decatur Street) is very traditional and has moderate prices: www.tujaguesrestaurant.com
Cafe Degas is a very French restaurant near City Park at 3127 Esplanade – which is not within walking distance of downtown (5 to 10 minutes by taxi). They are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays (504-945-5635).
The Napoleon House restaurant is at 500 Chartres Street in the FQ, and has a menu of great local dishes: www.napoleonhouse.com
Preservation Hall has traditional live Jazz, and doesn’t serve alcohol so all ages are welcome: www.preservationhall.com
New Orleans has ballet, opera, a symphony orchestra, and theatre:
There is a free ferry across the Mississippi at the "foot" of Canal Street. It is a short trip but like a harbor cruise w/o a guide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/canal_street_ferry
The Aquarium, Audubon Zoo, and the new Insectarium are world-class attractions (www.auduboninstitute.org) and you should see them if you can. The Zoo is several miles from downtown. You can drive to the Zoo (which has free parking) or take public transit from the French Quarter.
The Louisiana State Museum is in the French Quarter: http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/ New Orleans is also home to a number of other museums, such as the National World War II Museum (www.ddaymuseum.org) and the New Orleans Museum of Art (www.noma.org). Both can be reached by public transit: The WWII museum is in the central business district but a long walk from the French Quarter. NOMA is not within walking distance of downtown but has free parking. Go to www.neworleansmuseums.com for info on more museums.
New Orleans City Park has a variety of attractions + free parking. (www.neworleanscitypark.com).
Check www.frenchquarter.com and http://www.nola.com/visitor/ for ideas about other things to do.
Hope you have a great time!
Gather round my friends and you will hear the story of a Louisiana couple who persevered. Once upon a time Mindy owned a lingerie shop on Decatur Street in the New Orleans French Quarter. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina the city was in turmoil, and full of construction workers who didn’t need lingerie. Desperate to save her retail space Mindy put the same artistic talent she had used to do the graphic designs on her lingerie to use on handcrafts.
Enter David the limo driver. Katrina also did a number on David. Leaving 10 feet of water in his home and making the need for limo drivers, even 25 year veteran limo drivers, basically non-existent in the Big Easy. It looked like David needed a plan. So with no place to stay and no job David moved to the French Quarter to try to find work. What he found was Mindy. Mindy needed someone to work her table in the French Market and David needed a job. Sounds like a plan to me.
Mindy and David took their plan and a prayer and together turned a floundering lingerie shop into a flourishing business. These guys with camera in hand went around the area taking pictures of NOLA landmarks, hotspots, and businesses. In a 3 day process that demonstrates detailed workmanship they create distinctive works of art in each beautiful glazed tile coaster, magnet and apron that are loved by locals and visitors alike.
Appreciating their efforts to keep intact some of the culture and history of the city, people started bringing in old grocery bags, matchbooks, notebooks, etc. The rest as they say is history, three years worth.
Next time you are in the French Market look for David and let him share some of his wonderfully nostalgic NOLA stories or stop in to see Mindy at the Milk Studio headquarters at 1309 Decatur and check out the new line of soy candles. You can also visit David and Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am inspired and humbled by the innovative people all over this great state, people like David and Mindy, who have suffered through devastating hurricanes, the aftermath and just rolled up their sleeves, picked up the pieces and kept right on going. Don’t you just love happy endings, it does a body good!
By Sharon Denise Talbot
Mardi Gras 2011
Four of my friends booked a hotel in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year (not sure which one though). I want to go, but I don’t have a place to stay. They said I could stay with them. How strict are New Orleans hotels during Mardi Gras about this?
that depends on the hotel.
for example some hotels give out arm bands that allow guests to easily go in and out of the hotel all day and keep out the people that just need to pee.
if your staying at a cheap place probably not a problem.
find out how much it would cost to add a roll a bed to your room or if they even allow that.
Mardi Gras 2011 is going to be a big one with warm weather and near spring break.
Mardi Gras 2011
We have all heard one version or another of the song “The City of New Orleans”. The song performed by the likes of Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson and John Denver was actually written by Steve Goodman about riding the rails in an observation car.
I knew the song but had never ridden a train, much less a renowned Pullman, so you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to do just that. My husband was invited to a business function being held on the railcar, and spouses were included. Think Jim West and Artemis Gordon’s ‘rail-ride” on Wild, Wild West, but better.
Built in 1927 by the illustrious Pullman Company, The City of New Orleans parlor observation railcar is used primarily for charitable auctions and business-related meetings supporting New Orleans-area commerce and business development. Acquired by Gregory Dodd and relocated to New Orleans in 1998, the railcar had had a long and colorful life that spanned states and rail companies. In 2002 the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad acquired and renamed it The City of New Orleans.
The railcar has raised over $800,000.00 for local charities since its renovation in 2002. Accommodations include seating for up to 20 persons and full service catering capabilities for both food and beverage. Our group included 40 people so they hitched on a second car, The Louisiana.
Plush club chairs, beautiful brass appointments, wood wainscoting and marble ledges were only topped by the food-laden waiter and bartender at our beck and call. The 3 hour route took us from the rail yard in Metairie, to the top of the Huey P. Long Bridge, all along the river to the French Quarter and even slightly past the curve of the river beyond the French Market which is a restricted area. The view looking back on the city is amazing!
by Sharon Denise Talbot
For more information on how to hitch a ride on The City of New Orleans see the following website:
People living in New Orleans City Council District B come together to talk about the future of their neighborhood — but it’s the same issue that keeps tearing them apart.
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How is post-katrina new orleans? Can anyone tell me about the damage there? My husband and I want to come for mardi gras.Is the whole city under the curfew or just badly damaged parts?the media hasn’t really talked about. What tourism attractions are closed/open and which ones are good to see?
New Orleans is healing, some parts quicker than others. By Mardi-Gras, most of the tourist-y type places should be operational. (The zoo is open, the acquarium won’t be for quite a while, the D-day museum is trying to re-open ASAP, the cable cars are operational.)
The curfew was lifted last month, but there is still a very visual National Guard presence. I actually feel safer in NO than I have in years. The streets are less crowded now than they were last year at this time.
The biggest problem most neighborhoods in NO is having is lack of employees. Most grocery stores are closing around 7 or 8 because they just don’t have anyone to work the late shift. Of course, the french quarter and Bourbon Street are mostly open, and don’t close early. (There are a few bars, restaurants, and shops that haven’t re-opened – maybe 1/4 of them total.)
As far as the heavily damaged areas, they weren’t tourist attractions. They were residential areas, ones that the general public doesn’t have full access to yet.
So come to New Orleans! Our financial success is largely dependent on tourism. Oh, and definately make reservations today. A lot of the hotel/motels are housing insurance adjustors and construction crews. Availability is limited.
Regarding the guy who suggested you go to Opelousas: he’s right in that the Opelousas, Chataignier, Ville Platte Mardi Gras celebrations are more true to the original intent of the holiday. They’re more country, less tourist-y, just as much alcohol, fewer breasts. If that’s what you’re looking for, go on over there. Just don’t expect New Orleans style Mardi Gras. And realize that it’s a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from NO.
i am going on a vacation with my friends to new orleans. what is there to do in the french quarter for 16 year old kids?
Teenagers go down to Bourbon to see and to be seen…
When i was in high school, my friends and i used to just walk up and down the street looking at all the sights and hoping to find guys to talk to us. (In retrospect, this sounds like a terrible idea but at the time, that’s how it was.)
Anyway, i know it sounds lame just walking up and down the street, but trust me it can be an adventure.
Please be careful though. Stick together for one! And while its more than fine to TALK to interesting people you meet- please don’t consider going off anyplace with any of them. Don’t try to get someone to buy you alcohol, don’t expose your body in anyway. And basically just use good old fashioned common sense.
Hope you have fun!