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More about New Orleans...

Know before you go...

CABS: You can't hail a cab in New Orleans � you need to call a taxi company. Hotels, restaurants and bars are used to doing this. Give them 10-15 minutes notice, and jot down the names of a couple of cab companies just in case.

TIPPING: Many restaurants and bars have free music, and ask for donations after a performance. That's basically what musicians get paid for the night, so if you liked the gig, $5 to $10 helps make their evening.

DRESS: Even though most tourists dress down, local women dress up for parties and evenings out. Women love jewelry with a fleur de lis, the city's emblem, and everybody wears New Orleans Saints regalia.


Fun facts about New Orleans...

Actress Reese Witherspooon and author Ann Rice were born in New Orleans.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, which gave birth to the blues and rock and roll music.

Canal Street, once the widest street in the world, was named for a canal that was planed for, but never built, in the median. For decades, the only use for the median was public transportation, mostly by the Canal St. Streetcars.

The first New Orleans 'Skyscraper' was built in 1807. It was the first four-story building in the city, and is still standing and in use, on the corner of Royal St. and St. Peter St, in the French Quarter.

New Orleans is where the first opera was performed in the United States (1796)

New Orleans is the largest port on the Gulf of Mexico

Antoine's in New Orleans, established in 1840, is the state's oldest continuously operating restaurant.

The Superdome in New Orleans is the largest enclosed stadium in the world.

New Orleans is the home of the oldest pharmacy in America at 514 Chartres St. in the French Quarter. Prescriptions were called, 'cocktails.'

Source of some of these facts: VisitMardiGras, The Rental and AARP.


New Orleans tips from readers...

MONTHLY ARTS MARKET IN NEW ORLEANS -- writes Susan in New Orleans, USA -- As a local I recommend that visitors to our city check out the monthly Arts Market of New Orleans. It's held on the last Saturday of every month in Palmer Park (corner of S. Clariborne Ave. and S. Carrollton Ave). From the French Quarter or Central Business District you can take the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar and get a view of the Garden District and Uptown mansions as you travel. The market features items of all prices created by 100 local artists. There's art, clothing, house & garden decor, jewelry, handmade soaps, as well as local cuisine and music. This is an absolutely perfect place to pick up gifts for friends back home. For more information visit this link or call 504-523-1465.

EATING AND WALKING IN FRENCH QUARTER OF NEW ORLEANS -- writes Gaye in New Market, Canada -- I visited New Orleans this month and took a French Quarter Walking Tour with the Friends of the Cabildo. Tours depart from the 1850 House Museum Store, 523 St. Ann Street on Jackson Square and the fee is $15. This includes tickets to the museum that you can save for a later time. The guides are all volunteers and ours was excellent telling us about the area and the history as she walked us through the square and around the streets. We also tried a restaurant she recommended. It's called Muriels and it's located beside the square. The food and service was so good we ate there twice.

WE WENT ON A SWAMP TOUR -- writes Kelly in Toronto, Canada -- To finish off a perfect New Orleans experience, we were treated to the calling card of the state-- an authentic swamp tour, complete with gators and scrambling crawfish. For folks from Canada, it was an otherworldly environment. Honey Island Swamp Tours hire professional local guides who know the ecology of the swamps and bayous that can be tested by dozens of questions -- and we asked them all. Over a few hours, we learned about how the bayous were created; we met a 12-foot alligator and generally were entertained, informed, and sent home with a true appreciation for the strength required in settling this wild piece of land. (Tel: 985 - 641-1769)

ARE YOU HEADING TO NEW ORLEANS? --writes Susan in New Orleans, USA -- Take this from a local. Nothing can be more tasty and more 'New Orleans' than a muffaletta -- which is an Italian sandwich with thinly sliced meats, cheeses and olive salad on a round bread load. I suggest you order yours at Central Grocery, 923 Decatur St. and don't forget a Barq's root beer to wash it all down. Travelling with adults only? Then head to the Napoleon House Bar & Cafe, 500 Chartres St., both in the French Quarter, to get that same sandwich and order their signature refreshing Pimm's Cup to go with it. These places have a lot of ambience. You're sure to meet locals as well as tourists at both. Enjoy!

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