New Orleans, Louisiana
For over 170 years, New Orleans has been hosting Mardi Gras parades. Celebrations include lavish parade floats, brass bands, parade throws of beads, doubloons and cups, and the special Mardi Gras King Cakes honoring the three kings. If you don’t get the chance to visit this memorable event in February, don’t worry, New Orleans is filled year-long with fantastic music, food and culture.
If you have one day to spend in New Orleans, the French Quarter is the place to visit. In Jackson Square, the heart of the French Quarter, you’ll find musicians, artists, jugglers and performance artists selling their wares and entertaining. Other points of interest include St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States, the Cabildo, a historic Louisiana State Museum and Presbytere, a Louisiana State Museum with a Mardi Gras exhibition, all of which are wheelchair accessible. Visitors may take an official walking tour to see individual buildings and admire the architecture of the unique neighborhood. Another option is to stroll the Moon Walk, the promenade that runs along the Mississippi river, and watch as the riverboats and cruise ships pass by.
The French Quarter contains many restaurants ranging from casual to formal. Dining at Antoines, the oldest restaurant in America under continuous operation, will give you an excellent taste of French-Creole cuisine. Other world-renown New Orleans restaurants serving traditional etouffee, turtle soup, seafood gumbo or oysters Rockfeller include Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Broussard’s Galatoire’s, K-Paul’s and NOLA. For more casual red beans and jambalaya, try Acme Oyster; for an original beignet, Café Du Monde is the place to visit.
For a more sobering New Orleans experience, popular attractions include the Hurricane Katrina Tour and the National World War II Museum. The Hurricane Katrina Tour provides an educational lesson about the history and topography of New Orleans while visiting the devastated neighborhoods and levee that “breached”. To order a wheelchair accessible bus, the tour requires 72 hours advance notice.
Another point of interest is Riverwalk Marketplace Mall. With its 140 shops and restaurants, it is the premier retail attraction in New Orleans. Spanish Plaza, a colorfully tiled fountain, is right outside the entrance. The Aquarium of the Americas and an IMAX theatre, two other interesting attractions, anchor one end of the Plaza. Whether you’re sailing out of the Port of New Orleans or experiencing Mardi Gras, spending time in The Big Easy, will be a memorable trip.
Cruise Lines out of the Port of New Orleans: Carnival, Royal Caribbean
Interesting Fact: Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.