New Orleans Travel Guide – NOLA Neighborhoods

City Guides, Featured, New Orleans — By on April 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

New Orleans Mardi Gras

by Alexa Brooks
Lost Girls Social Media Coordinator

New Orleans City Overview

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Translated this means “Let the Good Times Roll.” One of the most amazing things about New Orleans is its people who are always out to have a good time and to enjoy all of what New Orleans has to offer. Like the author Chris Rose said, “We dance even if there’s no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.”

New Orleans is known as the Crescent City due to the shape of the city bordering the great Mississippi River. The city is famous for their yearly Mardi Gras celebration, the birthplace of Jazz music, creole/French/Spanish architecture, amazing food, culture, and more.

There is so much to do and experience in New Orleans that we broke it up by district. We will be exploring the French Quarter, Garden District, Uptown and the Warehouse District.

Best Places To Visit In NOLA

Things to do in the French Quarter

Colonel Short’s Villa

Colonel Short’s Villa

The French Quarter, or “The Quarter” as referred to by locals, is New Orleans’ cultural destination and oldest neighborhood.  Here you will see the creole, French, and Spanish inspired architecture as you stroll down its historic streets.

While most people know the French Quarter by one of its most famous streets, Bourbon Street, there is more to do in the quarter than just drinking and partying.  In the springtime, specifically during the month of April, the Quarter is packed with visitors and locals alike for The French Quarter Festival. The Festival features four days of food, fun, music, and much more. This year’s festival alone features more than 800 local musicians! One thing to note about the city of New Orleans is that it is the festival capital of the world and pretty much anytime of the year there is a festival to enjoy! If you would like to see how the Crescent City gets its name, hop on down to the Algiers Ferry which is a quick and free ferry boat ride to the city of Algiers. Here you can take pictures from the river of the historic French Quarter. After the quick ferry ride, get your walking shoes on and head over to Jackson Square, home to several bronze statues of Andrew Jackson. Among the historic features, Jackson Square is also home to local artists and musicians who display their wares on the cast iron fence on the border. Take a gander at St. Louis Cathedral, which is North America’s oldest

Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. After the viewing the beautiful and historic Cathedral you may be hungry and a perfect snack is New Orleans’s famous coffee and beignets from Cafe du Monde. The famous treats are a bargain and the coffee features Chicory, a spice that was added to the coffee by the French during the Civil War.

New Orleans Street Musicians

Street Musicians on Royal Street in New Orlenans

Royal Street is another very famous scenic street in the Quarter and it is home to antique shops, art galleries, jewelry stores, boutiques, and wonderful restaurants. Some of the most photographed buildings featuring iron lace balconies and tranquil gardens live on Royal Street. As for restaurants, Royal Street is home to The Court Of Two Sisters which is famous for their Jazz brunch and largest historical dining courtyard in the French Quarter. If you are hungry for something Italian you can stroll up the street to Mona Lisa where they have lovely Italian food at reasonable prices. If you are in the mood for tunes, visit Royal Street in the afternoon where there will be countless street musicians busking and selling their CDs on the street.

Another great stop for music lovers is Frenchman Street which is home to two blocks of jazz clubs that are buzzing with music every night of the week. Every genre of music is represented in these clubs from jazz, pop, rock, Latin jazz, and more. The best part of Frenchman Street is that most clubs do not charge a cover and drinks are very reasonable.

Things to Do in the Garden District and Uptown

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding at Commander's Palace in New Orleans

The Garden District is easily accessible from the Quarter by St. Charles Streetcar line. Once in the District, take some time to wander the area around Washington Avenue and Jackson Avenue. This neighborhood is known for its beautiful mansions. There are plenty of free guides online that can help you navigate the streets to discover the Garden District’s breathtaking homes. One of the most well-known mansions is Colonel Short’s Villa at 1448 Fourth Street, famous for the cornstalk fence which the wife of the owner Colonel Short requested to remind her of her home in Iowa. Also located in the Garden District is Brevard-Mahat-Rice House, the home of novelist Anne Rice, where she wrote her Witching Hour novels.  Also not to be missed is the Lafayette Cemetery which was established in 1833 and is one of New Orleans’ oldest cemeteries. Here you will see that the dead are buried above ground.  In the same area is the well-known restaurant institution Commander’s Palace. The restaurant was damaged in Hurricane Katrina but is now fixed has the same wonderful appeal.  Commander’s Palace has been open since 1880 and has won awards including the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. The restaurant is a New Orleans institution and owned by the famous family The Brennan’s. The vibe is open, warm, inviting and part of the fun is standing at the bar looking into the kitchen where the chefs are creating your savory meal.

Things to Do on Magazine Street

Some of the best shopping in the area is on Magazine Street. The 6 mile long street covers the spectrum of retail therapy from antiques, pottery, jewelry, and clothing to amazing desserts.  Magazine Street has something for everyone. If you have a sweet tooth do not miss Sucre (which means sweet in French), a wonderful dessert shop with handmade chocolate, macaroons, cupcakes, and gelato. Also don’t miss Fluerty Girl which features classic New Orleans sayings on t-shirts and handcrafted gifts from New Orleans. Magazine Street is also home to amazing boutiques like Tomato, Hemline, Ah Ha, Francesca’s Clothing, and Storyville.

Traveling a bit further uptown is home to one of the longest continuing operating music clubs in existence called the Maple Leaf Bar. The bar has music 7 nights a week and has been around since 1974. Tuesday night is really where it’s at. One of the hottest and longest running bands called Rebirth Brass Band performed that night.  The all brass band is one of the tightest, most energetic brass bands you can see in New Orleans and this is THE venue to catch them at.

Things to Do in the Warehouse District (Arts District)

The Warehouse District also known as the Arts District is home to many art galleries and museums. Every year on the first Saturday night in August, New Orleans attempts to beat the heat by wearing white linen. The tradition came into play during the time in New Orleans before air conditioning. New Orleanians would wear white linen to reflect the sun, as opposed to darker colors that would absorb the heat. Now White Linen Night is a wonderful stroll for those donning white and walking by the art galleries along Julia Street. White Linen goers enjoy browsing fine art for sale, sampling foods, and sipping drinks while they gallery hop. Everyone keeps their cool with complementary fans that are available in the galleries and the booths on the street. This event also features a few stages with music and live entertainment.

Streetcar in New OrleansHow To Save Money In NOLA

While there are some amazing “jacket is required” 5 star restaurants, one of the main ways to save money is to use the Streetcar lines to get around. For $1.25 on the historical St. Charles Line you can ride from the French Quarter to Carrollton to Claiborne Avenue.  On the Riverfront line for the same price you can ride from the Mississippi River to Convention Center. The third line called Canal Street line starts at the Mississippi River, along Canal Street, to Carrollton Avenue. Another part of this line runs to New Orleans City Park to New Orleans Museum of Art. All this for only a $1.25!

Don’t Leave NOLA Without

Strolling the streets of the Quarter, enjoying the street musicians, and basking in all that is uniquely NOLA.


Alexa Brooks: Alexa caught the travel bug early in life as a performer in various marching bands, wind ensembles, and winter percussion lines performing all over the US and Canada. She has spent most of her professional life working in the music industry in various capacities but has recently developed a love for all things social media and manages several twitter accounts. Her favorite place to get “lost” in is New Orleans because of the rich musical heritage and the best dessert in the world: Beignets. You can follow her on twitter @Lexagator.

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  • Tonie Hocutt says:

    I Love This Groovy Rhythms. Actually our cultural Music is allways has more percussions and Dance Patterns. While People They call Dholak as a percussion Instruments But in south asian music, dholak supposed to be the main rhythm Instrument along with Drums. Love this kind of music.

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