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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrNew Orleans is the largest city in all of Louisiana, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the South. One of the largest attractions that brings people to New Orleans every year is Mardi Gras . The laid-back and fun lifestyle that many of the residents in New Orleans enjoy has given it the nickname of “The Big Easy”. There is a strong, French atmosphere that you will find in the city more than any other place in the United States.
New Orleans had seen a population growth since its founding all the way up until 1970, when the population topped at over 625,000. Since then, it has seen a sharp drop that bottomed out at under 350,000 in 2010. However, the population has started to trend the other way as the city rebuilds and is nearly 380,000. Of these people, it is 30.5% White, 60.2% African American, 5.2% Hispanic and 2.9% Asian.
HistoryWhile a lot of cities in the United States don't have a long history outside of the East Coast, New Orleans is an exception. Since it is a major port on the Gulf of Mexico, it was founded very early. In the early 1700s, the French established the town and held onto it for nearly 50 years. When the French surrendered to Spain in 1763, the Spaniards took over until 1802, when it was again controlled by France. That was short-lived, however, as the United States purchased it two years later. In one form or another, it has been an American city for over 200 years. Due to the different countries controlling New Orleans, there was a large population of Creole, French, Haitians, and many others, making it one of the United States' largest melting pots.
Sightseeing in New OrleansMany of the people that visit New Orleans will go straight to the French Quarter to see all of the hotels, shops, and restaurants that have been mentioned, but there is plenty of other landmarks in New Orleans. For those that want a bit of the Macabre, visit the "Cities of the Dead" in New Orleans. These are above ground cemeteries that have a disturbing beauty (don't worry, you don't see bodies).
City Park is also a notable landmark to visit. It's located at the Central part of New Orleans, and the bayou runs right through. There is a classic park for children to play in and is home to the Art Museum. Also make sure to check out many of the festivals that take place in New Orleans, such as the Jazz and Heritage Festival at the end of April. For a more natural feel, you can visit the Garden District where flowers are on display each spring and throughout the summer.
FoodNew Orleans has a very unique style of food that you will not be likely to find across any other parts of the country (or even the world). Many cities have tried to replicate authentic, New Orleans cuisine, but you have to go to the source to find the best.
Gumbo, Po-Boys, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Muffulettas and Beignets are all local to New Orleans. So where do you find the best of each? According to locals, the best Gumbo is at Restaurant R'evolution in the French Quarter. For the best Po-Boys, head to Parkway Bakery and Tavern in Mid-City. For Red Beans and Rice, Mid-City is where you want to go, and head to Willie Mae's Scotch House. Central Grocery Company LLC in French Quarter is home to the best Muffuletta, and the best Beignets can be found at Pizza Nola on West Harrison Avenue in Lakeview.
HotelsIf you want to stay in the most popular hotels in all of New Orleans, the best place to visit is the French Quarter. Perhaps the most popular there is the Hotel St. Marie. The JW Marriott and Hotel Monteleone are the two other most popular hotels in this district. The Hotel St. Marie offers a neighborhood feel with some of the finest luxuries you can find in a hotel, and is great for relaxation. The Monteleone looks like it is straight out of a classic French film and treats their guests like royalty. There is even a rooftop hotel so you can see the hustling French Quarter from above.
Though perhaps the best hotel is the W New Orleans. The rooms are among the largest and most luxurious available, and nearly $30 million USD is being spent in renovations. It is a local gem that offers no shortage of amenities. The other five star hotels are the Le Pavillon and Renaissance Arts Hotel.
ShoppingIf you want to find the home of some of the most unique shopping centers in all of the United States, then New Orleans is the city you want to visit. From regular high-end clothing and accessory shops that you can find in other big cities to the Voodoo stores you will only find in New Orleans, you can find pretty much anything.
Fine art is one of the many unique shopping items that you can find in New Orleans. If you travel down Royal Street, you can find galleries where art is available for purchase, and is also home to great hotels and architecture. Great art can also be found in the markets located around New Orleans in many of the art and antique shops. If you are looking for high-end home furnishing or clothing with a bit of an at-home feel away from your home city, then you will want to head down Magazine Street.
The most famous portion of New Orleans for shopping, though, is the French Quarter. This is the centerpiece of New Orleans and is home to the famous voodoo shops, nightclubs, and restaurants that many travel the world to see.
SportsNew Orleans hasn't always been a great sports town, but over the past couple of decades, they have become fanatics of their teams. The most popular team by far in all of New Orleans would be the National Football League’s Saints, who play in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. New Orleans is also home to the Pelicans of the National Basketball Association, and they play in the Smoothie King Center . Lastly, Zephyr Field is home to the only professional baseball team in Louisiana, the New Orleans Zephyrs of Minor League Baseball, and they play at the AAA level.
SafetyNew Orleans is a large city, and these cities typically have a high crime rate. There are 8.16 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 38.33 property crimes. This makes it one of the higher crime rates in the nation, but some neighborhoods have very low rates. The areas you will want to stick to are the Lake Forest Boulevard neighborhood, Camp Leroy Johnson, and Stanton. Anywhere on the Northeast side of town are generally safe.
TransportationWhile there are many small airports that can be hard to come across for flights, there is a major airport that many use, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Once you get into the city, many tourists will love the fact that New Orleans uses a streetcar system to get people around. There are four different ones that are used and more will be added in 2015.
There are also bus systems that will help tourists and residents get around, but with the other options, some might skip this route. There are virtually no hills in New Orleans, so many will elect to use bicycle or walking routes that are easy to traverse.
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Author: koreydbeckett. Last updated: Mar 01, 2016