New Orleans boasts extraordinarily diverse culture, architecture, music, and food to charm any traveler. This article is intended to guide APA members attending the 2010 annual meeting to some of the popular tourist destinations and share some hidden treasures known best by locals.
The city is divided into regions based on their relation to the Mississippi River. Upriver is called uptown and downriver is downtown; the two other major directions are lakeside (toward Lake Pontchartrain) and riverside. As many of you will be staying within walking distance to the French Quarter, let's begin there.
One note of caution: as in any big city, visitors are encouraged to stay on beaten paths and avoid poorly lit areas.
We highly recommend visiting the tourist office in Jackson Square to the right of St. Louis Cathedral to obtain 2-for-1 entrée coupons for many restaurants including our favorite, the Gumbo Shop.
Travel to and from the French Quarter is easy and economical by streetcar or taxi.
All good days begin with a beignet and café au lait at the famous Café Du Monde, located in front of Jackson Square at 800 Decatur Street.
Walk the Moonwalk, a promenade overlooking the Mississippi River.
Visit Rodrigue Studio at 721 Royal Street, open daily. The gallery features the art work of Cajun artist George Rodrigue, most famous for the "Blue Dog" series of paintings.
Also worth a quick look is M.S. Rau Antiques at 630 Royal Street.
Walk around Jackson Square and enjoy street performers, mystics, local artisans, and more.
Tour the Beauregard-Keyes Houst at 1113 Chartres Street, once home to Frances Scott Keyes, author of Blue Camellia and 50 other novels.
Tour the scores of clothing stores, voodoo shops, antique shops, and local art galleries.
If you are sightseeing without young children, walk Bourbon Street and be sure to stop at Pat O'Brien's for a Bloody Mary or the Hurricane, New Orleans' signature drink.
Frenchman Street in the evening is where you'll find every genre of music, from jazz to reggae to funk.
Credit: Cheryl Gerber / Courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
If you are looking for some Mardi Gras spirit, we recommend taking the ferry to Mardi Gras World located adjacent to Harrah's casino (free to pedestrians; $1 for cars). You can watch the Mardi Gras floats being assembled and disassembled and learn the history and themes of the parades or krewes.
If the rain has you down, cheer up at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas with its white alligators or its new Insectarium located nearby at 423 Canal Street (near the corner of North Peters). Later, ride the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the oldest continuously run streetcar system in the world. The streetcar provides access to Audubon Park and golf course, the Audubon Zoo, and many finedining restaurants.
If you have a car or are willing to travel by taxi, then the French Quarter is only the beginning of the Crescent City. The Warehouse District, Canal Boulevard, Magazine Street, Garden District, and City Park are full of adventure.
Credit: Jack Edwards / Courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
In the Warehouse District are several art galleries, the National World War II museum, and the Confederate Museum, which contains the second largest collection of Confederate memorabilia in the United States. After a short drive down Canal Boulevard, you will see historic cemeteries, where historic tours and ghost tours are available. Magazine Street (from the 2000 block to the 3200 block) is lined with an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants and is a favorite late-night area for undergraduate and graduate students. City Park and Audubon Park are wonderful places to unwind, offering spectacular views of southern live oak trees and Spanish moss.
A taxi ride from the French Quarter to anywhere within the city or neighboring districts usually takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
A swamp tour is fun for the whole family. The Jean Lafitte and Honey Island swamp tours are the best bets.
Late-night music can be found throughout the French Quarter and on nearby Frenchman Street, Uptown at Tipitina's on Napoleon Avenue, and the Maple Leaf on Oak Street.
With so much to see and do, there is no doubt that you will enjoy New Orleans. We hope this article presents the essence of this great, multicultural city so that you can best decide how you would like to spend your time when not attending scientific sessions.