Information & Facts
New Orleans has a subtropical climate with very hot and humid
summers and mild winters. In mid-summer temperatures of 90°F (30°C)
and more are common, while in winter the temperature hovers around
a comfortable 60°F (15°C), with very chilly mornings. New Orleans
has a high annual rainfall, most of it falling in late summer,
often as a spin-off from tropical storms. Heavy rain during the
June to September Gulf Coast hurricane season has caused flooding
in the city on occasion. Snow and ice are rarities in New Orleans,
but there have been incidences of a 'white Christmas', with light
Known for its use of Cajun pepper, tropical fruits and spices,
dining out in New Orleans is an exciting sensory experience not to
be missed. The melting pot cuisine known as Creole incorporates
French, Spanish, Mediterranean, Caribbean and African flavours as
well as the hearty and comforting tastes of the American Deep
Travellers will find the world-famous French Quarter gears
mostly to tourists and this is where just about any and every kind
of Creole restaurant can be found, serving jumbalaya, red beans and
rice, gumbo and Cajun Crawfish amongst other local dishes. Those
with a serious sweet tooth are in for a treat in New Orleans, where
the desserts are as sticky as they come with favourites such as
Pecan Pie, Pralines and Bananas Foster staples on most restaurant
menus. Don't forget an order of deep-fried beignets (pronounced
ben-yays) with your coffee!
New Orleans has its own special take on the sandwich, which
comes in two varieties: po'boys, served on a round French loaf and
packed to the rafters with beef, oysters, shrimp, gravy and all the
trimmings; and muffalettas, huge Italian loaves stuffed with cold
meats and olive salad.
Bourbon Street is where the best of New Orleans' eateries can be
found and travellers should pay the legendary Galatoire's a visit
to sample some of the city's finest fare. Not to be missed are the
city's cocktails, the most famous being the notorious 'Hurricane'
and visitors won't have trouble finding a bar to sample this New
Orleans specialty - escaping the bustling bars might be their only
When in New Orleans, the vintage electric rail vehicles or
'streetcars' are the way to go. With various lines crossing the
city, most destinations are accessible by this means of transport.
Various VisiTour passes allow unlimited rides on buses and
streetcars, and for streetcar fare and route information visit
www.norta.com. The Canal Street
Ferry takes passengers across to the suburb of Algiers and is free
for pedestrians, offering fine views of the city skyline. Walking,
cycling, taxis and rental cars are some of the other options; many
tourist areas, like the French Quarter, are most enjoyable on foot.
Driving a car in New Orleans may be difficult as many roads are
still inaccessible due to hurricane damage.
New Orleans has fantastic attractions for children on holiday
including fun parks, aquariums and museums. Kids love to visit the
Audubon Aquarium, and are also fascinated by the creatures at the
Audubon Insectarium. The Louisiana Children's Museum is also a
popular attraction, as are Storyland and the Carousel Gardens
Amusement Park. Children also love to go on boat rides up the
Mississippi River, or into the Louisiana swamps.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
New Orleans is a city of music and rhythm, most famous for jazz,
Cajun and zydeco, and its nightlife portrays this with enthusiasm.
Gambit, Offbeat and WhereY'at, as well as local radio stations,
publicise upcoming New Orleans events and venues.
There are countless bars along Bourbon Street, and the party
invariably pours out onto the sidewalks; while most places have a
cover-charge, it is not always necessary to actually go inside!
Some of the best clubs and bars can be found in the Quarter and the
Frenchmen section of the Faubourg Marigny.
Preservation Hall is a must for jazz fans, and Maple Leaf Bar is
another popular spot for live music. Molly's is said to be the best
bar in the French Quarter and Napoleon House offers a fantastic
Pimm's Cup cocktail. Ray's Boom Boom Room is fast becoming the
trendiest club of the Frenchmen district, and the Blue Nile is the
long-standing social hub of the area. The Polo Lounge at Windsor
Court is very stylish, favouring Sazeracs cocktails and fancy
Shopping in New Orleans ensures a great selection of antiques,
arts, vintage clothing and unique jewellery. There are various
malls, markets, boutiques and specialist shops that satisfy most
The French Quarter is unsurpassed as a sightseeing/boutique
shopping experience. It's also home to legendary New Orleans voodoo
shops and some fantastic costume and mask shops, great for Mardi
Gras or Halloween and popular New Orleans souvenirs. Magazine
Street also has costume and mask shops, as well as stores offering
elegant furnishings, hand-smocked garments and local arts. There
are various jewellers in town offering unique, custom-made
New Orleans candymakers have a special touch, and sweets like
pralines make popular gifts. Some of the best can be sampled at
Southern Candymakers, Leah's Candy Kitchen, and Aunt Sally's
Praline Shop. Don't forget to sample the best in local music;
you'll find great cds of Dixieland jazz at the Louisiana Music
Factory and Beckham's Bookshop.
Items such as Louis XIV chairs and African masks are available
from numerous antique stores, and the art galleries of Royal Street
also hold infinite treasure. And then there's Crescent City
Farmer's Market, which sells exotic vegetables, beautiful flowers
and fresh seafood. There are various tax refund and tax free
options available to visitors.
Home of one of the world's largest street parties, New Orleans
is not short on attractions and the place to start is without a
doubt the world-renowned French Quarter.
Take a stroll along the legendary Bourbon Street to lap up the
ambience, sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans, or for a more
historical view of the city, visit the D-Day National World War II
Museum. See a bit of the city's underbelly in the New Orleans
Voodoo Museum, and marvel at Mardi Gras floats at Blaine Kern's
The Hurricane Katrina Tour takes visitors through the worst
affected areas of the city, including Lakeview and Gentill, and is
a tragic, yet fantastic way to see parts of the city and people
that would otherwise be seen only by locals.
Visitors will do well to purchase the New Orleans Power Pass.
The pass is available in 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive day options and
starts at $31 per day. It includes admission to 30 of New Orleans'
top attractions, saving the bearer up to $300 while also offering
discounts and the opportunity to skip the queue at many locations,
ensuring you experience all there is to see and do in New