The magic of New Orleans.
Bourbon Street is pumping.
Bourbon Street by night.
It's about jazz, it's about blues, it's about drinking and voodoo and it's definitely about having a party of a time on Bourbon Street!
In 1699 French explorers sailed up the Mississippi River and came across a small port which led across a narrow spit of land to a large lake. New Orleans was born. The city is bounded by the winding Mississippi to the south and Lake Pontchartrain to the north.
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, zydeco and blues, a melting pot of French, African, Caribbean, Italian and Spanish, resulting in the Cajun and Creole influences in the local people, cuisine, music and architecture.
It is a 24-hours-a-day place. Bourbon Street is where most people gravitate for the music, the bars, the food and the action. It is flat, it is easy to explore on foot and you can go it alone or join one of the many walking tours.
Mardi Gras attracts about a million visitors each year; its colourful parade is a culmination of lots of smaller parades, building up to the big, colourful day.
The Jazz and Heritage Festival is a celebration of all kinds of music. It began in 1969 in a park and is now one of the most respected and best attended music festivals in the world.
Most visitors to New Orleans head for the beautiful French Quarter, also known as the Old Square. It once covered 44 blocks, but now stretches over double that area. It has narrow streets, French cottages with courtyards and pretty windows and is home to about 5000 people, totally addicted to its charm.
The Warehouse District's once-abandoned buildings have been restored and converted to residences, galleries and museums.
Jackson Square is the city's heart. What started out as a militia parade and training ground and a place for hangings and lashings is now a peaceful place to sit and contemplate and watch the always-changing live entertainment.
Just across from Jackson Square is the Moon Walk, which gives a wonderful view of the mighty Mississippi. Paddlewheel riverboats still operate, some with a jazz concert for amusement along the way. The restored Delta Queen, which was launched in 1927, is the only one to still travel under steam.
New Orleans has been the background for many books and plays and the setting for many films All the King's Men, A Streetcar Named Desire and Suddenly, Last Summer were inspired by this mystical, sultry city.
February and April are the ideal months to go to New Orleans. After that time the heat can become extremely oppressive.