One Way to do New Orleans – Part 1

My wife and I visited New Orleans earlier this year when we arrived onboard the P&O cruise ship Oceana for a two night and three day visit.

So welcome to Part 1 of Solent Richard’s take on ‘The Big Easy’ –  a fascinating place to explore by day, and an even more  fun place to experience at night.

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… and a fun place to experience at night…

On arrival in New Orleans Oceana was berthed initially at the Julia Street Terminal, which is adjacent to the Erato Street Terminal, seen here with the Carnival Triumph berthed ahead of Oceana…

The position of the two adjacent cruise terminals is easily seen at the bottom end of this map…

The French Quarter is really the tourist centre of New Orleans and to reach it there are two options – taking a ride on the tram car or walking the riverside. The walking route follows the river bank past the Monument to the Immigrants…

 

The alternative, and certainly best if time is limited, is to take the tram. New Orleans cruise terminal is well served by an efficient and regular tram system: we took the tram from Julia Street…

…along its full length to the French Market Station...

All pretty simple with pay instructions as you board…

Referring back to the map above, our first planned visit was the Old U.S.Mint…

which is mmediately across the road from the French Market station and pretty well an unmissable building…

The Old U.S. Mint is well worth a visit and offered free admission. It is well laid out with many interesting exhibits…

 

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Next on our list and directly behind the Old U.S. Mint was the French Market…

A great emporium for browsing and purchasing souvenirs and gifts…

…as well as sampling New Orleans cuisine and taking in a bite to eat…

If it’s a real traditional beverage treat you want, take a walk along the river bank as far as Jackson Square where, on one corner opposite the square is the Cafe Du Monde…

Cafe du Monde is a New Orleans Institution…

It is said that everyone who visits New Orleans stops here for a plate of sugar-dusted Beignets  accompanied by a chicory -flavoured version of cafe au lait. Established in 1862  the Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and  only closes on Christmas Day.

Suitably refreshed the next stop should be Jackson Square, on the opposite side of the road…

That’s General Andrew Jackson up there on the horse…

 

…with New Orleans Cathedral behind…

Just two blocks behind the Cathedral lies New Orleans’ most famous street, Bourbon Street…

Situated dead centre in colourful French Quarter’s fading European architecture,  it’s as interesting to explore during the day as it is fun to be in after dark…

… great architectural gems of buildings…

…and memorable bars…

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…the best of which for a daytime visit has to be the ‘Courtyard Bar’ at the ‘Musical Legends Park’

 

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We will return later to Bourbon Street at night and, in the meantime, head off three blocks north to Louis Armstrong Park…

Behind the  gateway lies 32 acres of grassy knolls, lagoons, and historic New Orleans’ landmarks. Top amongst these is Elizabeth Catlett’s famous statue of Louis Armstrong….

..and who could miss a photo opportunity with Mahalia Jackson in front of her Theatre of Performing Arts…

And so it goes on, a great place to meander peacefully among musical legends…

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A short walk from Louis Armstrong Park leads to another of New Orleans’ must do iconic sites, the St. Louis Cemetery #1…

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Surprise surprise, there is an admission charge. Don’t baulk at it as it gives you a 45 minute guided tour….

…of New Orleans’ oldest  cemetery which is still in use today and is only accessible to the general public via a licensed tour guide.

The informative and often humorous guides take the visitor through a labyrinth of tombs from the past and present while relating various stories (and the odd myth) attached to the occupants. The most famous of the final resting places is that of  the Voodoo Princess, Marie Laveau…

 

…while probably the most unusual is the actor  Nicolas Cage’s pyramid-shaped vault here for his future and final reservation…

The final daytime visit destination was the National World War II Museum…

Formerly known as the D-Day Museum it focuses on the contribution made by the United States  to Allied victory in WWII and has been designated as America’s official WWII Museum.

The Museum consists of an  impressive five-building campus and is located in the Warehouse District. For a serious visit a minimum of 3 hours is recommended…

The Museum complex focuses on different themes through recreated battle sites and beaches, jungles and bunkers, all illustrating the challenges that confronted the Allies in their effort to win the war…

Immersive and interactive exhibits bring you into the emotional world of the people who lived through WWII…

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The National WWII Museum is the top-rated tourist destination in New Orleans, TripAdvisor’s #2 museum in the world and #2 in the U.S., and an unforgettable way to experience World War II.

While that concludes this daytime exploration of New Orleans there is also a night scene that is a must for visitors.

On one evening we joined the Creole Queen for a Dinner Cruise along the Mississippi…

We stepped  back into the glamour and romance of the riverboat era with a cruise aboard this Paddle wheeler with an excellent Creole Buffet…

…and two jazz bands onboard…

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For our second evening we explored the French Quarter and in particular Bourbon Street. There is so much choice and our prime target was to get entry to ‘The Preservation Hall’. Undaunted by the initial queue…

…we persevered and gained entry. Back in the days when the future of traditional New Orleans jazz seemed dim, this is the place that kept the music alive. Today, over 40 years later, the hall is still going strong. On any given night it’s filled to capacity with people eager to hear authentic New Orleans jazz, played by both veteran and younger musicians. There’s no bar or climate control, and a line usually forms outside about a half-hour before.

Sadly they have a strict policy of ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHS’ during performances so readers will have to accept my word that the jazz was excellent: the real McCoy.

Having experienced that iconic venue we headed into Bourbon Street and into Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub…

One of New Orleans’  premiere clubs, it  features traditional jazz seven nights a week. It is small, intimate and usually lined with local and international jazz fans…

…on tiered banquet seating.  Hard to spend an evening in the club and not have a great time.

Outside in Bourbon Street is loud, brash and generally good fun…

Sure there is much revelry and some boisterous behaviour but its all pretty good natured…

…and it  all adds to the atmosphere.

So that concludes this edition of One way to do New Orleans. It by no means covers everything to see in ‘The Big Easy’ and the good news is that my wife and I will be returning in the 2018 for a longer stay and a second part review that will cover different areas including life along Frenchmen Street, a walk through the Garden District and a visit to City Park and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

 

 

 

If you have enjoyed this review of New Orleans and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including  a forthcoming cruise review of  Carnival Dream and a Mississippi  river cruise onboard the American Queen, plus  Solent Richard’s next  port reviews featuring  Jakarta and Bali,  why not join over 600  followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

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©2015 – 17 * Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog * All Rights Reserved

Duplication in part or whole without prior written consent is prohibited by international laws.

 

Disclosure to potential conflict of interest:

It is common throughout the travel industry for travel journalists and many cruise bloggers to be provided with complimentary cruises for the purpose of their reviews.

Solent Richard has no ‘conflict of interest’ as he is not an accredited journalist, he pays for his cruises, and is happy to confirm that all his reviews are his own given without fear or favour.

 

3 responses to “One Way to do New Orleans – Part 1

  1. Thank you so much for always sharing all your great experiences and the nice pictures.
    Wishing you both many more happy and healthy travel memories to collect.
    All the very best
    Camilla & Thomas

  2. Thanks for the article. It has certainly whetted my appetite for our week there in July. Probably not the best time, it being so hot & humid but it was the only time we could fit it in between cruising. It must be good if you want to go back for longer.

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