A February 2007 trip
to New Orleans by cr008k
Quote: New Orleas...
New Orleans, years ago, used to be one of my absolute favorite places in the entire United States, if not the entire world, to visit. Then after Hurricane Katrina happened, I was not sure if I wanted to go back and visit. It seemed like it would be too hard to see the city that I had loved, after knowing what had happened there, after hearing about the damages and the floods and the stranded people, and knowing that so much of the city had just been destroyed.However, when a trip came up, I decided to try it out and see what had happened and how the city had been rebuilt over a year later.
In the main touristy areas, everything seemed back to normal. The French Quarter had been pretty much undamaged, and it was just like it had always been. There were tons of restaurants, mostly a lot of fun and delicious places that offer traditional New Orleans and Louisiana treats at a good price in a fun atmosphere. Nothing to be disappointed about there. The nightlife was still raging. There are tons of fun, casual and great laid back bars to go to to have a few (or even perhaps many, if that is what you like and it floats your boat) drinks. There were plenty of tourists and others out, even though we didn't really go in the heart of tourist season. It was almost easy to believe that no hurricane had ever happened there.
We did have friends who knew the city well and so we got to see some of the areas that had not really been as rebuilt, and that was sad, but most of the tourists going there would not venture out of the French Quarter and other tourist neighborhoods, so the would never have to see the hurricane damage.
Overall, visiting New Orleans is still as wonderful as it ever was. The culture is still great, the people are still friendly, and the city is still fun and has plenty of great things to offer. I'd highly recommend that you visit, especially perhaps not during Mardi Gras so you can experience the city in a somewhat quieter time and see everything it really has to offer.
Be sure to enjoy some of the traditional Louisiana food delights that are offered. You can get some of this at the French Quarter and the other touristy areas. The prices are good and it is somewhat authentic food and it always tastes delicious. If you can get to know someone who lives there and ask them where to eat, you can get really great fantastic traditional New Orleans Lousiana foods at a better price in some of the small, quaint little restaurants off the main drag. Those are harder to find, but much more special and delicious and really give you a great traditional experience.
If you like to gamble there is plenty of opportunity to do that here as well, in many of the little gaming/gambling places that are a little bit out of the way. They are fun, the atmosphere is good and there is a good selection of the traditional slot machines and table games. Be careful when mixing the gambling with the amount of drinking that many people can tend to do in New Orleans--people have lost a bit more money that way than they perhaps should have.
Try to visit not during Mardi Gras to have a much better experience. There is still drinking and fun bars and fun night life and plenty of people (both tourists and non-tourists out and having a good time if you go during the more off seasons) but you will avoid a lot of the utter craziness that tends to go on during Mardi Gras (unless of course you like that kind of utter craziness and then by all means New Orleans during Mardi Gras is a great place for you to be).
Venture out of the French Quarter to experience some great historical stuff that you don't get to see in some of the traditional touristy areas. Take a Steamboat cruise (really fun, not too expensive, great way to spend a day) or if you have kids with you, don't miss the aquarium (or I guess even if you don't have kids but you just really like to see a lot of varieties of fish). They put on a great show and it's a lot of fun. There is also a D-Day Museum for history buffs who want to learn a little something on a vacation.
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