Frolicking in the French Quarter

New Orleans is a special place. The intricate lattice work of the wrought-iron gates, the overwhelming cathedrals, jazz music blaring from all corners, the smell of rotting beer and barf from the night before...It is a historical place characteristic of nothing but it's own.


Frolicking in the French Quarter

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Depending on the time of year you visit New Orleans, be sure to make yourself familiar with what is going on in the French Quarter. (Locals affectionately refer to it as "th' coorta.") Mardi Gras is by far the most crazy time there. Also, if you have the time, be sure to branch out and visit the plantations. There is very rich history of the US nestled between the hills and vines. But New Orleans in general is full of the history as well. Especially with regard to the "Cities of the Dead," which are the standing tombs of the dead, some dating back to the 1700s! Voodoo Queen Marie Louveau is buried just outside of the Quarter and her influence is prevalent. Voodoo is a popular belief in that area. Just beyond the Quarter is the Mississippi River (aka "Ole Miss"). It is just beautiful to experience the vastness of the river and to see the barges.${QuickSuggestions} The "Cities of the Dead" are amazing, but please stay out of them after dark, as they are not safe then. Also, it is usually very hot and humid, so keep yourself hydrated and dress comfortably as you will be doing a lot of walking in the Quarter.${BestWay} If you are staying in the Quarter, walking should suffice. The area, itself, is not that large. However, if you choose to venture out of the Quarter after dark, or go visit the Plantations or other attractions in the area, you will want to drive your own car. Cabs, as usual, can be very expensive for long distances.

Hilton New Orleans Airport

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

The hotel was just beautiful with crystal chandeliers, marble floors and more than hospitable staff. That southern charm is addicting! The hotel has a restaurant (try their jambalaya!), lounge and bar, fitness center and pool area. The rooms are spacious with the standard accomodations such as a television, dresser, desk, Internet connection, hairdryer, etc. For those who wish to spend more time in the French Quarter, I do not recommend this hotel as being convenient. It is about 12 miles from the Quarter. However, if you are covering a large area in New Orleans, this is a great option as you are central to the plantations, downtown and the Quarter. It is directly across the street from the airport, so there is a free shuttle to pick you up and drop you off.
Hilton New Orleans Airport
901 Airline Drive
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70062
(504) 469-5000

Cafe du Monde

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

The Cafe du Monde is a very popular tourist attraction and gets is reputation from word of mouth recommendations. The cafe sits at a busy corner in the Quarter with jazz blaring out of the speakers. This is quite characteristic of the area and just adds even more charm to the small cafe. Inside, you will probably be overwhelmed by the number of people crammed into a small space, but they leave pretty quickly. Most people come either in the morning or in the afternoon for a quick snack of beignets (french donuts that are TO DIE FOR) and coffee. Four donuts were about 2 bucks when I visited in September 2000 and coffee was about the same, so it makes for a real reasonable (although not healthy) snack. There are other menu options such as sandwiches and salads, as well. Additionally, many cafes line the streets of the French Quarter - some have live entertainment and some don't.
Cafe Du Monde
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70116
(504) 525-4544

My own walking tour of The French Quarter

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

I walked for four hours starting at about 9 a.m. The area was not crowded, jazz music filled the streets and the sun was shining, so I got to be outdoors and experience the French Quarter in its morning glory. The disgusting smells sometimes churned my stomach, but as soon as I was away from the "infested" area, it was fine. I walked up and down each street, looking at the wrough-iron balconies, unique homes and private gardens. I learned from locals that the French built the Quarter apartments to face inside gardens. This was to protect their privacy. There is the more residential section of the Quarter, which I explored, but the more lively section with the bars, restaurants, museums, shops and shows, is definitely full of more action. Whatever your preference, you will find it in New Orleans. I also followed my nose to the Mississippi River, Jackson Square (the exact center of the Quarter), a few cafes, shops and bar for a strawberry daiquiri. You will encounter a lot of drunk people, even in the morning, but for the most part, people are civil to one another. The shopkeepers are very friendly and prominently display their southern charm. I was fortunate to have an intelligent and informative cabbie who told me alot about the area as he drove me from my hotel to the Quarter. That helped me understand what I was seeing and gave me a lot of valuable background information. (Try Elk's Taxi, as I took them both ways and had very informative people both times.) I also made it past Preservation Hall - the Birthplace of Jazz. That was quite an experience. The place is so small inside - barely fits 25 people. There are also a lof of street performers, so that keeps it interesting, as well.
French Quarter

New Orleans, Louisiana

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