- CALL NOW
TO BOOK YOUR TRIP
01 433 1040
021 236 4638
Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World
In Algiers Point, on the west bank of the Mississippi River, stands a unique studio museum showcasing the famous New Orleans' Mardi Gras. The museum is actually the working studio of foremost carnival float designer, Blaine Kern, for whom producing floats and props for the city's annual Mardi Gras is a full-time job. Visitors can watch Kern and his team design and construct the giant sculptures of everything from cartoon characters to mythological figures and animals that will eventually parade through the streets.
The entertaining and informative Cabildo on Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter explores the history of Louisiana from the first European explorations to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era from a multi-cultural perspective. The museum is the flagship of the Louisiana State Museum facilities and is housed in an historic building, dating to 1799, originally serving as the Spanish city council offices. Two major historic events took place in the Cabildo building: the Louisiana Purchase Transfer ceremonies in 1803 and later a landmark Supreme Court decision was handed down here that legalised racial segregation. The Cabildo takes pride that five American presidents have visited it.
D-Day National WWII Museum
The unique D-Day National World War II Museum was founded in 2000 by historian and author Dr Stephen Ambrose and has become regarded as a highlight of any New Orleans sightseeing tour. Situated in New Orleans' Warehouse District it depicts the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy, the Home Front during World War II, and the D-Day Invasions in the Pacific. Exhibit galleries include text panels, artefacts, and personal account stations where visitors can listen to the stories of war veterans. A panorama exhibit recreates a Normandy beach landing; there are also regular film shows.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
New Orleans' state-of-the-art Audubon Aquarium, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, is regarded as the best in America with highly entertaining exhibits. Underwater tunnels allow visitors to marvel at a Caribbean Reef and a re-creation of the Gulf of Mexico, complete with sharks. There is also a walk-through Amazon rainforest and an exhibit displaying the inside story of swamp life. The Aquarium features every type of aquatic creature from jellyfish and sea horses to sea otters and penguins. The Aquarium's 'sister' attraction, also run by the Audubon Institute, is the excellent New Orleans city zoo, situated in Audubon Park further uptown.
Regarded as the heart and soul of New Orleans, the French Quarter is the historic part of town covering about 90 square blocks radiating out from Chartres Street and Jackson Square. The Quarter, or Vieux Carre, was established in 1718 as a French military outpost, which was later taken over by the Spanish, merging into a freewheeling culture incorporating slaves, pirates, mercenaries, call-girls and various freemen of every colour and creed. Today the area looks and feels much as it did before Hurricane Katrina, with its wrought-iron railings and tall doorways, and clubs, bars, Cajun-seafood restaurants and shops all a-buzz. By day it is one of the best people-watching spots in the world, and the focus for visitors to New Orleans. By night the area becomes a giant street party throbbing with jazz music and a world-class dining district. The most famous street is Bourbon Street, where prostitutes literally mingle with priests, and bars stay open all night.
Hurricane Katrina Tour
In the wake of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the United States, Gray Line Tours offers a three-hour bus ride around some of the hardest hit areas in New Orleans, including Lakeview and Gentilly, and is aimed at gathering support to rebuild the city. To respect the privacy of the locals, buses will not allow tourists off the bus to take pictures, but will pass around pictures of the storm and its destruction, and guides will describe the events before and after the storm hit the city, as well as explaining the significance of the levee system.
Historic Preservation Hall is New Orleans' most popular jazz venue, where the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band serves up first-rate Dixieland Jazz six nights a week in the French Quarter building (originally built as a residence in 1750). On Sundays the Olympia Brass Band performs instead. No seating, food or drinks are available, but crowds flock here simply for the music between 8pm and midnight.
Louis Armstrong Park
Louis Armstrong Park is a 32-acre sanctuary of green trees and jazz melodies in the heart of the historic old quarter. Inside you'll find Congo Square, the meeting place of slaves in the 19th century. The Visitors' Facility also has exhibits and an indoor performance venue. Occasional free Sunday afternoon concerts are a highlight in the park.
If it walks, crawls or flies, find it at the Audubon Insectarium. Set in Custom House, the historic, white marble columned structure in Canal Street, this is the largest freestanding insectarium in the United States, devoted to over 900,000 species of insects. View thousands of live bugs and mounted specimens. The Cooking Show and Cultural Café offer culinary adventures; witness the art of cooking with these creepy criters and sample the treats, or opt for more traditional fare in the insect-themed café.
Besthoff Sculpture Garden
View the priceless sculptures that make up the superb Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The Sculpture Garden provides a unique opportunity for visitors who treasure the arts, with a world-class collection of modern and contemporary sculptures presented in an exquisite natural setting. Next to the Sculpture Garden is the New Orleans Museum of Art and City Park, with centuries old oak trees, lagoons, a small amusement park and Storyland, a charming fairytale playground.
Louisiana Children's Museum
The Louisiana Children's Museum is a fantastic attraction for kids with a vast selection of exhibits, art activities and educational programs to enjoy. The kid-sized Winn-Dixie grocery store is a favourite, as are the climbing wall and the giant bubble that kids can play in. Eye to Eye has fun showing the workings of the human eye, and Art Trek features drawing, painting and sculpture lessons.
Mississippi River Boat Rides
Set on the banks of the Mississippi River, New Orleans is a great place to take kids for a boat ride. The Natchez steamboat traverses this great river and passes many of the city's historical sites, while the John James Audubon ferries passengers between the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo. There are also a number of Louisiana swamp tours which kids would love.
Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Kids in New Orleans love Storyland and the Carousel Gardens amusement park. Storyland is a fairytale playground featuring life-size storybook attractions such as Captain Hook's pirate ship, and an imitation whale from . The traditional wooden carousel at the theme park always draws a crowd, as do the bumper cars, lady-bug roller coaster and miniature trains.
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Voodoo came to Louisiana through African slaves, and has been practised since the early days of the city. New Orleans is known worldwide for its shady association with the darker arts, and the small but fascinating New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum has artefacts and exhibits depicting the history of its practice in the region. There is usually a voodoo priestess on hand to do palm readings and even make personalised gris-gris bags. The museum may also arrange excursions to voodoo rituals upon request.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a great place to experience 'bayou life' in Louisiana. The park consists of six physically separate sites and a park headquarters, including the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, the Barataria Preserve in Marrero, the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery in Chalmetter, and the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans. The park offers a variety of activities, including bayou cruises from the Acadian Cultural Center, birdwatching and swamp walks in Barataria Preserve, and paddlewheel boat trips from New Orleans to the historic Chalmette Battlefield sites. While cruises and guided tours charge individual fees, admission to many of the cultural centres is free.
A great weekend getaway from New Orleans, Grand Isle is a popular holiday town located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Formerly a busy port of call for pirates like Jean Lafitte, Grand Isle is now a haven for fishing and birdwatching. Grand Isle State Park is home to one of the top winter beaches in the US, and there is a small town of about 1,500 people nearby with a few restaurants and self-catering accommodation. Grand Isle comes alive each year for the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, a salt-water fishing rodeo that draws 15,000 people each year; another popular event is the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival, held each spring.
Avery Island is located on an eight-mile (13km) deep salt dome located in Iberia Parish, 137 miles (220km) west of New Orleans. Known as the birthplace of Tabasco Sauce, Avery Island is still home to the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory, which offers tours to the public. The island also contains the Jungle Gardens wildlife refuge, home to alligators, deer, and raccoons; and Bird City, a pond with specially-built piers for viewing snowy egrets, among other birds.