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Showing posts with label New Orleans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Orleans. Show all posts

Happy Mardi Gras!

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It's been a couple years since my visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and I'm already planning another one !

The carnival with its parades, fancy balls and parties didn't really impress me much, but the town itself, its world-famous music, food, and culture, was absolutely the most authentic city I've visited so far.


Looking for more information on things to do and to see in New Orleans ? Check out one of these guide books to get ideas on touristy things to do.

My Bucket List : Mardi Gras in New Orleans

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Honestly, now I don't even remember where I got the idea to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. But if you've been following my blog for some time , you remember that in 2009 I started my first Bucket List, and one of the ideas was - Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Well, two years later, I've made it happen !

Partly inspired by Rio de Janeiro 's Carnaval, partly by articles like " 10 Best places to get drunk in public", I wanted to experience this celebrated -around -the- world event first hand.

I had only a couple days to spend in New Orleans, and being ExtraHyperActive, I wanted to see/do everything ( or at least as much as possible). After surfing the net and checking out some of the Lonely Planet books, I found... tons of absolutely useless information.

So here, I'd like to offer a few of my own tips, and I hope they'll be useful:

- If you are not planning to "get wild and out of control" try not to go there the last weekend/Monday/Tuesday or at least avoid the famous Bourbon Street

- The cheapest way to get from airport to Canal St is by bus ( instead of taking taxi/shuttle for $33)

- The cheapest place to stay is 10 minutes away from downtown along Tulane Ave ( I got a room on the day of my arrival for $70 )

- The famous drinks to try - Hurricane/Hand grenades/Bloody Mari/anything with alcohol in it

- The famous food ? Don't even know where to start. I've never been a big food snob, but trying out "authentic southern cuisine" was one of my reasons to visit New Orleans. Got to try : po-boys ( basically a seafood Subway sandwich ); Jambalaya ( spicy fried rice with sausages/seafood); Cajun cuisine ( everything spicy); Beignets ( powdered doughnuts )

Things to do ?

River boat tours

As a kid growing up in Western Siberia, I was fascinated by Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/ Tom Sawyer, and never thought that one day I would travel on the mighty Mississippi River, where Twain operated a steam-powered riverboat.

Swamp tours

A unique journey back to the early days of Louisiana bayou and swamp explorations is a "must do" during your visit. Just 3-4 hours long, these trips offer a quick look at the Louisiana Wetlands, the inhabitants of the swamps, and particularly the life and habits of the American alligator.

Walking Tours - The French Quarter History Tour. A better alternative - check out one of these books, pic what you want to see, and go for a walk.

Turned out, I am not a big fan of carnivals. But the French Quarter made an unforgettable impression on me ! If visiting Paris/Brazil seems like a "dream that won't happen", New Orleans is a cheap ( "off season" ) and a great alternative.

P.S: There was another "heavily promoted " tour - Hurricane Katrina tour, traveling through neighborhoods affected by the hurricane.

Jazzland Amusement Park after 2005 Hurricane Katrina 

I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride around on a bus looking at other people's devastation...."they say that money goes towards families affected by this disaster"...If you believe in something like that, aside from Mardi Gras, that's another reason to visit this wonderful town. If not, here are " Top 10 reasons to travel to New Orleans "...