Destination Information - New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The Big Easy or the Crescent City, call it what you will; New Orleans is at once one of the US's most historical and hedonistic cities, an unlikely mixture that somehow sits well with this carefree place.
It is fair to say of New Orleans nowadays that people come here to party. The most famous blow-out is of course Mardi Gras when the French Quarter and its surroundings play host to a massive costume parade, but in truth New Orleans is almost as lively the whole year round. The main thoroughfare of Bourbon St boasts more bars than you could shake a chicken's foot at - this is the home of voodoo after all.
But look behind the scenes and you'll find that there is more to the city than long nights and free flowing fun. A thriving art scene is represented in the city's many galleries and museums, where Cajun (the French Canadians who settled here in the 18th century) cultural influences can be seen blended with American forms to create a unique style that is all New Orleans's own. The architecture is some of the most varied and interesting found anywhere in the US. From the French influenced elegance of the balustraded balconies and buildings of the French Quarter to the Gothic style of New Orleans's famous necropolis, the St Louis cemetery.
And this is far from all there is to learn about here. The city's role in the War of Independence and the Civil War is well documented. The hero of the Battle of New Orleans, General Jackson, still sits atop his horse in the square named after him, against the backdrop of one of the finest cathedrals in the country.
Finally, spicy and fruity Creole cooking adds its own unique flavours to the mix, while everything is interwoven with the smoky sounds of jazz, the distinctive sound of New Orleans.