NOLA, or New Orleans, Louisiana is one of those unique places, not only in the USA but also across the world, that one has to visit at least once in a lifetime. Apart from it’s famous Mardi Gras or ”Fat Tuesday” carnival that attracts thousands of people every year, the city has lots to offer, from live music, architecture, a rich gastronomy, history and culture.
Mardi Gras initially took place for the first time in Mobile, Alabama. Nowadays, it happens in different cities in the United States, such as New Orleans, LA; Saint Louis, MO; Orlando, FL; San Diego,CA…among others. However, some of those places maintain the atmosphere of the carnival throughout the year. One of those places is the famous Bourbon Street, where parties last 24/7, all days of the year. Nevertheless, most locals will advise you not to go there more than once, mainly because prices are higher and it’s way more crowded than the Frenchman Street. Also, one will recognize New Orleans by its architecture. Particularly, the Garden District stands out for the Victorian style houses, some of them being the best-preserved and most beautiful mansions in the South. Here, you can also find one of the famous cemeteries, called Lafayette Cementery No. 1 that has free access.
Moreover, not far from the city, one can find the plantations, which I highly recommend for their history and outstanding landscape. Some of them are: Oak Alley Plantation, Laura Plantation and Whitney Plantation, First two are basically next door to each other. The only back drawn here is the transportation. Those places are only 85Km (53 miles) away from the city, but there’s no way to get there unless you go by yourself with a rental car, or pay one of those touristic companies to take you there. I only got to visit The Oak Alley Plantation and the swamp, since I went with one of those companies. I strongly recommend a rental car, mainly because you get to see more at the same price and at your own pace. Only after you visit those places you will understand a bit more about the history and culture of Louisiana. After I visited those places, I watched the movie ”12 year a slave”, filmed in one of those plantations, which really makes you get goosebumps.
The swamp and the Bayou is the second attraction I would definitely recommend for the unique landscape you get to see along the Mississippi River. The stories about those mossy trees and their relation with the Voodoo are really impressive, and the man in the boat knew a lot about the area. I also got to see a few baby alligators on this boat tour, which was simply amazing.
Once you arrive in New Orleans there are plenty of attractions, such as the steamboat Nachez, Vampires and Ghost Tours, Voodoo Tours and the Oyster Festival among others. Despite the high temperatures in the South, I would absolutely love to come back sometimes in the future.