More than Mardi Gras: New Orleans Travel Guide

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) /

New Orleans holidays are something to remember, but NOLA’s bars and Mardi Gras only tell part of the story of this beautiful and resilient American city.

New Orleans has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1837, and revelers have been descending on the Crescent City ever since.

In a typical year, around a million people visit to indulge in drinking, partying, and parades in an eruption of color and music that engulfs the city for two weeks before Shrove Tuesday. It also nets around $800 million in revenue.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

But when the party dies down, and the discarded beads and masks are cleared from the street, a more serene New Orleans comes into focus.

Architecture is a prominent feature of the city, often described as “French Colonial” New Orleans’ varying cultural influences have blended to make a hybrid of French, the Caribbean, and Spanish styles.

One of the places these eye-catching designs are prominently displayed is the affluent Garden District about 25 minutes from the French Quarter on an iconic New Orleans streetcar, which has been gliding through the city since 1835.

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) /

The opulent mansions feature a classic long porch and supporting columns. The Women’s Opera House is the only place that offers a look at the palatial interior, which boasts chandeliers, a grand piano, and pristine hardwood floors.

New Orleans inspired Mark Twain and gave it the macabre nickname “The City of the Dead” due to its above-ground tombs.

Floating mausoleums were supposed to protect bodies during floods as they can be pushed up from the ground in high waters. However, during Hurricane Katrina, caskets and bodies bobbing around the street was a grim and frequent sight.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) /

Many walking tours take you around different cemeteries, and St. Louis Cemetery Number One is such an attraction.

Located across from The French Quarter and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s home to actor Nicolas Cage’s $40,000 nine-foot, white pyramid tomb, which he purchased in 2010.

Next. It is too hard to leave New Orleans. dark

A 10-minute drive from St. Louis is the 1,300 acre New Orleans City Park, one of America’s largest and oldest urban parks. The sprawling green space offers boating lakes, tennis courts, golf courses and horseback riding.

New Orleans City Park
(Photo by Paul Rovere/Getty Images) /

The Museum of Art is also on the park grounds and houses a stellar collection of work from the Renaissance to the Modern, including Renoir, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Georgia O’Keefe.

New Orleans is a city for everyone, multi-national, multicultural, laid back, and an absolute riot; its history is rich and varied and stays with you long after you’ve left.