Flag on a balcony in New Orleans
When Jean Baptiste Le Moyne picked out the strategic spot on the
Mississippi River for his French colony in 1718, little did he know
that he had doomed a future city to tragedy nearly 290 years later.
Situated on a swamp, and surrounded by the sea, Lake Pontchartrain
and the Mississippi River, the subsiding city of New Orleans chose
to swim rather than sink with the construction of a system of
levees, pumps and canals to protect the city from flooding.
However, on the 30 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the
worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States, slammed into the
region, catapulting New Orleans into world headlines that followed
the struggle of the community to cope with extensive damage, loss
of life and the flooding of more than 75 percent of the city.
Despite the 'I told you so' attitude of much of the world, the
proud residents of New Orleans were more determined than ever to
rebuild their city, to bring back the jazz, the extravagant
celebrations and the 'Big Easy' lifestyle that once made it the
party capital of America. Local musicians have returned home,
after-dark options are burgeoning and the strains of jazz and blues
rhythms are once again echoing through the streets of the
atmospheric French Quarter. Legendary Bourbon Street continues to
host carnivals and parades, including the annual Mardi Gras, which
has a reputation for being the most scandalous and sensational
event on the world's festival calendar.
Besides all the partying, New Orleans has plenty of serious
sightseeing to offer. The city is full of picturesque historic
buildings, lush parks, interesting museums displaying everything
from voodoo culture to modern technology, riverboats and historic
streetcars, and of course jazz cafes. But for now evidence of the
calamity, as well as the city's determination to survive, take
first place in any visitor's 'to do' list.
“I wondered, before visiting New Orleans, if the city had fully recovered from its devastation - but I was overwhelmed by its strength of character. Rousing brass bands, friendly people and the joy that just overcomes you as make your way through this city’s streets, make New Orleans one of the favorite cities I have ever visited. The French Quarter is a must see; embrace the Cajun culture and try the crawfish, cornbread and grits! You will be pleasantly surprised.”
Wendy McCartney, New Orleans
New Orleans Specials and Highlights
New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville
Book by 28th February
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New York, New Orleans & Cruise
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