A historic city:
A comfortable pair of sturdywalking shoes is definitelyrequired when visiting NewOrleans. The architecture aloneforces you to stop every few blocksand stare. Wrought iron balconies,European-style arcades, and Creolehouses meld together in a city thathasn't changed much in 2 centuries. Right now there are10,500 buildings in New Orleanson the historic register list.
New Orleans is a city that lovesto party, and this year it's throwingits biggest celebration to date: the200th anniversary celebration of theLouisiana Purchase. Locals willcommemorate the deal made byThomas Jefferson and NapoleonBonaparte, which doubled the sizeof the United States for a paltry $15million (or 4 cents an acre).
The 200th anniversary has beenthe subject of a breathtaking exhibitionat the New Orleans Museum ofArt (504-488-2631; www.noma.org),where paintings, documents, and19th-century period furniture havebeen assembled. Despite the tensionbetween Washington and Paris earlierthis year over the Iraq War, many ofthe objects that appear in the exhibitwere shipped from France.
This year, New Orleans alsoremembers World War II. The NationalD-Day Museum (504-527-6012; www.ddaymuseum.org), createdby the late historian StephenAmbrose, observes the fact that mostof the landing crafts used duringWorld War II—the crafts that tookGIs up onto the beaches of Europeand the Pacific—came out of NewOrleans-area boatyards.
KEEPING THE BEAT
Music sounds everywhere inNew Orleans. Even street funeralprocessions are an excuse for trumpetsand trombones to wail. Jazzwas born here, and the 12-squareblock known as the "French Quarter"is constantly alive with tunes.Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino,and Al Hirt are still alive in NewOrleans. Tradition calls for visitorsto fill up a "go cup" in 1 bar, listenfor a while, then stroll, cup in hand,to the next bar, where there's moremusic. New Orleans police neverchallenge "go cup" strollers.
New Orleans isn't a completehistoric time warp, however. TheSuper Dome hosts Super Bowls andNCAA Final Fours. In addition to20th-century buildings, there areplenty of modern day activities. Kidsswarm to the local aquarium, whiletheir parents stroll the Riverwalk ortry their luck at Bally's Casino. Forfree brochures and visitor information,call toll free 800-672-6124 orvisit www.neworleanscvb.com.