New Orleans impresses visitors, offering immediate charm, friendliness, fun for all

Posted November 17, 2013


NEW ORLEANS — I arrived at Louis Armstrong International Airport on Oct. 23 to find myself surrounded by the sound of jazz. I had only been in the Big Easy for nearly five minutes and already I felt that the city met the description I had always heard when anyone referenced it.

Canal Street streetcar near the New Orleans Marriott (Photo by Stephanie Parra).

Canal Street streetcar near the New Orleans Marriott (Photo by Stephanie Parra).

The city’s charm embraced me immediately. The same night I arrived in the city, my group of friends and I dropped our baggage off at our downtown hotel, the New Orleans Marriott on Canal Street, and went to nearby bar, cleverly named 21st Amendment.

The bar, situated in the heart of the French Quarter, pays tribute to the Prohibition era in the Untied States in the 1920s. The menu offers an array of drinks to satisfy those who crave a unique concoction.

The bar, decorated with portraits of the most infamous mobsters popular at the time, creates libations with homemade syrups and locally grown herbs, according to the bar’s website. Whisper the secret speakeasy password and receive a drink special.

The next day, a quick self-guided walking tour around the French Quarter helped me get acquainted with the area. But the walking tour was not enough to satisfy my curious traveler’s spirit. My group and I decided to embark on a New Orleans Horse and Carriage Tour, which explored the history of the city and touristy hot spots.

Among the stops the tour guide made was a stop right in front of the home where Tennessee Williams authored the renowned play, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Our tour guide informed us that the city of New Orleans, which now has a limited number of streetcars, used to be buzzing with streetcars at the time that Williams wrote his play.

The Desire Line, which ran from 1920 to 1948, ran down Bourbon Street, through the Quarter. The streetcar then headed to Desire Street, by the Bywater district, back up to Canal Street. The home, now dilapidated, stands where Williams’ inspiration once ran.

The home where Tennessee Williams wrote 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (Photo by Stephanie Parra).

The home where Tennessee Williams wrote ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (Photo by Stephanie Parra).

Earlier that day, we stopped by the Gumbo Shop and tried the truest in Cajun cuisine. We shared a cup of the classic okra gumbo and a small order of jambalaya. We washed down our meals with fruit-flavored Daiquiris – banana, honeydew and strawberry – to be exact.

Though my party and I were there for nearly 72 hours, there was plenty of time to visit all the top spots in the city. At night, we had dinner at the Acme Oyster House, which serves all the classic Cajun favorites as part of its diverse menu.

To help with digestion, we walked to Saints & Sinners, which is celebrity Channing Tatum’s local restaurant and bar. Due to the Halloween festivities, the establishment had a special menu with limited drinks and food options. Thankfully, though, my group and I had eaten enough throughout the day to last us until the next morning.

Still, we enjoyed a martini or two before stopping by nearby Pat O’Brien’s. Pat O’Brien’s, the home of the famous Hurricane cocktail, serves a vast array of drinks. Obviously, my group and I tried a Hurricane cocktail – and, thankfully we shared one between three of us. After just four gulps, Bourbon Street can become a bit blurred.

After a fun night out with the crowd, we made a stop at Café du Monde to try a classic beignet. We had to take a cab from Bourbon Street to Café du Monde, simply because it was too dark to find our way to the beignet beacon.

Though I was able to hit all the hotspots in the city, I wasn’t able to visit the world-famous Court of Two Sisters, home of the jazz brunch.

I did, however, go back to Bourbon Street the next night and try out the Hand Grenade drink at Little Tropical Isle Bar.

The French Quarter, at either the evening or the day, boasts a bright environment for tourists and locals alike.

For Raquel Zaldivar, a visitor, that was one of the favorite aspects of her trip.

“I loved walking through the French quarter,” she said. “I also loved the weddings that paraded down the street, I saw, like five, all weekend. They were amazing.”

In addition to the city’s mixed milieu of faces and landmarks, the ranging spectrum of emotions that can be witnessed in the city make it a remarkable place to visit.

“I love how the city is so full of emotions,” she said. “It can be calm and peaceful one second but rowdy and fun the next. And that’s perfectly normal there.”

Seventy-two hours in New Orleans were not enough – but just about right. Though I visited the city to attend the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers fall convention, I was able to go to most of the best spots the city has to offer. In the near future, I hope make my way to the Big Easy again.

If You Go

  • For more information on the 21st Amendment, visit or call 504-378-7330. 21st Amendment Bar is located at 725 Iberville St., New Orleans.
  • For more information on the Horse and Carriage Tours, visit The Horse and Carriage Tours can be purchased on Jackson Sqaure.
  • The Gumbo Shop is located at 630 Saint Peter St., New Orleans. For more information, call 504-525-1468 or visit
  • The Acme Oyster House is located at 724 Iberville St., New Orleans. For more information, call 504-522-5973 or visit
  • Saints & Sinners is located at 627 Bourbon St., New Orleans. For more information, call 504-528-9307 or visit
  • Pat O’Brien’s is located at Pat O’Brien’s 718 St. Peter St.,
    New Orleans. For more information, call 504-525-4823 or visit
  • Café du Monde is located at 800 Decatur St., New Orleans. For more information, call 504-525-4544 or visit
  • Court of Two Sisters is located at 613 Royal St., New Orleans. For more information, visit or call 504-522-7261.
  • Little Tropical Isle is located at 721 Bourbon St., New Orleans. For more information on Little Tropical Isle, visit or call 504-529-4109.

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