Louisiana is a unique state. It is rich with French Canadian, Haitian, and West African cultures. So, if you decide to visit this state, you’ll want to start out in New Orleans. Even without a car, you can experience all that Louisiana has to offer.
Live Music, Jazz Bars
Walk outside your hotel and you’ll be hit with live music from every direction. There are street musicians and live music around every corner in the Big Easy. At night, local restaurants and bars usually have balconies, patios, and backyards packed with eager live music fans, drinking and eating, and enjoying the ambiance. If you love jazz and blues, then this is the city for you.
Eat, Eat, Eat
Louisiana cuisine is a reflection of its multicultural history. There’s an endless list of dishes to try, including – Cajun versus Creole gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, all flavors of boudin, oysters, crawfish boils, and beignets. Make sure to stop by a hot sauce store to taste all the available flavors and in the morning, wake up with a cup of chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde. If you haven’t gained 15 pounds by the time you leave Louisiana, you did something wrong!
Taste Local Cocktails
Aside from great music and food, Louisiana is known for its great cocktails and beers. Grab a bottle of the local craft brew from Abita Brewery. They have everything from a strawberry wheat beer to the Abita Turbodog, a nice, well-rounded dark brown ale. Looking for something stronger? Head to the Sazerac Bar for their famous Ramos Gin Fizz. This cocktail is a delightful mix of fizziness, meringue, and gin flavors. For those who love to party hard, try a Hurricane or a Hand Grenade. Both drinks contain Everclear, a liquor that’s basically pure alcohol (it can be as strong as 95% alcohol).
Learn About Voodoo
Voodoo is a West African practice that was brought to Louisiana. Today, you can visit various voodoo museums and exhibits to learn about it. People in Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria still practice voodoo. In Louisiana, this tradition is mostly for tourists, though you may find communities who practice it outside of the big city.
Most cemeteries bury the dead underground, with only tombstones marking the place where they lie. In New Orleans, thanks to the ground being below sea level, burying people underground meant that they don’t stay where you put them. So, cemeteries in New Orleans have above-ground tombs. This is part of the reason why many people believe that the city is more haunted than most. If this fascinates you, then you’ll want to book a cemetery tour and see if you can get a glimpse of those from The Beyond.
Before You Go
To put yourself in the right mood before you go to Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, spend an hour and a half watching the 1986 film classic The Big Easy starring Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman, and Ned Beatty. Or binge watch the HBO series Treme.