Read more: New Orleans, Louisiana — Overview for travelers with information about Climate & Temperatures, Airport, Transportation, Maps, Statistics, and more
Overview Sightseeing & Attractions
- French Quarter
- Jackson Square
- Cemetery No. 1 – Graveyard Shift
- Magazine Street
- Audobon Park &St. Charles & Garden District
- New Orleans Museum’s
- The Mighty Mississippi
- New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
- Cafe DuMonde
- Central Grocery
- Jazz & Blues Clubs
Pass, the Vieux Carre Shuttle route lies through the French Quarter, down river to the Faubourg Marigny (full of Caribbean colors and Creole architecture) and upriver to the Central Business & Arts District.
Prowl the French Market’s seven buildings from the Bazaar and the Red Stores to the Flea Market for souvenir bargains in local products, tee-shirts, jewelry, masks, and assorted oddities.
Window shop along Royal, Chartres, Bourbon, and the narrow French Quarter streets for the beautiful to the bizarre: eccentric wares, strange cards, posters, clothes, voodoo potions, jewelry, and costumes.
Stroll around Jackson Square and look over the artists shoulders as they sketch and paint; enjoy the street musicians and dancers and mock the mimes.
At the Cafe du Monde, enjoy cafe au lait, beignets, and a window onto the heart of the Vieux Carre with its thronging crowds.
Where Bourbon Street and St. Phillip Street meet is one of the oldest buildings in the French Quarter. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.
See the Spanish-inspired architecture of St. Louis Cathedral free. (Many concerts there are also free.)
Former Faulkner residence, Faulkner House Books at 624 Pirate’s Alley offers a stunning selection of browseable books.
The Pharmacy Museum houses a 19th-century apothecary shop at 514 Chartres.
For just $5 a pop, learn how the French and Spanish arrived and the Creoles lived.
The Louisiana State Museum maintains five French Quarter Sites:
Madame John’s Legacy,
the 1850s House, and the U.S. Mint.
Other Historic sites and museums, like Hermann Grima, Beauregard-Keyes, Gallier House, and the Old Ursuline Convent 419 Decatur.
French Quarter — Jackson Square
Most visitors to New Orleans have some common stops on their agendas: Bourbon Street, the Aquarium of the America, great jazz clubs, unique shopping venues, and of course the greatest eateries in the world. But some of the finest attractions in the Crescent City are those that stand in one place, sometimes for centuries. They don’t speak or sing or change. They are the majestic and elegant statues of New Orleans, some dating back centuries, and others reflecting the most contemporary values and issues facing the city. Among all of the fine statuary of the city are the common themes of history, culture and a way of life known only in one place in the universe – New Orleans.
Vieux Carre Heroes
Morning comes early in Jackson Square, the world-renowned courtyard that counts St. Louis Cathedral as it’s backdrop.
Centered in the square a lone horseman tries valiantly to tame his rearing animal. He is Andrew Jackson, as depicted by Clark Mills in the 19th century.
Mill’s 14- foot lifelike bronze may be the city’s most well-known statue. Thousands of people pass by daily, dwarfed beneath its majesty.
The French Quarter is virtually framed in fine statuary, most depicting individuals whose lives either touched or altered life in the city.
Near the entrance to the French Quarter is a grand statue of Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the 18th century fonder of New Orleans. Bienville was roundly criticized in his day for even imagining that a swampy land such as this one could ever become the center of commerce, art and culture that he envisioned, but of course his foresight won out.
Today, his statue is prominently displayed in one of the French Quarter’s most highly traveled areas.
At the opposite end of the French Quarter is another famous figure depicted on horseback, this one gleaming under Southern sunlight. Joan of Arc, atop her horse in full military garb is finished in shiny gold leaf, near the entrance of the centuries old French Market. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of New Orleans.
Just outside the French Quarter is Armstrong Park, home of one of the city’s most beloved statues, ” Louis Armstrong.” Armstrong, a New Orleans native who went onto become an international treasure in the music world, now reigns supreme in his own park, among quiet bicycle and walking waterways, wildflowers, paths and the Mahalia Jackson Theatre.
St. Louis Cemetery #1 – Graveyard Shift
Marie Laveau spends her afterlife at St. Louis Cemetery #1 at St. Louis & Basin, just outside the French Quarter.
Well over a century after her death, people still believe in the Voodoo queen’s power. Laveau’s grave in the city’s oldest cemetery is regularly marked with fresh gris-gris, a charm or spell indicated by Xs.
If you want to test Marie’s power, visit her at St. Louis No. 1 on Basin Street, just outside the Quarter. Mark the tomb with XXX in chalk or brick, rub the ground three times with your foot, knock three times (to wake the dead) and make a wish.
Let us know how it turns out.
Anne Rice once staged her own funeral at Lafayette Cemetery, where her vampire, Lestat, broods through his unlife in the Garden District at Prytania & Washington.
Hop the Magazine Street bus to explore an area so cool, only Greenwich Village could give it a run in a hipper-than-thou contest.
The street name comes from French magasin, for ‘shop’. So, window shop, and youll see just about every trendy item around along Magazine’s six miles of art galleries (15 and counting), funky clothes, vintage accessories, wild costumes, wigs, and masks, and beaucoup antiques (over 80 shops of collectibles), used and original jewelry, bookstores, interesting restaurants.
Audobon Park & St. Charles & Garden District
Known for its moss-hung oaks, ponds, and laid -back ambiance, Audubon Park lies just before Magazine Street meets the river.
Stroll, run, or bike along the Avenue of Oaks or hang out like the mo ss and picnic. Bring stale bread to feed the ducks and turtles. If you’ve got a bike, a great path runs for miles atop the levee, starting just to the right of the Zoo entrance.
All gratifyingly gratis.
St. Charles & Garden District
Walk through Audubon Park from Magazine to St. Charles. At the park entrance, take the Streetcar back to the French Quarter.
The 13-mile ride passes a stunning assortment of Creole, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural fantasies. In the Garden District, a free National Historic Landmark, use your self-guided tour to check out historic mansions along the charming streets lined with oaks and oleanders.
Anne Rice fans often cluster outside her residence at 1239 First St., home of the fictional Mayfair witches.
New Orleans Museum’s
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) in City Park.
For adults, the museum houses a permanent collection of over 40,000 objects, noted for its French American, African, and Japanese works. NOMA often holds hands-on classes in arts and crafts for children.
The National WWII Museum (formerly D-Day Museum)
at 945 Magazine St. is a national treasure, holding the global history and personal memories of WWII and the people who fought for freedom. Interactive galleries and maps, thousands of artifacts, individual accounts, and films document WWII from Europe to the Pacific.
The Louisiana State Museum
runs five Quarter sites:
- The Cabildo
- 1850 House (all on Jackson Square)
- Madame John’s Legacy at 632 Dumaine and the
- Old U.S. Mint at 400 Esplanade Ave.
Together, they preserve part of New Orleans’ history and her legacy of European, African, and Caribbean cultures that formed the city’s rich musical heritage. The Old Mint houses extensive jazz memorabilia and archives behind an elegant Greek Revival facade.
The Pharmacy Museum
at 514 Chartres, preserves a 19thcentury trove of apothecary artifacts, voodoo powders, live leeches, and deliciously icky stuff.
The African American Museum
1418 Gov. Nicholls St. — Web: History — New Orleans African American Museum (noaam.org)
Backstreet Cultural Museum,
are both located in one of the nation’s oldest black communities – historic Faubourg Treme near the French Quarter.
They preserve the past and promote living artists via exhibits, lectures, and performance.
Web: BACKSTREET CULTURAL MUSEUM (backstreetmuseum.org)
In a complex of restored buildings, the Historic New Orleans Collection at 533 Royal Street explores the history and customs of Louisiana and New Orleans including artists, architecture, the French Quarter, Mardi Gras and Jazz.
Along the mighty Mississippi
Taking it’s place as one of New Orleans newest and most high profile statues is ‘ Mother River,” a 30-foot tall sculpture that stands inside of a fountain in front of the Port of New Orleans. Mother River is an anthropomorphic depiction of a female form reaching skyward from her northern tributaries toward her destiny, the deep arm rivers of the Gulf of Mexico. The River’s tributaries appear as children clutching her feet. Along the base of the sculpture, riverboats, tugs and other vessels are represented in relief. The rich mix of drama, humanity and nature’s challenges is all represented in the work. With the arrival of Mother River, cruise ships; freighters and all other vessels are greeted with the site of a mighty woman reaching skyward—much like they are in another famous harbor further northeast. “Mother River” is destined to take her place as the New Orleans region tribute to the maritime industry, a thriving business with great heritage in the city.
Mother River joins a select few statues that grace the city’s riverfront. One that seems to generate the most conversation is the elegant ” Monument to the Immigrant” in Woldenberg Park. The white Carrara marble monument created by local sculptor Franco Allesandrini, rests on a series of risers constructed of blue stone and matching white marble,. On one side Miss Liberty faces the mighty Mississippi, while an immigrant family faces the French Quarter, where most immigrants lived when they came to this area.
Close by is Robert Schoen’s “Old Man River,” a stylized stone human figure made of 17 tons of Carrara marble. Since 1991, visitors have marveled at the 18- foot monumental statue’s majesty. The figure’s circular movement seems to convey a harmony of the work to its location. The river is connected through the openings of the legs and arms to the land.
The aquatic theme is further carried out in Woldenberg Park with ” Ocean Song,” a stainless steel sculpture consisting of eight narrow three-sided pyramids, each 10 feet tall. Native New Orleanians John Scott created polished surfaces that reflect viewers’ images. The work is meant to depict the gentle motion of the ocean coupled with the reflection of human beings, symbolizing their connection to the sea.
Cafe Du Monde
Since 1862, this is the original French Market coffee stand.
Serving cafe au lait and beignets 24 hours daily (on Decatur St., other shops open ca. 8 a.m.).
Taste the original beignet, Louisiana state donut, coffee with chicory and half hot milk…cafe au lait!
Oh, yay! Creole pastries carrés (square, like the Vieux Carré), fried to crusty perfection and generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Got café au lait?
Tip: wear light colors to camouflage the powdered sugar.
French Market, 800 Decatur Street. Open 24 hours a day, closed 6pm December 24, opens 6am December 26
Riverwalk Marketplace, One Poydras. Open Mon-Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 8am-7pm
The Central Grocery, on 923 Decatur Street, is not only famous for their Muffuletta sandwich it is actually the home of the muffuletta.
Many consider this family owned and operated grocery deli as a must visit while visiting New Orleans.
Muffuletta: It’s not a sandwich; it’s a meal packed into a pizza-sized Italian bun.
The calories don’t count when you’re having fun: salami, ham, and provolone lavished with olive relish.
Go to the source: Central Grocery on Decatur Street, an Italian import store where the sandwich was invented about a century ago to satisfy hungry Sicilian stevedores on the nearby docks.