New Orleans, Louisiana
There are many tourist attractions in New Orleans, from the renowned French Quarter to St. Charles Avenue (home to the universities of Tulane and Loyola, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, and several mansions from the 19th century), to Magazine Street with its boutique shops and antique stores.
One of the top ten most visited cities in the United States, New Orleans received 10.1 million tourists in 2004. Before Katrina, 265 hotels with 38,338 rooms were in operation in the Greater New Orleans Area. By May 2007, there were only about 140 hotels and motels left with more over 31,000 rooms.
The most first-place rankings among the 30 cities included in a 2009 Travel + Leisure survey of “America’s Favorite Cities” went to New Orleans, which was voted first in ten categories. The survey found that New Orleans was the top American city for spring break, “wild weekends,” chic boutique hotels, cocktail hours, singles and bar scenes, live music/concerts and bands, antique and vintage shops, cafés and coffee bars, neighborhood restaurants, and people-watching. Behind Charleston, South Carolina, the city came in second for friendliness, gay friendliness, bed and breakfast hotels/inns, and ethnic cuisine. However, the city scored poorly for cleanliness, safety, and family-friendliness.
Popular hotels, bars, and nightclubs may be found in the French Quarter (sometimes called “the Quarter” or Vieux Carré), a city from the colonial era that is bordered by the Mississippi River, Rampart Street, Canal Street, and Esplanade Avenue. Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market (home to Café du Monde, renowned for café au lait and beignets), and Preservation Hall are just a few of the Quarter’s top tourist attractions. The Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum and research facility collecting artwork and items related to the history and the Gulf South, as well as the former United States Mint branch, the old New Orleans Mint, are both located in the French Quarter.
There are many annual events held in the New Orleans region. The most popular is Carnival, also known as Mardi Gras. On the Feast of the Epiphany, commonly referred to as the “Twelfth Night” of Christmas in some Christian traditions, Carnival officially kicks off. Mardi Gras, the greatest and penultimate day of traditional Catholic celebrations, falls on the final Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian liturgical season of Lent.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the biggest of the city’s several music festivals. One of the biggest music festivals in the country, simply known as “Jazz Fest.” Numerous musical genres are represented at the festival by both domestic and foreign performers.
Rock and roll grew significantly as a result of the specific kind of rhythm and blues that originated in New Orleans much later in the genre’s history. The #1 U.S. hit “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups, which dethroned the Beatles from the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, is an illustration of the New Orleans sound of the 1960s. In the 1960s and 1970s, New Orleans became a hub for funk music, and by the late 1980s, it had created its own regionalized hip-hop genre dubbed bounce music. Bounce music was extremely well-liked in less-affluent neighborhoods during the 1990s, despite not being financially successful outside of the Deep South.
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