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Science, Photography, and Trip Reviews


New Orleans Fun Tour

Carnival, Mardi Gras, French Quarter, music festivals, and fine dining

Plantations, historic homes, cemetery tours, and World War II Museum

Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, and IMAX Theater

Mississippi river boats and swamp tours

Ronnie Kole.


Battle of the bands.

Ronnie Kole in performance at the French Quarter Festival.


Battle of the Bands on Bourbon St. during the French Quarter Festival.

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Great music

New Orleans, known as "The Cradle of Jazz, The Big Easy, and The Crescent City, is an exciting and fascinating place. Throughout the year you can hear great music, especially Dixieland, jazz, blues, and cajun. You can hear great performers such as Ronnie Kole and Pete Fountain. There are numerous groups such as the Dukes of Dixieland, who are a real joy to listen to. Important music festivals each year are the French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Oak Alley Plantation.


Longue Vue House & Gardens.

Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans.


Longue Vue House and Gardens.

Plantations and old homes

There are many old plantations up and down the Mississippi River. One of the most important of the plantations is Oak Alley, which is located on the West Bank up river from New Orleans. This plantation was built in 1839, and it is famous for its 28 oak trees that are more than 250 years old, and which form an oak alley in front of the majestic home. You can spend the night at a plantation, which can be very romantic. Check with us for details. In Old Metairie, which is not far from the French Quarter, you can visit Longue Vue House and Gardens. This very impressive home and gardens was built in the early nineteen hundreds. Gallier House, in the French Quarter, was built in 1857. All of these places offer tours which we found most enjoyable.

Fascinating old cemeteries

In addition to the old homes, the old above ground cemeteries are popular places to visit. Above ground cemeteries were built because much of New Orleans is below sea level. The result is tombs that have interesting architecture and which showcase the unique history of the city. Unfortunately, muggers sometimes hide behind the tombs. As a result, it is usually best to only go to these cemeteries as part of an organized tour group. In fact, you can take the Ghost and Spirit's Tour or the Hauntings, Gris Gris, and Cemetery Tour. You just might see a ghost!

World War II Museum

The World War II Museum, formerly called the D-Day Museum, is not to be missed. There you see extremely well put together presentations of the Second World War including both the War in Europe and the War in the Pacific. Films with actual war footage are shown describing the important events of the war and that time in the history of the United States. There are many interesting and fascinating displays. You want to allow at least a half a day at the museum, and many people will not find that to be enough time.

Many things to see and do

A drive down St. Charles Avenue and into the Garden District of New Orleans will lead you to many stately homes. Also, you can visit the New Orleans Museum of Art, which has many fine holdings and which brings many important exhibits to the city. The museum is located on the edge of City Park, which has many attractive live oak trees.



French Quarter hotel courtyard.

One of many beautiful swamps near New Orleans.


Courtyard in a charming small French Quarter hotel.

The bayous and swamps of Louisiana are very beautiful and well worth a tour. In addition, the Audubon Zoo in the Uptown area of New Orleans is highly rated. On the edge of the French Quarter is the fascinating Aquarium of the Americas and an IMAX theater. It is possible to go between the zoo and the aquarium by boat on the Mississippi River. In fact, Mississippi River cruises on steamboats are very popular. You can take an evening dinner cruise and be entertained with Dixieland music. Other things to do include walking tours of the Garden District and one with an emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, a tour of plantations along the river, and city tours both day and night.

French Quarter

The French Quarter is popular with locals and tourists alike at any time of the year. During daytime you will find street musicians and artists. Day or night, you will certainly see interesting sights. The best way to see the Quarter is on foot, and you will find many places to shop for souvenirs. Be sure to stroll around Jackson Square, along the Mississippi River, and down to the French Market. For a look at the fascinating history of New Orleans go to the Musee Conti Wax Museum on Conti Street. The lifelike scenes are described in short audio pieces that are very well done. There are other museums that present the history of New Orleans. The Cabildo Museum at Jackson Square is the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase. Royal Street has many shops that sell antiques. You will want to take in the Piano Bar at Pat O'Brien's on St. Peter Street, and while you are there you will likely want to sample the rum-based drink called a hurricane. The courtyard at Pat O'Brien's is not only attractive but a great place to relax with your favorite drink. A trip to the French Quarter is not complete without a stop at the Cafe du Monde on Decatur Street for coffee and beignets. There are many other things to see and do in the French Quarter, and everyone eventually heads for Bourbon Street to experience its special kind of madness.

Pete Fountain parade.


Rex Mardi Gras parade.

Pete Fountain (holding clarinet) with his Mardi Gras parade.


Outstretched hands for beads at a Rex Mardi Gras parade on Fat Tuesday.

Carnival and Mardi Gras

During Carnival (Mardi Gras) season New Orleans takes on a special fun loving quality brought on by many parades and parties. The parades start several weeks before Mardi Gras Day (also called Fat Tuesday), the last day of Carnival. At the parades both kids and adults jump with outstretched hands for beads and other throws from the colorful floats. Between the floats are many great marching bands. Some people stake out their sites on a parade route days in advance of a parade. At parade time there are many thousands of revelers.

The major parades begin the weekend before Fat Tuesday and include Endymion on Saturday, Bacchus on Sunday, Orpheus on Monday (Lundi Gras), and Zulu and Rex on Fat Tuesday.

As Fat Tuesday approaches the atmosphere in the French Quarter takes on a more festive mood. And on Fat Tuesday thousands of people wear costumes. The gay costumes are especially great. And if you see someone dressed up in a fancy dress and wearing a lot of makeup, you can be sure that the someone is not a woman, but a guy. On and near Bourbon Street many revelers bare their private parts to obtain fancy beads offered by the crowd.

Future Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) dates are: 2009 - Feb. 24, 2010 - Feb. 16, 2011 - Mar. 8, 2012 - Feb. 21, 2013 - Feb. 12, 2014 - Mar. 4, and 2015 - Feb. 17. To get accommodations it is necessary to book very early.

Girl in costume.


Gay costume.

Dressed in costume for Mardi Gras in the French Quarter.


A winner of the gay costume contest during Mardi Gras in the French Quarter.

Charming hotels

There are many hotels in and around the French Quarter. Why not treat yourself and stay at the Windsor Court, rated as one of the best hotels in the world? Another great choice is the Ritz-Carlton. There are sometimes great prices on these hotels as part of a tour package including wholesale air and transfers. If you do not want to stay in one of the large well known hotels you can seek out one of the many smaller hotels. Some of these small hotels were formerly old homes and have considerable charm and character. Popular hotels that we offer in packages include Maison Orleans, The Ritz-Carlton, Windsor Court, Marriott, Monaco, The Fairmont, Omni Royal Orleans, Hotel Monteleone, W French Quarter, W New Orleans, and the Best Western French Quarter Landmark. Many other hotels are available.

Great food

There are many great restaurants to choose from, and the food found in New Orleans and the surrounding area is some of the most tasty food found anywhere in the world. Many people consider dining to be one of the main reasons to visit New Orleans. I certainly agree. That is one of the main reasons people keep returning to New Orleans.

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Photos by Sunny Breeding. We sell prints and images.