Crescent City Getaway: Honeymooning In New Orleans
by: Michael Kabel
New Orleans, the most European of American cities, makes the perfect choice for a getaway heavy on romance and seasoned with mystery and adventure. Whether you're planning a visit to the city for your honeymoon or just for an enticing vacation, the Crescent City offers no end of fascinating opportunities.
The ways and means to New Orleans
New Orleans continues to recover and regroup in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, with many parts of the city having made a full return to pre-K vibrancy. Recent surveys show the state's population is growing again, having passed the census mark from before Katrina hit in late August 2005.
In fact, many parts of the city have made an almost-complete recovery. The more famous areas, including the historic French Quarter and Uptown neighborhoods, are as hale and hearty as ever. Traveling to New Orleans is safe and easy, thanks to the rebuilt interstate system and a variety of airports in the region.
If you're planning to stay overnight, consider a bed and breakfast or inn inside the French Quarter or staying in one of the luxury hotels along Canal or Poydras Streets. These hotels are just minutes away from local landmarks such as St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, and the Mississippi Riverfront.
For travelers on a budget, hotel prices in neighboring Jefferson Parish are often much more affordable. Look for great hotel deals in the suburb of Metairie and plan to stay at the convenient hotels located along Veterans and Causeway Boulevards. They're just fifteen minutes by interstate from downtown.
Go off the beaten path for the best dining.
Like almost everywhere else on Earth, finding the most authentic cuisine depends on looking past the big, tourist-focused places and finding the real heart of the city's dining. There's an old saying to "eat where the locals eat." This is nowhere more true than in New Orleans.
Look to the Mid-City area for dining rooms and neighborhood cafes that have been around for decades and for restaurants that have just opened up. Carrolton Avenue between City Park and the Riverbend provides lots of quaint, romantic dining opportunities while offering a glimpse of some of the city's most historic mansions and homes.
Where to go during the day
New Orleans also has tourist attractions to appeal to the whole family. The Aquarium of the Americas is among the best indoor aquariums in the country. Just a short walk away, the National D-Day Museum offers a thorough retrospective of a pivotal moment in world history. The Children's Museum is great for the kids, and Uptown's Audubon (pronounced Aud-uh-bun) Zoo is internationally famous for its size and diversity of exhibits.
How To Pass For a Local
Many visitors to New Orleans are shocked to discover how friendly and outgoing the city's residents really are. However, don't get on their bad side by making false cultural generalizations. Here's five things to avoid when dealing with real New Orleaneans.
1. Don't refer to the city as "The Big Easy." Most people think the movie was silly, and Dennis Quaid's faux-Cajun accent actually belongs to the city's rural environs.
2. Don't try to speak French. Locals don't in their everyday life, and assuming that they do is condescending.
3. Don't look like a tourist – leave the fanny packs and white knee socks behind. Dress cool and casual. You'll want to wear closed-toed shoes in the French Quarter's dirty streets.
4. Don't wear Mardi Gras beads unless you're there for Mardi Gras.
5. Finally, be polite – the city puts a real emphasis on courtesy. Just saying "please" and "thank you" goes a long way.