Head down south to one of the USA’s most historic states, home to The Big Easy.
Louisiana is one of the most historic states in southern USA, with a mixture of French, African, American and French-Canadian cultures. One of its main cities, New Orleans, is known as ‘The Big Easy’ and there’s good reason for it. This laid-back hub has buzzing nightlife, popular Mardi Gras, some of the USA’s most famous coffee shops and a fascinating colonial past. While parts of the city are still recovering from the devastating Hurricane Katrina of 2005, tourist parts are back in full swing and it’s well worth a visit.
New Orleans & Louisiana holiday highlights
Head to New Orleans' oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter, for an unforgettable taste of the South. It’s filled with restaurants, bars and museums and has the popular Bourbon Street, an area known for its bars which extends 13 blocks and provides a rich insight into New Orleans' past. Nearby Downtown New Orleans has fantastic museums, the Arts District and the Old Warehouse District; uptown is perfect for shopping, dining and entertainment; and the Middle District has loads of historic attractions and places to eat. Magazine Street is ideal for browsing clothes, local art and jewellery.
Visit any time between early February and early March for the colourful festival of Mardi Gras. Explore historic landmarks on a visit to Jackson Square – an old park in the French Quarter where Louisiana was sold to the USA by France in 1803, now popular with musicians and street performers. From here you can admire the impressive St Louis Cathedral, one of the oldest in the USA. Visit the Audubon Nature institute or the New Orleans WWII museums. We recommend popping by Café du Monde – it’s one of the world’s most famous coffee shops, open 24/7 and known for café au lait and beignets, deep-fried choux pastries best enjoyed hot.
Pay a visit to Louisiana’s capital, Baton Rouge, for a brewery tour and to see Louisiana’s Old State Capitol. This historic gothic building is now a museum and is on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Head to River Road, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, to see magnificent antebellum plantation houses. You can also choose from 21 state parks in Louisiana including the lakefront Fontainebleau and enjoy live music from jazz and blues to country.