In terms of music, there is no other place on our planet like New Orleans. One wouldn’t expect less from such a melting pot and unique culture blend.
Music as the vital part of the city is probably the first thing anyone would think of at the mention of New Orleans. And just like two inseparable concepts, music goes hand in hand with New Orleans and represents its most important trademark and the true soul of the city.
Not only is New Orleans the birthplace of jazz and a modern mecca for jazz lovers, but it is also the hometown of rhythm & blues, the early ancestors of modern rock and roll. The historical connection between New Orleans and Cuba has given birth to habanera. Back in the day, musicians from Havana and New Orleans used to take a ferry twice a day to meet and play together. The vivid mixture of Cuban, Afro-American and Creole styles has influenced the music as we know it nowadays. With such a rich background, the city is a year-round platform for all kinds of music festivals and events. You will be truly spoiled for choice!
If you’d like to see the place where jazz music came into being, take a tour around the Jazz National Historical Park or head to Fritzel’s beer hall on Bourbon street, allegedly the oldest jazz club in the city.
GQ magazine lists New Orleans as one of the smelliest cities in the world, however, in a good way. The magazine describes the smells of New Orleans as thick, bringing about the distinctive aroma of the Mississippi river, its mud and dead moss combined with a distant humid scent coming from old wooden houses. Mix in the scent of cooking and green grass and you can get an idea of New Orleans’ scents. Pretty particular, isn’t it?
Foodies are more than welcome in New Orleans! With the city being a vibrant melting pot of cultures and styles, it is only fair for its cuisine to be as rich, varied and traditional as itself. Over time, the food scene in New Orleans has expanded to include not only traditional Cajun and its high brow sibling, Creole cuisine, but also all ethnic cuisines you can imagine. Some foods may sound quirky, for example, turtle, mudbugs or alligator in various dishes are a frequent find on the menu, which reflects the swampy surroundings and the local character of the cuisine.
The most famous specialities of New Orleans include hearty Gumbo and spicy Jambalaya. Gumbo belongs to southern Louisiana staples and is made of a thick stew served with rice. With a rich and spicy Jambalaya, there are virtually no limits – it can include meat, seafood, all vegetables and spices served with rice. The secret is, of course, in spices. For a quick and uncomplicated lunch grab a po’boy, a sandwich with roast beef or seafood and gravy. The origin of the name is interesting – streetcar conductors went on strike in 1929 and two merciful café owners decided to feed them. They asked themselves, “What are we going to feed these poor boys”, with a neighbouring bakery to follow and include “poor boys” on their menu.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth with beignets, a distant cousin of our doughnuts, and a New Orleans’ staple. Combine them with chocolate milk in one of the city’s cafés and never regret it!
New Orleans is an endless story or rather a well-played musical. It will touch you in many ways with its warm hospitality and an array of colourful history seen in every corner of this vibrant city. It will be a trip to remember and enjoy with all senses!