Travel Postcard: 48 hours in New Orleans

Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:02am EST
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Hospitality is king in New Orleans whether the city is hosting major sports events, the annual Mardi Gras or thousands of visitors who have dropped in for a fun weekend.

Known as the Big Easy or the Crescent City, New Orleans, which straddles the Mississippi River, is famous for its French Creole cuisine, distinctive architecture, jazz music and unique blend of influences from the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors make the most of a short visit to Louisiana's largest city.


5 p.m. - The city is packed with hotels ranging from small B&Bs to luxury hotels. To get the most from a short visit stay downtown or in the French Quarter for easy access to many attractions. Click on "where to stay" on the website for a selection of hotels.

Absorb local culture at the 200-year-old Napoleon House bar with its aged walls and Napoleon-related lore. Relax in the main bar or courtyard with a Pimm's Cup or Bloody Mary. Try a plate of jambalaya or bowl of gumbo, or split a half-muffuletta sandwich with a friend. (500 Chartres St., 504-524-9752)

6 p.m. - Amble down the block to Jackson Square, where New Orleans took shape almost 300 years ago. Explore some of the city's oldest buildings, including St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo, which was once the seat of colonial government, and the historic Pontalba Apartments, the first of the Spanish apartments built in the city. Take a short walk across Decatur Street to the Moonwalk, a favorite spot to view ships and ferries plying the Mississippi River.

7 p.m. - Eat dinner at the Pelican Club, a lovely, hidden gem where sumptuous Creole and Cajun dishes reflect Italian, French and Asian influences. (615 Bienville, 504-523-1504)   Continued...

<p>A reveler catches a pair of beads as members of the Krewe of Thoth parade down St. Charles Avenue the weekend before Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans, Louisiana March 6, 2011.REUTERS/Sean Gardner</p>