Living with the locals in New Orleans

Bourbon Street is a non-stop party with a delta blues soundtrack. Butthere are lessons you must learn and things you must see in thisculturally sensitive community.

Bourbon Street is a non-stop party with a delta blues soundtrack. But there are lessons you must learn and things you must see in this culturally sensitive community.

See: The parades
Parade “Krewes” across the city fight to outdo each other with the biggest, loudest, most flamboyant floats and bands. Grab a beer and chair by the roadside and let Louisiana come to you.

Hear: Bar Blues
The best bar music in the U.S. Every bar along Bourbon street will have authentic, and usually superb, blues or jazz musicians. However, if you hear Sweet Home Alabama, run for your life.

Eat: Gumbo
The fabulous Gumbo Creole at Antoine’s in Rue Saint Louis. Perfectly prepared blue crabs, oysters, and gulf shrimp, in traditional restaurant which opened in 1840.

Drink: Handgrenade
A terrifying concoction of alcohol usually made to a “secret” house recipe. Without wishing to detract from the mystique, it’s basically about half a litre of rum served in a container which looks like a battlefield assault weapon.

Wear: Beads
De rigeur. The place is awash with millions of strings of cheap plastic beads which are thrown from the parade floats, and hung around thousands of necks. Strangely, women will bear their breasts for them.

Do: Relax
No-one ever got frowned on in Bourbon Street for ordering that extra shot of bourbon as a John Lee Hooker lookalike bangs out a tight version of Boogie Chillen.

Don’t: Disaster sightsee
Although the city is back to normal, many of the outlying wards are still rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Locals are not keen on being a tourist attraction.

Say: Ma’am’ and Sir
Courtesy is a big deal here. Neglecting this rule is apt to be interpreted as arrogance or insolence or just plain bad upbringing.

Don’t say: ‘The Big Easy’
In the same way no one in NYC calls the city “The Big Apple” no-one, but no-one, in New Orleans calls it the Big Easy.

 
 
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