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The center of all cultural activities, the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans was built around the main square of what was then known as the Vieux Carré, after the city's founding in 1718. However, most of the area's buildings come from the early 19th Century, when the city was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Although originally settled by French Creoles, by the early 20th Century they were mostly gone from the French Quarter, and bohemian culture began to boom in the area. Architectural delights like Jackson Square and its Saint Louis Cathedral are highlights of the neighborhood. The French Quarter's single most famous landmark, Bourbon Street, is a nightlife mainstay, being the main drag of Mardi Gras celebrations. Replete with rich architectural history and cultural implications, the French Quarter truly encapsulates New Orleans' vibrant spirit.
Originally known as Rue Bourbon, New Orleans' infamous Bourbon Street runs the length of the city's French Quarter, although it is the eight-block stretch of "Upper Bourbon Street," lined with bars and clubs of every genre, that is known for its lively nightlife scene. Initially a sought after residential neighborhood, shifting borders and demographics saw Bourbon Street succumb to the same vices the city had come to be known for, becoming famous for its restaurants, nightclubs and other risque establishments. Today, this street is best known for its involvement in the Big Easy's greatest festival, Mardi Gras, and its love affair with live jazz and blues. Each night, revelers throng the street with drinks in hand, their smiling faces lit by the multi-colored glow of neon lights. By day, the avenue's quaint architectural heritage comes to the fore, with time-honored eateries doling out traditional po'boys, beignets and other quintessentially, local eats.
If the name "New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum" does not spook you, look inside and mind your step. The museum features are walking tours featuring voodoo artifacts and sacred objects related to the dark art realm. Get your facts right here about this mystical dark arts and learn everything you wanted to know about this spiritual practice and its history in the Crescent City. The museum also offers guided tours of the St. Louis cemetery and other local tourist attractions.
Louisiana Children's Museum offers a toddler area and children's drama, dance, and puppet shows. There are also art and science exhibits, as well as hands-on math and physics exhibits, and a reproduction of a television studio. Many of the exhibits are geared toward learning through doing. This style of learning makes it fun for both parents and kids alike. This is a great rainy day field trip and a good place for anyone trying to get away from the "adult" aspects of the city.
Louis Armstrong Park, made of grassy knolls and lagoons, is named after world-famous musician and native son, Louis Armstrong. His statue, by Elizabeth Cartlett, is near the brightly lit entrance on the outer boundary of the French Quarter. Ironically, Armstrong was not allowed to play in the now well-known clubs during his career. Other landmarks including Congo Square and the Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium surround the park.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park provides an ideal platform for all to experience and share the cultural history of jazz in New Orleans. The park aims to educate visitors through its database of information, on the origin and development of jazz in America. A hallmark feature of this site is the Perseverance Hall. The park hosts special jazz events several times a year, and the seasonal concerts for Christmas are extremely popular.