New Orleans Things to Do Tips by grandmaR Top 5 Page for this destination
New Orleans Things to Do: 1,056 reviews and 1,722 photos
Boarding for the Battlefield Tour on a paddlewheel boat called the Creole Queen started at 1:30. There was no food or drink allowed on the boat (except what they sell on board). The tour was $20 each. They insisted on taking our pictures as we boarded and afterwards it was suggested that was in case there was an accident so they could ID the bodies. Probably though it was just another thing that they could sell to us.
The Creole Queen is run by a diesel engine - the Natchez is run by a steam engine, but we didn't take that one. The captain told us about the things on the waterfront as we passed, and we could also have had lunch on board for another $7 each. Then we got to the Battle of New Orleans site. We were a little early because we had the current/tide with us.
This tour is fairly cheap because the main talk is given by the park ranger and he gives it for free to anyone who happens to be there at 2:45.
The boat blew the whistle that we had to be back aboard at 3:15 (he actually started whistling at 3:14) to leave at 3:20 because we'd be battling the current. We saw a tug and barge going through the bascule bridge (like the Gilmerton RR bridge in Norfolk) to the locks, and the captain told us about the Chinese grain ship that ran into the Riverwalk shopping mall.
We got back a little before 4:30.
Address: Canal Street Dock/Aquarium Dock
Directions: End of Canal St. in Downtown area, at French Quarter entrance
Audubon Park from the St. Charles streetcar
Katrina Update: Audubon Nature Institute reopened its historic, premier public golf course on Saturday, November 5, 2005. The course will be open for play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until March 2006, when it will be open seven days a week. Audubon Golf Course is the only public golf course to reopen in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Please note that the Audubon Golf Clubhouse remains closed and currently is in use by the New Orleans Fire Department as a temporary fire station.
There is more than just the zoo to Audubon Park.
This park is privately owned - it is not a national, state or city park. The entrance on St. Charles Avenue designed by John Charles Olmsted was built by the Audubon Commission over three quarters of a century ago. In 1884 this park was the site of the World’s Fair including a building covering 30 acres. That building dominated the park until it was destroyed by a hurricane.
The Audubon Park Golf Course opened in 1898 and the renovated Audubon Park Golf Course opened in Fall, 2002. It earned the accolades of Golf Digest Magazine as the highest rated golf course over a hundred years old in the country.
There is also a lagoon (which in those days was used for swimming and then for paddle boats), a roadway which is now a jogging track, and trees including over 1000 live oak trees. A carousel, two playgrounds near St. Charles Ave, the Audubon Tea Room, the Newman Bandstand have all been aspects of the front of Audubon Park. Another playground is in the Master Plan and there are picnic areas and places for informal recreation..
In addition to tennis courts and ballfields, the City of New Orleans built the Whitney Young Pool in 1998 in the area where the original Audubon Natatorium existed. The Audubon Commission completed the demolition of the old stable structures and the area is now cleared and graded, ready for the new stables to be constructed by Friends of the Stables in Audubon Park.
Address: 6500 block of Magazine St.
Phone: Tee times, (504) 329-2379
Shotgun camelback house from the tour bus
Our guide explained typical architecture, like the Shotgun House - one room wide, with all the rooms are in a straight line from front to back. Theoretically if you fired a shotgun into the front door it would go straight through and out the back door. But practically speaking the doors of the rooms may not line up.
The Architectural Patrimony site says:
The rooms of a shotgun house are usually of a good size, approximately 14 feet square and have high ceilings. They usually have some decoration such as moldings, ceiling medallions, and elaborate woodwork.a wooden frame structure, with drop siding on the front and lap siding on the sides and back. Decoration includes fancy brackets supporting the overhang, quoins at each corner and segmented arch shutters covering the door and window openings... built on a solid brick foundation wall in the front covered in plaster with two cast iron vents. Brick piers along each side support the rest of the house... The fireplaces down the center of a double house provide support as well. The shotgun is typically raised 2 1/2 to 3 feet above ground level in deference to the New Orleans climate. Black slate typically covers the roof...
Shotgun houses were built from after the Civil War through through the 1920's.
The Camelback House has a second floor in the back of the house only. It has a very similar plan (the house is one room wide), except for the addition of stairs to the second floor. The "hump" can contain from one to four rooms.
My other pictures of the camelback houses that were taken from my side of the bus instead of across the aisle are better. But this is a more interesting house, with the shingle and porch details.
In addition to two more pictures with details from the tour bus I have another photo of camelback houses from the levee in the Historic Algiers Point travelogue. and a couple of other pictures here of shotgun houses in Algiers.
Address: South Central New Orleans.
When we visited New Orleans in 1950, we had not yet been to Europe. My dad was fascinated by all the wrought iron balcony railings.
In 1718, the French Quarter started out as French, but then in 1762 the indifferent Louis XV transferred Louisiana to his Bourbon cousin Charles III of Spain. Spanish rule lasted for four decades, so actually the French Quarter has been Spanish almost as long as it was French.
The layout of the quarter is French (Vieux Carré translates to "old square."), but since the city was burned down in 1788, and much of it again in 1794, the Spanish gave us the famous architecture including the common-wall plastered brick houses, walled courtyards and graceful wrought iron balconies, hinges and locks in curvilinear shapes.
Harrahs from streetcar stop
Katrina Notice - Harrah's in New Orleans is closed until further notice.
We first came in contact with Harrah's in 1964 in Reno NV. I tried to play keno, but I soon discovered that the numbers that I picked never came up. So in order to win, I'd pick the numbers, and then Bob would play other numbers that I didn't pick.
But before that, when we were in Colorado in 1948, my mom let me play one of the silver dollar slots. I hit the jackpot. My mom was very unhappy about that because my grandfather (her dad) was a gambler. She didn't want to let me get the gambling bug. So she made me play that slot machine until I lost all the money that I had won.
So I don't really 'do' gambling. I did say gambling, but in Louisiana, it is called gaming because there are laws against gambling.
Louisiana has 3 Indian (Native American) run casinos in various parts of the state, and some riverboat gaming. But the only land based non-Indian casino in the state is this one of Harrahs.
We were standing nearby waiting for the take the Vieux
Carre loop bus, but we waited 45 minutes in the cold and it never came. Apparently there is only one bus.
I considered going in to Harrah's to eat (they have a restaurant in there in addition to the gaming stuff), but in the end decided against it.
Address: 512 S. Peters Street
River from Creole Queen
The Mississippi is the raison d'etre of real life in New Orleans. My opinion is that a visitor ought to get out on the river at least once during their trip.
The four main ways to do this are:
a) Take the free passenger ferry across to Algiers
b) Take a journey down the Mississippi River aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen to the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.
c) Take the one Hour Harbor Cruise
d) Do the Dinner Jazz Cruise
We did both a and b.
The journey down to Chalmette where the Battle of New Orleans was fought was cheaper than a lot of the other excursions that we went on, and we found the narrative about what was on the shore (like the lock) and the boating information kept our attention. Some people will not find that as interesting.
The ferry ride is free, but you have to supply your own narrative.
Address: Canal Street Dock/Aquarium Dock
Directions: End of Canal St. in Downtown area, at French Quarter entrance
IMAX and Aquarium from Mississippi
It was extremely cold, and we did not have the clothing for it, so we got the streetcar down to the water front and went to the Aquarium. We got to the aquarium about 11 and Bob is thinking about lunch, but I've just had breakfast.
So we bought a combination ticket, and go to the IMAX first and see a movie about dolphins. Bob says it is a very expensive movie - it's $6 each and takes about 40 minutes. It was mostly about wild dolphins. They talked about the dolphins relationship with humans, including a guy who visits with a wild dolphin every day in the Bahamas. They didn't emphasize the abuses that dolphins are subjected to in the dolphin swim places as much as I thought they might have done.
I've been to several IMAX shows in different places. Generally, I think the IMAX is kind of a waste of money unless you want to sit down somewhere inside. I also think the shows are not appropriate (in length or content) for pre-school children.
After we finished with the IMAX we entered the Aquarium proper and had lunch there.
IMAX® features are shown 7 days a week except on Mardi Gras day and Christmas day.
Hours: First showing daily 10:00 a.m. Showtimes may vary. Currently the four movies showing (Into the Deep, Wild Safari, Sharks and and Ocean Wonderland) are all in 3D
Ticket Prices: Members get $2 OFF IMAX tickets and go FREE to their facilities
............. IMAX® only..... Aquarium + IMAX® .....Aquarium + IMAX + Zoo
Adult:............. $8................. $20.................................. $28
Child (2-12):... $5................. $12.................................. $18
Senior (65+):... $7................. $17................................. $24
You can get a discounted parking ticket from several nearby lots, but the streetcar is very convenient
Address: 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Directions: Via Interstate 10 West, exit at Canal/Superdome (exit 235B), turning right onto Canal.
The Aquarium/IMAX® is located at the foot of Canal Street at the Mississippi River.
Other Contact: 504-581-IMAX
Phone: 1-800- 774-7394
Beads and more
I would have thought that this might have been an actual flea market type of things where one might buy antiques or other funky used items. It is billed as an
open-air shoppers' paradise in the French Market's Community Flea Market. Handmade clothing as well as fine silver and jewelry can be found in this eclectic setting open 7 days a week
But what it really is IMHO is nothing but institutionalized souvenier stands. It is interesting to see once, but I didn't buy anything here, except Pralines from the Farmer's Market in the next block.
Post Katrina: The French Market is open for business!
To date, Café du Monde, Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines, What’s new, Head to Toe, Bijouterie Gift Shop, The Little Toy Shop, All that Jazz, and Café Gumbolaya restaurant, are all open and more will be ready in the next few weeks.
The Flea Market is seeing the return of more vendors each week.
Address: 1200 block of N. Peters
Aquarium Website NOTE: -reopened May 26 after an 8-month shutdown forced by.. Katrina Visit old favorites, "including our beloved penguins and sea otters Buck and Emma. They flew home from CA on May 22 courtesy of FedEx. We are open but we still desperately need your support. Help us Bring Back Our Fish"
On December 14th, it was so cold that we had to go indoors to the Aquarium. There was a large metal sculpture at the entrance with water running down it - I'm sure it was meant to represent fish scales, but it looked more like breasts to me because there was a kind of round bolt type thing at the bottom of each one. We went through the Caribbean sea kind of tunnel to get to the elevator rather than walk up the stairs.
On the upper level in the penguin exhibit (pictured), I saw a penguin repeatedly try to swim out the side of the tank. He just kept butting his head into the glass. The penguins were one of the few animals which survived the hurricane.
There was a place you could touch a shark skin (live nurse shark), sea otters, and a pacific coast area. There was also a Mississippi delta area with their famous white alligator (not an albino - cream colored with blue eyes). He survived Katrina as did the tarpon. More pictures are in the travelogue
The Amazon Rainforest area was hot here and they had a lot of steam/mist machines making it very humid and I don't know why because the only birds I saw were a seagull, a great horned owl, and a couple of macaws - two scarlet macaws and some blue ones.
Sept. 11, 2006 to Feb. 28, 2007
Wednesday through Sunday
(closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Regular admission rates apply.
Aquarium only Aquarium + IMAX®
Adult: $16 $20
Child (2-12): $9 $12
Senior (65+): $13 $17
It was too cold to even consider the combination tickets with the zoo.
Address: #1 Canal Street
Directions: Canal Street at the River
Phone: information: 1-800-774-7394
Sign on the waterfront
This park surrounds the aquarium. It was named for Malcolm Woldenberg and his bronze statue is one exhibit in what has grown into an informal sculpture garden. The park is a nice place to stroll or jog along the river in nice weather. It was way to cold when we were there to do that.
It is open Mon-Thu 6am-10pm; Fri-Sun 6am-11pm
Address: 1 Canal Street
Directions: The park is behind the shops at Jax Brewery, next to the Riverwalk Marketplace.
Phone: (504) 565-3033
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