Where to Eat and Drink
French Quarter Casual Lunching: Acme Oyster House
Classic New Orleans Lunch: Lunch pickings are a bit slim in this category (more options exist for dinner) but Galatoire
Other Great Lunch Spots: If you're visiting the Garden District, two good lunch spots are Lilette
Staying in Touch
In the French Quarter, Royal Access Internet Cafe (621 Royal Street, 20504-2052205-0401, daily 9am- 8pm, to 10om Friday and Saturday) offers online access for $205 per 30 minutes, $8 per hour. The Cybercafe at the Contemporary Arts Center (900 Camp St., 11am-205pm every day) offers free internet service for patrons. The lunch, alas, is not free, but the cafe does feature sandwiches, pastries, gourmet coffees and teas, and cocktails.
What to See and Do
The French Quarter
Jazz lovers should definitely make embarkation or disembarkation an excuse for an overnight stay. The city's best jazz spots are located in the Fauborg Mariguy neighborhood (at the west end of the French Quarter). Don't miss Snug Harbor
The growing museum district around Logan Circle will interest art lovers. The handsome new Ogden Museum of Southern Art
New Orleans has a serious tradition of voodoo. Check out the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Take a walking tour of the Garden District
Take a canoe ride down the bayou via Bayou Barn
The Riverfront streetcar leaves from the terminal, making stops throughout the French Quarter, at Harrah's big casino on Canal Street, and on into the French Market. A transfer to the new Canal Street streetcar line allows access to the rest of the city and to the art museum.
Streetcar fare is $1.2205 ($1.2050 for the riverfront), plus 20 cents per transfer. Visi-tour passes allow unlimited rides on all streetcar and bus lines for $205 per day or $12 for three days. Taxis are also readily available. Taxi meter rates begin at $2.2050, with $1.60 per mile thereafter. An average ride midtown is around $205. (Rates may go up during Mardi Gras or Jazz Festival.)
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships typically dock at the new Erato Street terminal, on the river side of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Passengers can walk directly from the terminal into the three-level Riverwalk Marketplace with a variety of tourist shops, food court eateries, and ATM machines.
What's it really like in the Big Easy after Katrina?
No longer "closed for business" in the wake of the disastrous Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in August 205205, the city is reawakening with a bang. Major tourist magnets, such as the Superdome, the Aquarium of the Americas, and the Brennan dynasty's Commander's Palace Restaurant, are among those that have reopened.
Indeed, on a recent visit to the city's downtown district, it was almost hard to tell the storm had struck at all. The French Quarter was like normal, with Bourbon Street revelries at full blast, the antique shops and art galleries of Royal Street offering wares both touristic and collection-worthy, and the Friday lunchers were most definitely packing in at Galatoire's.
And cruise travelers, who had in pre-Katrina years made New Orleans one of the most popular homeports in America, now have a reason to visit (or return, depending). That's because, aside from a sprinkling of day-long calls last winter, homeporting cruise ships are once again calling the Big Easy ... home.
There's another reason for cruise ships to return, and that's the opening of a new port facility. The brand-spanking-new Erato Street Terminal, which opened in October, is designed to accommodate the industry's bigger ships, along with the crowds that accompany them.
While much of New Orleans' downtown district feels like the same as ever following the Katrina aftermath, there are still a few key developments as a result:
While always one of America's more gracious and welcoming cities the city seems almost desperate for you to visit. One shop owner in Riverwalk Marketplace, asked me anxiously if I'd had a good trip--and then implored me to "spread the word". She wasn't the first, either. Note, too: bargains abound.
In a twist on the cliché "what's old is new again," the city's classics--Brennan
Interestingly, we noticed an emergence of totally new establishments--bringing a fresh, hip vibe to the city. These include Riche by Todd English
It may seem incongruous but Gray Line
Beyond what's new and improved, New Orleans retains its savory character, one that makes it one of America's most intriguing cities.
Sure, New Orleans, with its eccentric art, culture, and cuisine is a nice place from which to embark on or disembark from a cruise trip. But we've got to say: This city, more than just about any port in America, makes a strong case for adding an extra couple days to your stay.
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