Good Times in The Big Easy: New Orleans Revisited

Travel in New Orleans, A View of the French Quarter
Early morning in the French Quarter, a National Landmark in New Orleans. Photo by Paul Broussard.

Every destination has its quirks, traditions, and ways of life. At times, though, many cities feel alike – they have the same stores, the same restaurants, the same kinds of shopping.

One American city, though, marches proudly to the beat of its own drum – New Orleans. At times, New Orleans even seems like the odd uncle in its home state of Louisiana, but that doesn’t seem to bother those who call the city home. New Orleans wears its eclectic style with pride.

Travel in New Orleans

Home to some 350,000 residents, the city’s roots are decidedly French, which can still be seen in the French Quarter, a National Landmark. Founded in 1718, French culture was the norm until 1762, when Louis XV gave Louisiana to his Spanish cousin, King Charles III. Although the Spanish only ruled until 1801 before the city was returned to the French, they also left their mark on the city.

Napoleon eventually sold the region to the United States in 1803. Later immigrants from the Caribbean, Italy, Sicily, and many other countries added their own influences. The result is a city like no other.

The French Quarter in New Orleans is a National Landmark. Photo by Paul Broussard
The French Quarter in New Orleans. Photo by Paul Broussard

Somewhere along the way, New Orleans developed a “Laissez les bons temps rouler” philosophy (let the good times roll) that still permeates its culture today. There’s an elevated appreciation for the good life — good music, good food and good friends.

NOLA, as she is often called, is famous for its French-inspired Cajun and Creole cuisine, its abundance of talented musicians and an appreciation for the temptations of life. Perhaps that’s why it’s sometimes called The Big Easy.

It’s this incredible wealth of world-class cuisine and good music that draws so many travelers to New Orleans – including me. I’m here with three friends – a girlfriend’s getaway, so to speak – and I’m eager to see the city again.

New Orleans is looking better than ever. Photo by New Orleans CVB
New Orleans is looking better than ever. Photo by New Orleans CVB

But on this visit, I see that it has. In fact, it looks even better. Busy restaurants and new hotels serve an increasing number of travelers. Colorful fresh paint adorns homes and beautifully restored historic buildings. The city’s economy is growing, fueled in part by young start-ups and entrepreneurs.

New Orleans, it seems to me, has donned her fine clothing, and walks tall once again.

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Janna Graber

Senior editor Janna Graber has been covering travel for more than a decade. She has traveled to 38 countries -- and counting.
Janna Graber
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