New Orleans

The Big Easy is a nickname from the dawn of jazz. Jazz musicians at the turn of the century were fond of nicknames and a dance hall by that name existed in the early 1900's, according to jazz historians, but the location is uncertain. There have been many story variations on the Big Easy it's just like anything else in New Orleans; it just is.

The Big Easy is New Orleans with our gentle and relaxed pace of life for which New Orleans is best known. New Orleans encompasses 4,190 square miles or 10, 850 square kilometers and is approximately 90 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River. Step back in time and take a stroll in the French Quarter, Jackson Square, visit the plantations, or take a swamp tour. The architecture and ambiance of New Orleans is unsurpassed.

Before you even leave home, pack an umbrella, comfortable shoes, and a camera. Even here in one of the sunniest cities in the country, we get the occasional afternoon shower; this is one of the walking-est towns around; and the need for a camera will be immediately apparent when you arrive.

To get an overview of the city, start by taking a round-trip sightseeing tour on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar. It's a great way to get a feel for the Garden District, Uptown, and the University areas of town, and you'll be aboard a movable historic landmark. It's the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world!

Of course, you'll also want to brush up on New Orleansese. For example, in the local lingo we catch the streetcar on the "neutral ground" (elsewhere called a median). And "dressed" - when ordering a sandwich - does not mean formal attire, it means your sandwich comes with "the works". And, in the Crescent City, we're very big on "lagniappe" (pronounced lan-yap) which means "a little something extra."

From the Neew Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau


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