New Orleans at a glance

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On of my favorite US cities to visit anytime of the year is New Orleans, Louisiana.  Best known for having the most loyal football fans and home to the most delicious Cajun cuisines ever prepared, I sought off to explore more of what this place has to offer.   Many high ticketed events take place in New Orleans such as the Mardi Gras, the Essence Music festival, the Superbowl, a host of marathons and the list can go, but even without attending those events, you can still make the most of your visit here

Most hotels offer brochures for Swamp Tours for the brave heart explorers and I would recommend taking a drift along the Bayou just once. The drive to the site is just 30 minutes out the city and the tour is about an hour.  It took fifteen minutes to reach the middle of the swamp on a turbo speed boat and less than five before the alligators began poking their eyes above the water lines. We were told by our guides that we were visiting the friendliest batch of alligators in the batch, of course its part of the pitch and to my surprise many spectators on the boat wanted to reach down and pat one on the head. On this one I will pass! Holding the new baby gator being prepared for the wild was as far as was willing to ventured.

Strolling through the French Quarters is common for the new city tourist and just off the paths nearby you will discover  a number of Voodoo and Occult shops, selling everything form oils, to candles, dolls and Tarot Reading Spiritual Leaders.  On a whim, I wanted to have my palm read( for fun of course)  and learned that most shops were full and being adding to a waitlist was the norm. In some cases, it seems that this ritual has become very commercialized, but after speaking with some of the locals the “VooDoo Culture” is very real in New Orleans. So real in fact there is a museum, spiritual tours and rituals all created to foster and maintain their lifestyle and spiritual movement.

Since traveling and dining go hand in hand, I love to ask about the best local spots to check out. While sampling  jambalaya and dirty rice is so traditional and popular amongst tourists, I decided to try something different and send my tastes bud bustling.

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Oysters Slessinger and Homemade Crab Cakes at Katies’s Restaurant.
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The famous Chargrilled Oysters at Neyow’s Cafe.

The final stretch of my foodie excursion is the to the Cafe Du Monde French Market Coffee Stand for a freshly prepared warm Benyas.  A square piece of dough, fried and covered in powered sugar and serve with a small cup French Java.

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I got my Benyas!

Unlike the traditional tourist, I go searching for the local talents in many artistic forms and New Orleans never disappoint. While in the past few weeks there has been reports of robbery and attacks on tourists, a level of caution must be taken when wandering in unfamiliar tourist spots. While it’s a fact that many urban cities are being gentrified, this city managed to protect and market their local artists in the “Back of the Yards” community near the French Quarters.

A visit to the Bayou state is a trip worth making.

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