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The French Quarter – In American Dollars

February 21, 2012

New Orleans – The Place to Be

Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, has a third name we sometimes neglect, Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras means greasy Tuesday in French. An appropriate name for the consumption of such a fatty food.  But Mardi Gras is also a hugely celebrated festival in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Although I have never attended the festival myself, it is an array of parades, beads, music and nudity! But even without this festival, I have seen the city. And I would like to impart knowledge to all the readers out there who wish to see the world, and just a glimpse of the smaller, lesser known places, and their possibilities.

New Orleans was placed on the map for a younger generation when it was the setting for Disney’s animated film, The Princess and the Frog. The film shows every traditional aspect that this magical, Southern city has to offer. Including the most beautiful food I have ever tasted, beignets.

The first thing you have to prepare for is the humidity during the summer. I would take one step out of the air conditioning and my hair would puff up like an Afro on steroids.

Transportation around the city is an experience in itself. For just a couple of dollars you can catch the trolley cars. Each of which looks and feels just as traditional as the place in which they are situated.

Being so close to the sea, another mode of transport is the steamboat. Timeless musicals such as Show Boat, with the unforgettable song Ol’ Man River, play tribute to the steamboats and Southern America in its early days of mixed races and catchy music.

The streets of the French Quarter are filled with brass instruments and the buskers that play them. Music shops plague the retail industry along with Tabasco sauce shops and their countless amount of Gumbo recipes.

Gumbo, along with beignets, are the two foods that are a must-try in New Orleans. Gumbo is a spicy soup that usually contains fish and beignets are deep fried doughnuts covered in icing sugar that, although very sweet, make a delicious breakfast. Café de Monde is the home of the beignet and definitely the place to go if you’re only after the best.

Although possibly not a first choice for a holiday, it is definitely worth a visit if you are willing to venture so far down South. It is not only a city of delicious food and rhythmic music, but it still has a bold culture that makes it such a fascinating place to be.

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