Portfolio: Sample from T+E Magazine: New Orleans Issue (Feb. 2014)

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  • 1. New Orleans’ Tourism Comeback THE BIG EASY’S BACK WITH A BANG
  • 2. New Orleans Year-Round If you’ve been to New Orleans before, it’s safe to assume you haven’t been anywhere else like it before or since. The Louisiana city is bursting with strange and wonderful energy — a place where people dance, sing, drink and parade in the streets, where jazz and funerals go hand-in-hand, where voodoo’s influence lurks, and where businesses close up early on Saints game days. Where else in America can you slurp a daiquiri from a fishbowl in the middle of the street and, on any night of the week, get interrupted by the blaring horns of a brass band and strolling parade, twirling umbrellas and waving white handkerchiefs? With so much creativity, it’s not hard to see why New Orleans is credited with having invented some of the world’s best forms of entertainment, including jazz music and the cocktail. It is a city built by a range of cultures, including Native American, Creole, Cajun, African, Caribbean, French, Spanish and Irish. All have had a hand in creating the distinct “NOLA” vibe, and their footprints are evident in the streets, the businesses, the dialect (where y’at?), and the architecture: like the colourful “shotgun” style Creole cottages (small rectangular homes with no hallways and rooms arranged one in front of the other), the wrought-iron balconies and courtyards in the French Quarter, and even the huge white pillars of the Garden District’s American mansions. And the cultural influences are definitely apparent in the cuisine. New Orleans is famous for whipping up incredible (and often spicy) foods, from fried oyster po’ boys and muffuletta sandwiches, to jambalaya, seafood gumbo and crawfish étouffée, and the sweet beignet pastries found in the French Quarter. Whether you’re coming here for food, parties, music or business, you’re bound to meet people who share a similar story — and tale of caution: when you come to New Orleans, you might just fall under its spell and never leave. Image © Shutterstock.com/Scott A. Burns
  • 3. The Crescent City’s Comeback While many around town claim to have come to New Orleans and stayed, the city has worked hard over the past decade to bring visitors back. Devastation from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 paralyzed much of the city’s tourism industry and resulted in a 64 percent drop in tourism numbers between 2004 and 2006. To this day, there are still hotels and establishments in the process of reopening. But in the past couple of years, the industry has finally seen its pre-Katrina numbers creep back. In 2012, New Orleans officially celebrated a tourism comeback, with the highest numbers since 2005, comparable to pre- Katrina days. According to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), 9.01 million people came to the city. Although 2013 statistics won’t be released until March, the city drew more than 5 million visitors during the first six months, and the CVB expects the year’s total numbers to meet or exceed those of 2012. People are officially travelling back to the Big Easy or coming for the first time, and enjoying the city beyond Mardi Gras; diving into arts and culture, a thriving film and tech scene, fine dining and fancy cocktails. MORE THINGS TO DO IN NEW ORLEANS
  • 4. Vieux Carre While visitors are exploring more of the city, the quaint French Quarter remains the major tourist hub. The city can be hard to navigate (it follows the curving Mississippi River) but the French Quarter is laid out like a grid (six blocks by 13 blocks) below busy Canal Street, the widest street in the United States. There are plenty of souvenir shops and storefronts where you can purchase tickets for ghost walks, alligator swamp tours and more. For a casual outing, check out Jackson Square and walk through the manicured grounds, or over to the boardwalk where you can watch cruise ships coast by. Or peruse the outdoor French Market, brimming with arts, crafts and culinary goodies (and where locals warn to never pay full price) and take a spin on the old Steamboat Natchez riverboat with its charming calliope (steam organ) that can be heard throughout the market. There are loads of boutique shops, galleries and quaint courtyard cafés along streets like Royal and Chartres, but it may forever be famous for housing one of the country’s rowdiest streets: Bourbon. The booze-named street is the kind of place where your inner frat boy just comes pouring out. It’s a street where people come with the goal of getting into trouble and generally succeed. No matter how sophisticated you think you are, it means nothing on Bourbon Street.
  • 5. N E X T Beyond Bourbon St. Table of Contents Businessmen are in bars doing body shots alongside college kids. Conservative-looking senior citizens are getting their photos snapped with nude twenty-somethings, and countless groups of bachelor and bachelorette parties are on the prowl for cheap shots, cheesy blues bands, gaudy strip clubs and fishbowls full of “Hurricanes,” a potent fluorescent slush drink (that isn’t too kind the morning after). It’s a mess of stringed-lights, flashing X-rated shot glass necklaces, and flung Mardi Gras beads thrown from balconies (often rented by corporate parties or groups of friends). While public nudity isn’t legal here, tourists are known to bare their breasts, though it’s not uncommon to leave without seeing any (though if you want a guarantee, you can often find locals set up on the curb, posing bare-breasted for cash). You’ll find a wild time here any night of the week, but weekends are when the parties really rage. There’s no official “last call” and the French Quarter allows the consumption of alcohol in the streets (as long as it’s in an unbreakable container). Most bars will serve drinks in plastic “go-cups” so you can wander the streets. But like all major tourist zones, petty crime is not uncommon and as contagious as the party-hard vibe is, be aware and keep it under control enough to keep your guard up. The French Quarter is known for pickpockets and you can sometimes even spot them scanning the crowds. GOOD N’AWLINS COOKING