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  • The unseen side of New Orleans

    The Big Easy breathes and feeds of tourism, so day and night you’ll always find something to do or see in this city. The French Quarter, the Garden District, the Bayou and Lake Pontchartrain are usual tourist destinations, and if you want a taste of regular, marketable New Orleans, these are the things that you should go and see.

    However, New Orleans is a vibrant and diverse city, and there are always more things to do there than what is advertised in the travel brochures. What’s more, there are a lot of fun activities that you can do in New Orleans for free, you just have to learn where to look for them.

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    For example, On Frenchman Street there is a variety of clubs catering for all tastes, which don’t have an entrance fee. If you are on a budget, but you’d still like to have some fun, just pop into the club of your choice and dance the night away on the rhythms of jazz or the newest hits. If you are in the mood for some genuine local fun, just pop into one of the many watering holes in Bourbon Street where the you can learn the Cajun “two-step” – the locals will be more than happy to teach you.

    And while we’re on the subject of dance and music, when the weather is nice Jackson Square is chock full of street musicians, performers and painters. Café du Monde, probably the city’s most famous cafe, is just around the corner, with its delicious beignets (a specialty of New Orleans) and café au lait.

    If you have an inclination towards the macabre (or if you are simply curious to see some nice memorial architecture), visit one of the many old graveyards in New Orleans. St. Louis no. 1 is a favourite among locals and visitors alike, due to the graves of local celebrities such as Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen, the pirate Barthélemy Lafon or the serial killer Delphine LaLaurie. Voodoo is a prominent part of New Orleans culture, and there are scores of shops that sell “artifacts” and give readings.

    However, if your interest in voodoo leans towards the academic, you might be interested to visit the Historic Voodoo Museum, a small establishment that showcases virtually every important aspect of the city: jazz, voodoo, mysteries and folklore.

    There are many excellent restaurants in New Orleans where you can taste its famed cuisine, but if you want the authentic stuff, try a small dining joint in Canal St., for example. Some of them, like Mandina’s, have been around since the late 19th century, so they sure know how to serve a good gumbo. For a quick and cheap bite, try out one of the po-boy joints that populate the French Quarter and have a nice, hearty muffuletta sandwich, another mouth-watering New Orleans concoction.

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