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A Guide To New Orleans; From a Non-Native’s POV

New Orleans, Louisiana is a city that marches to its own unique beat. Overflowing with history, culture, and a rich tapestry of traditions, this lively city magnetically attracts visitors from every corner of the globe. As a student-turned-resident, my adventure in the Crescent City has been a whirlwind of tastes, melodies, and unforgettable moments that have etched their place in my heart. In this guide, I'll take you through the city through my eyes, and offer insights into navigating the captivating streets of New Orleans.

French Quarter Fun: Time-Traveling with a side of Street Jazz

Let's kick things off in the French Quarter, the heart and soul of NoLa. Founded way back in 1718, it's a living history book with a side of jazz. As you wander the streets, you'll feel like you've time-traveled to a world where Spanish, African, and Creole cultures throw a raucous party. Check out the charming Creole townhouses with their Instagram-worthy ironwork balconies. And don't even think about skipping Jackson Square – it's like an open-air art gallery – and the St. Louis Cathedral is basically the superstar of the show!

Culinary Capers and Jazz Jams: Flavor Explosions in Every Bite

New Orleans is a foodie's dream come true. It's like a never-ending culinary adventure. Whether you're chowing down on jambalaya or doing the beignet boogie at Café du Monde, one thing's for sure: the music is always on point. Jazz tunes fill the air everywhere you go, making every bite feel like a dance party for your taste buds. So, groove along with your gumbo and let the good times roll.

Mardi Gras Madness: The Party of a Lifetime

Picture this: it's late winter or early spring, and you find yourself in NoLa. Well, you're in luck because Mardi Gras is the ultimate party! Parades, costumes, and a crowd that's bursting with infectious energy – it's like stepping into a real-life carnival wonderland. Trust me; you'll leave with stories that you’ll never forget!

Bayou Bonanza: Gators, Turtles, and Swamps

For some wild adventures, head out to the bayous. Take an airboat tour through the swamps, and you'll come face to face with alligators, turtles, and some seriously cool bird species in their natural habitat. It's like a real-life episode of a nature documentary, and it's bound to get your heart racing!

Play by the Rules: Respect the Locals

Now, here's the deal – NoLa locals are super proud of their city and its rich heritage. So, be respectful, learn about the local customs and traditions, and don't be shy about striking up conversations with the friendly folks here. They're more than happy to share their love for the city, and who knows, you might just make a few lifelong friends.

To sum it up with a sprinkle of New Orleans flair, this city's unique blend of history, music, mouthwatering eats, and culture has cast a spell on me, and I hope this guide ignites your curiosity to dive headfirst into the enchanting world of the Big Easy. Get ready to create your very own unforgettable NoLa experiences, and don't forget to bring your dancing shoes!

-Carola Perez

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