The first thing that struck me most about New Orleans is the fact that it is completely different from anything I have seen in America, it is something else, a much more European city if you will. The signs of Spanish and French colonization are still evident, both in architecture and in the lifestyle of the people who live there. Here people are relaxed, they greet you with a smile, they gladly stop and talk to you everywhere, even if they don’t know you, and they are very proud of their roots and traditions. If East Coast America is all about “life in the fast lane”, deadlines and time to be optimized, the South is pure joie de vivre!
This spirit free from the “God of money” is perceived in the calm with which, for example, one eats or takes a coffee, sitting at the table for an indefinite time, or in the music that resounds in every corner of the city, but above all in the joviality and “madness” of people. Here you can really meet the most bizarre and strange people in the world, there are no modesty or taboos and everyone feels almost free to do exactly whatever is on their mind. It is that healthy madness that I love in people, at times perhaps excessive but always able to make you smile.
On the culinary front, the Creole cuisine of Louisiana is able to satisfy every palate, in its blend of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American cuisines with African influences. This potpourri of cultures comes to life in a variety of dishes that are a real treat. Two, in my opinion, the unmissable typical dishes: the Jambalaya and the Gumbo.
The must-sees are the French Quarter with its elegant houses with wrought iron balconies, the beautiful Faulkner House (now library), Jackson Square full of artists and musicians at any time of day and the famous and chaotic Bourbon Street with its thousand bars, clubs and always full of people like it was a permanent Carnival.
A final mention deserves a visit to the cotton plantations on the outskirts of New Orleans. The Oak Alley Plantation with its avenue of 28 centuries-old oaks (about 300 years old) that lead to the entrance of the large neoclassical style villa. The feeling you get here is a mixture of sadness and anger at the sight of the slave houses. Despite my questions about trafficking and the living conditions in which they lived, it must be said that the locals tended to gloss over the subject a bit.
If you want to see more images of my latest trip to New Orleans, visit the shop page here.