Outside the Gates of English Turn
Photo by John Snell
New Orleans is the city of culture character and fun. It has something for everyone. Many think of the city as “The Big Easy” because of Mardi Gras, round-the-clock entertainment on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and all the festival that happen nearly every weekend. There’s always something going on, from Saints games in the Superdome, Pelicans Basketball in the Arena, to professional theatrical performances at the newly renovated Saenger Theatre on Canal Street.
The City is rich with commerce, being located on the Mississippi River and near the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana State University School of Medicine is building a world-class complex in the middle of town making New Orleans one of the nation’s foremost medical research centers. “Hollywood South” as it is referred to by the movie industry I now the favorite place in the country to film movies. You’ll see film crews with their tremendous equipment trucks all over the city and it’s all the result of an ingenious tax treatment given by the State of Louisiana. One of the special tax incentives is a tax credit for hiring local New Orleanians. So, if you want to be a star…
New Orleans is a favorite destination for tourism since there is so much to do, most of which I walking distance or a quaint streetcar ride from the downtown hotels.
After Katrina New Orleans began rebuilding schools and instead of doing it the way it had always been done the city embraced the charter school system. Today the City stands out as the Nation’s leader in school reform using charter schools.
The City of New Orleans is one of the oldest in the country and it has been preserved beautifully. Residents enjoy riding the historic streetcars and taking in the sights of the old mansions that line St. Charles Avenue, the Garden District and other areas of Uptown. Rows and rows of colorful Victorian cottages are found everywhere, restored and providing the New Orleans Living experience to its residents.
Tulane University, Loyola University, the University of New Orleans. Dillard University and Xavier University are all fine examples of the City’s Upper educational system, providing a community of highly educated and skilled residents.
Boating and fishing are sports for which New Orleans is well known. Lake Pontchartrain is made for recreation with sailing, a favorite. People come from all over the country to experience fine fishing. The city is surrounded by waterways rich with Speckled Trout, Redfish and others. The Gulf of Mexico is known for big Game fishing like Mahi Mahi, Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo.
The City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish overlap exactly and are bordered by Jefferson Parish, St Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish and Lake Pontchartrain. New Orleans is on both sides of the Mississippi River and extends to Lake Borgne on the East.
If you enjoy good food, this is the place to be. There are “1405 Restaurants Currently Open In And Around New Orleans” says Tom Fitzmorris, one of New Orleans’ famous food critics. …and almost all have good food or they wouldn’t make it in New Orleans.
The French Quarter
Photo by John Snell
The French Quarter is the City’s oldest area. It draws tourist from all over the world to see history in full life. The architecture is influenced mostly by the French and Spanish with its narrow streets, wrought iron balconies, courtyards, concealed behind brick and iron fences and colorful painted exteriors.
The center of the Quarter is Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral, which is flanked symmetrically by the Cabildo and the Presbytere, two Louisiana State Museums. On each side of the square are duplicate red, brick, four-story apartment buildings, called the Pontalba Buildings, which are thought to be the oldest apartment buildings in the United States.
Across from the Square is the popular Café Du Monde where everyone enjoys Café Au Lait and powder sugar coated Beignets. After that, most like to stroll through the French Market, a true picture of the past lifestyle of the City.
Royal Street is the center for antique stores, art galleries and gift shops. You could spend a whole day exploring the shops on Royal Street.
Bourbon Street is one of the city’s most famous. It is known for adult entertainment but anyone can enjoy the unique character of the street on a warm sunny day. After Mardi Gras Parades on Canal Street, a trip down Bourbon is a must.
The rest of the French Quarter is residential, with renovated Creole cottages and condominiums created out of many of the old buildings. Residents of the French Quarter love living in such unique homes. Every one is different and loaded with architectural treasures.
The Red Streetcars of Canal Street make a turn at the River and run the entire length of the French quarter providing the kind of public transportation you would expect in such a historic setting.
Photo by John Snell
Residents of English Turn will find themselves within easy access to the annual Mardi Gras celebration, often referred to as “The Greatest Free Show on Earth.” Mardi Gras is actually a full season of colorful and exotic parades throughout the streets and neighborhoods all over the New Orleans area. It’s a celebration for families and for singles, for locals and for tourists, for the uninitiated or for the professional partygoer.
Glittering floats are filled with masked riders who throw beads and baubles to the adoring crowds below. Marching bands and walking clubs lead dancing in the streets while the halls of private society galas are filled with big-band wonderment. There’s live music at every corner of the celebration, along with a thrilling frenzy for the amazing array of incredible cuisine that only New Orleans and its environs can offer.
Mardi Gras would seem to be a continuous event of massive proportions, but since it comes around only a few weeks a year, you’d do best not to miss a chance to be a part of it all.
Photo by John Snell
What’s it take to make a festival? Well, just outside the gates of English Turn, the City of New Orleans shows how to turn the love of music, food and culture into a true “festival experience.” It might take only a few street musicians to turn a quiet corner into a gathering of hundreds of revelers marching to a second line. Or a half a million people might gather together in utter compatibility to enjoy the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival of music, food and crafts.
Residents and visitors also flock annually to the French Quarter Festival, the Essence Music Festival, the Satchmo Summerfest (in honor of native Louis Armstrong), the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, the French Market Creole Tomato Festival or the weeklong Tales of the Cocktail festival. There’s even a festival to honor the preservation of the famous New Orleans “po-boy” sandwich, where thousands flock to taste dozens of varieties filled with everything from traditional roast beef to fried soft shell crab and lobster tails.
Apparently, all it takes to make a festival near English Turn is a yearning for the wonders of New Orleans music, food and culture.