In New Orleans , you'll find the roots of jazz and a blossoming culture that has been long described as being unlike anything else in the United States. Founded in 1718, it is one the nation's oldest cities and has an atmosphere rich with a mix of French sophistication, Creole, Spanish, African-American, Caribbean, Irish, Italian, Haitian, German, and Vietnamese, all creating an energy that can be described as something greater than the sum of its parts. Though hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city continues to rebound, and it remains the largest city in Louisiana and one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
New Orleans is known for a host of attributes like its famous Creole food, abundant alcohol, music of many styles, nearby swamps and plantations, 18th & 19th century architecture, antiques, gay pride, streetcars, museums. Nicknamed the Big Easy, New Orleans has long had a reputation as an adult oriented city. However, the city also offers many attractions for families with children and those interested in culture and the arts. It is a city with a majority Roman Catholic population owing to its European origins. Famous festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest bring in tourists by the millions, and are the two times of the year when one needs to be sure to book well in advance to be sure of a room. The city also hosts numerous smaller festivals and gatherings like the French Quarter Festival, Creole Tomato Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, the Essence Festival hosted by the magazine, Halloween parading and costume balls, Saint Patrick's Day and Saint Joseph's Day parading, Southern Decadence, and so many more. The city takes almost any occasion for an excuse for a parade, a party, and live music, and in New Orleans most events often have a touch of Mardi Gras year round. Like they say, New Orleanians are either planning a party, enjoying one or recovering from one. Party down!