16 lies the guidebooks are telling you about New Orleans
1. First of all, it’s not “N’awlins” or “New OrLEENS.” It’s “New OAR-linz.”
2. We’re not all decked out in plastic beads all the time.
Especially when it’s not Mardi Gras. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear a costume whenever you feel like it though, and most of us have a closet full of supplies and wigs.
3. We’re not all hanging out on Bourbon Street drinking Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s either.
Our cocktail of choice is actually the Sazerac, and you can get a good one at the French 75 Bar or the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone. Locals avoid Bourbon Street at all costs, except when we have visitors who insist on being taken there.
4. Yes, we have recovered.
Katrina happened more than 10 years ago, and although some areas have not fully recovered yet, most of the city is better than it ever was. Lots of entrepreneurs have since started successful small businesses and we actually have more restaurants and bars than ever before.
5. The French Quarter’s architecture is not French. It’s Spanish.
6. We don’t go to Café du Monde for beignets every morning.
There are many other places to get beignets and coffee with much less of a line.
7. If you’re basing your trip on the movie The Big Easy, you know nothing about New Orleans.
8. This is not the place for you to get authentic Cajun food.
Our food is Creole, a blend of the various cultures of New Orleans including Italian, Spanish, African, German, Caribbean, Native American, and Portuguese. If you’re looking for true Cajun food, you’ll need to venture out of the city towards Lafayette for dishes like boudin, alligator, and jambalaya.
9. Yes, you can bring your kids here.
We have museums, a great zoo and aquarium, and plenty of parks. Your kids can come to Mardi Gras too, there are tons of family-friendly neighborhoods where they can enjoy some completely age-appropriate parades.
10. The Streetcar Line isn’t just for tourists.
Many of us locals use it too. It’s a great way to see everything for $1.25.
11. We’re not just about the liquor.
12. Don’t even try to make it work here in the summer.
You’re going to sweat. The heat and humidity is stifling and you’re going to have to spend the entire time drinking Pimm’s Cups at the Napolean House Bar.
13. Jazz Fest isn’t just about jazz.
It’s more about local musicians and big stars — along with very large crowds, heat, and little to no shade. The best decision you could make when it comes to Jazz Fest is to buy the Big Chief VIP package so you can enjoy simple luxuries like clean bathrooms, shade and refreshments.
14. The French Quarter is actually a residential neighborhood and real people live behind those pretty doors and windows.
It’s not just for show.
15. Yes, a decent amount of Girls Gone Wild videos have been shot here, but there’s more to us than nudity and drinking.
You will find very few locals engaging in that sort of behavior on Bourbon Street. Very. Few.