I sit next to a woman wearing a large hat adorned with flowers, illuminated by tiny, white lights. This might seem a bit odd anywhere else, but I’m in N’awlins, where nobody needs a reason to don a costume or have a parade.
Although the streetcar named Desire no longer exists, I’m riding the 120-year-old St. Charles Avenue line, the world’s oldest continuously operating streetcar line. For $1.25, I get to sit on an original mahogany seat as I ride along “the jewel of America’s grand avenues” and back into 19th century New Orleans on a route lined with Greek Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne Victorian mansions.
Some say New Orleans is the only foreign city Americans can go to without a passport. A melting pot of various cultures formed the city’s unique identity, which may appear foreign, but that in itself makes it distinctly American. No other American city can boast having its own unmistakable music, food, festivals, traditions, and even superstitions to the extent of New Orleans.
Each of NOLA’s neighborhoods offer a different flavor and experience. In the French Quarter, tourists partake in a nonstop party, whereas in the Garden District and Uptown neighborhoods, locals and visitors alike stroll along quiet, tree-lined streets with historic mansions, some of which are now B&Bs.
Suffice it to say, there are many ways in New Orleans to laissez les bons temps rouler — let the good times roll.