In our "Travel Guide to the South" series, staff at Alliance partner hotels and others in-the-know give their recommendations on what to see, what to do and what to eat in the South.
With the highest number of historic districts in the country and more registered historic landmarks than any other city, the Big Easy is steeped in history. “Every aspect of New Orleans is a reflection of the past,” says Thea Wall of Windsor Court Hotel.
And preservation and restoration of that history is a top priority, says Sarah Forman with the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Historic relevance has shaped the city because it’s really our most unique experience,” she says. “History is not only visible here—it’s alive.”
The true cuisine of New Orleans is Creole, a result of Spanish, French and African influences, and should in no way be confused with Cajun, says Forman. For an authentic taste of the city’s French-Creole faire, Wall recommends visiting Antoine’s Restaurant, the country’s oldest family-owned restaurant and birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller.
The French Quarter burned to the ground in the late 1700s during Spanish rule, making the quarter’s architecture roughly 10 percent French and 90 percent Spanish.
To fully immerse oneself in the layered history of the city, Wall suggests arranging a private tour with a real historian. “There are too many sights to see and tales to tell,” she says.
This article was originally featured in the Traveler magazine.