Unique fun awaits when your next cruise departs from the Port of New Orleans. Known for the French and Spanish Creole influence on food, music and architecture, Port NOLA is the perfect place to stay for a few days.
Here are our five favorite things to do near the port:
No trip to New Orleans would be complete without spending time in this iconic neighborhood of the city. Stroll the streets and discover museums, art galleries, restaurants and bars, local shops, stunning architecture, historic homes and theatres. You can even have psychics tell you your fortune.
Of particular note is St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in the country. You may recognize this beautiful structure from its “appearances” in hundreds of films.
Nearby is the open-air eatery Café du Monde, famous for its café au lait and beignets. People have been lining up at this eatery since 1862 – try why!
National Museum of the Second World War
Visit this museum for an in-depth look at America’s role in the Allied victory. There are restored planes and tanks from that era; hundreds of memorabilia; and interactive exhibits. Also check out the new sound and light show, Expressions of America.
Dine at the BB’s Vintage Stage Door Canteen and enjoy 1940s music performed by a trio of female singers. Attend an author reading to learn about events that changed the course of the war. And learn about the challenges on the home front, the roles of women, Medal of Honor recipients, and profiles of heroes.
If time permits, cruise Lake Pontchartrain in a WWII-era PT boat that has been restored to its original condition and learn a little about what it was like for soldiers in Normandy .
Take a self-guided tour here for a historical look at this iconic parade. Opened in 1984, the history of this museum dates back to 1932, when father and son built their first wagon on the back of a mule-drawn garbage truck! The rest, as they say, is history.
These humble beginnings are widely credited with the “monumental scales and lavish ornamentation of today’s floats.” Today, visitors can watch over 500 artists at work in the raft cave every year. Cars, costumes and props from previous years can also be seen.
The carnival cooking school
Make some delicious memories before or after your cruise from New Orleans Port in a real-life cooking class. Sign up and try to create authentic Creole and Cajun dishes. Under the guidance of chefs, learn recipes, techniques, and “secrets of spices” for preparing this local food.
Prepare and cook shrimp etouffee in Roux class; pecan praline bread pudding in the vegetarian class; corn and crab soup in the Creole class; jambalaya with chicken and andouille in Traditions class; and Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce over Crab Cakes in Brunch Class – just to name a few!
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Make a stop at this facility, which has been consistently voted one of the “10 Best” aquariums in the country. Experience the ecosystems of the Caribbean, the Amazon rainforest, the mighty Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Over 3,600 animals from 250 species are waiting to greet you.
Go under the sea in a new virtual reality show; touch rays; learn about jellyfish; watch the penguins play; and meet the “world’s best dads” – seahorses.
For an up-close adventure, join a guide to snorkel at the Great Maya Reef, where over 30 species of marine life swim alongside you. Walk through the “submerged” Mayan city full of ruins and sunken artifacts.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com