With many nicknames – The City that Care Forgot, the Crescent City, the Big Easy – New Orleans has a style of its own. It is famous for its cuisine, architecture, music (the birthplace of jazz) and its laidback residents. The annual Mardi Gras and the other celebrations and festivals that dot the city’s events calendar bring travellers on cheap flights to New Orleans from around the world.
New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but its spirit never wavered. The historic, cultural and business districts, as they were on higher ground, came through in good shape and things are now mostly back to normal, but lower-lying residential areas suffered greatly. Just half of the pre-Katrina population is back living in the city, but the welcome for tourists is as great as ever.
The oldest, most visited, part of New Orleans is the French Quarter. This is the place to sample Creole food, listen to the music, visit the museums and antique shops and sink a hurricane, a red rum mixture. Nearby is the Central Business District, an area of hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries.
Faubourg Marigny, a hip, Bohemian neighbourhood, offers a taste of non-touristy nightlife.
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New Orleans’ climate is subtropical – hot and humid. The hottest months are July and August; temperatures range from 27 to 29 degrees Celsius (81 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). January is the coldest month, average daily temperatures are 12 degrees (55F). There is some rainfall, about 161cm per year. Travellers considering booking cheap flights to New Orleans should bear in mind that the city is vulnerable to hurricanes between June and November.
The best time to take cheap flights to New Orleans is February through May. Not only is the weather good, but this is when Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest take place.
Early fall is a good time to visit. The summer crowds have melted away and the weather is generally mild.
Summers can be very hot and humid and there is a risk of hurricanes. If you’re willing to brave the heat and possible hurricanes, it can be a good time to get discounted flights and accommodations.
Getting Around: New Orleans has a great public bus system and the oldest streetcar service in the country, which has been designated a National Historic Monument. The buses are the cheapest way to get around, but they can be slow. Vintage St Charles streetcars can take you uptown while the Riverfront streetcar runs along the Mississippi River for over three km. Make sure you have exact change for the buses and streetcars. You can also get VisiTour passes that offer one to three days of unlimited rides on the streetcars and buses. The best way to get around at night is by hailing or calling for a cab. There are plenty of taxis to be found, and a metered ride won’t cost you much. If you want to take a tour of New Orleans, try hiring a cab to take you and up to four of your friends around the city. Head out on the water aboard the Canal Street Ferry for a great view of New Orleans’ skyline. The ferry is free for pedestrians and will take you out to suburban Algiers. It’s easy to drive in the city, but parking is another story.