Discover New Orleans
New Orleans Educational Tours
Welcome to the Big Easy! Here visitors can admire the Old World charm and elegant architectural details of the famous French Quarter, revel in the bright colors and elaborate costumes of Carnival season and Mardi Gras, and enjoy one of the best jazz and music scenes in the country.
New Orleans Overview
What is it that makes the city of New Orleans so fascinating? Well, it’s jazz, it’s architecture, it’s gumbo, it’s Mardi Gras…but it’s also much more than a list of activities and attractions! As a melting pot of many peoples – French, Spanish, African, Caribbean, Irish, German – the city has a truly unique mixture of influences that have blended together to create a new, distinct culture known worldwide for its music, cuisine, and celebratory style.
A great place for students to start their time in New Orleans is with a walking tour of the famous French Quarter. In Jackson Square students can stop for a self-guided tour of St. Louis Cathedral, followed by a visit to the two museums on either side of the cathedral. To the cathedral’s right you’ll find the Cabildo, which served as the seat of government during the Spanish colonial period. The Cabildo now features a museum with a collection of more than five hundred artifacts and original works of art. On the opposite site of the cathedral is the Presbytere, one of the showcase units of the Louisiana State Museum. The Presbytere houses an elaborate and exquisite collection of Mardi Gras artifacts and memorabilia.
New Orleans is also known for its music scene, and there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn about and experience it. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a must-see attraction, featuring performances of traditional New Orleans jazz. Students can also take a jazz history walking tour of the city, exploring the origins and evolution of jazz music. Students can even board the historic Steamboat Natchez for a jazz lunch or dinner cruise along the river! In addition to Mardi Gras, there are many music events taking place throughout the year in New Orleans, as well as many venues around the city that welcome student bands, orchestras and ensembles to perform.
A trip to New Orleans would be incomplete without trying at least one of the many traditional dishes this city has to offer. Make sure to make a morning stop at Cafe Du Monde, the Original French Market coffee stand since 1862, for cafe au lait and a fresh beignet. At the historic open-air French Market, visitors can enjoy shopping, dining, music and local tradition that is uniquely New Orleans. Here you can find all kinds of classic New Orleans fair, such as gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, po boy sandwiches and fresh seafood.
The French Quarter
The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carre, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on this quarter. Although called the “French” Quarter, most of the present day buildings were built under Spanish rule and show Spanish colonial tastes. The district as a whole is a National Historic Landmark, and contains numerous individual historic buildings. It was affected relatively lightly by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as compared to other areas of the city and the greater region.
The Audubon Nature Institute
The Audubon Nature Institute is a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature and based in New Orleans.
Audubon Zoo – “Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 zoos in the country, the Audubon Zoo is known and loved for its engaging educational programs and hands-on animal encounters. Don’t miss the Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle exhibits or their mysterious white alligators! And you can beat the heat during summer at their Cool Zoo, which features a 750-foot lazy river with sand beaches, lounge chairs, water cannons, water curtains and jumping jets.”
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas – “Like its sister facility, the Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is also consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, and we’re not surprised. Its immersive, awe-inspiring exhibits transport visitors to the underwater worlds of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical environs of the Amazon Rainforest. Home to more than 250 species and 3600 animals, including endangered ones like African penguins, the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans delivers a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t find anywhere else.”
The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum “has been designated by the U.S. Congress as America’s official WWII Museum. Powerful images and extraordinary artifacts bring to life the American Spirit, the courage, teamwork and sacrifice of the young men and women who won the war and changed the world. From the 1930s prelude to war, to the Normandy Invasion and the battles of the Pacific Islands, visitors trace America’s role in the war and on the Home Front.”