While in New Orleans you will be treated to a unique way to vacation as you are introduced to the Cajun culture of Louisiana. New Orleans hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, which means there’s plenty of opportunity to experience the culture specific for this region of the country. You will find plenty of things to see and do in New Orleans, including taking a stroll through the French Quarter and taking in the nightlife of the city.

Here are the top five things you have to see when visiting New Orleans:

Marie Laveau’s Grave
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Basin at St. Louis St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 482-5064

Marie Laveau was a leader among those practicing Voodoo in the New Orleans area. She transformed religious beliefs and practices among African slaves. With her guidance, Voodoo thrived in the area, providing both residents and visitors entertainment and a better understanding of Voodoo as a religion. Even though Marie Laveau was a devout Catholic who attended Mass nearly every day at the St. Louis Cathedral, she is the most renowned leader in the Voodoo faith.

Although she was a devout Catholic, Marie Laveau was not buried in a Catholic cemetery, but she was laid to rest in a separate section designated for Protestants. Today, visitors from around the world come to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to visit with Marie Laveau’s gravesite. Many of her visitors bring gifts, such as flowers, alcoholic beverages, hand-made Monkey statues and money, leaving them in exchange for favors to be granted by Marie Laveau’s spirit.

Hours of operation for the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. until noon. Admission to the cemetery is free.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Paddle Wheeler Creole Queen
365 Canal St.
Suite 820
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 529-4567

Explore the waters of the Mississippi River aboard the Paddle Wheeler Creole Queen. Different cruises are available, including a Battlefield Cruise and a Dinner Jazz Cruise. The Battlefield Cruise will take you to all of the historic sites from the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. This is the site where American forces, commanded by General Andrew Jackson, fought against and defeated the British Army. In addition to the battlefield sites you will see along the way, you will have a historic narration provided by the captain as you sail past landmarks and points of interest. This two and one-half hour cruise is definitely a must-experience adventure while in the New Orleans area.

The Battlefield Cruise sets sail daily at 2 p.m. (boarding starts at 1:30 p.m.). Cost at the time of publication for the cruise is $28 for adults, $13 for children ages 6-12 and children 5 years of age and under are free. There is also a buffet ($14 per person) and a cash bar available during the cruise. Reservations are required to set sail aboard the Paddle Wheeler Creole Queen.

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The National World War II Museum
945 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 528-1944

During your visit to The National World War II Museum you will see how much of an impact this war has on the entire world. Exhibits at the museum feature world leaders at the time of the war and the men and women who made a difference during the war, both at home and in battle. This museum is home to more than 100,000 artifacts, including Allied and Axis uniforms, weaponry, medals, diaries, letters, vehicles, photographs, personal mementos and artwork. This is definitely a museum in the New Orleans area you do not want to miss.

The National World War II Museum and the Museum Store are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Cost of admission at the time of publication is $23 for adults, $20 for seniors (65+), $14 for military personnel with an ID and WWII veterans are always free.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images


St. Louis Cathedral
615 Pere Antoine Alley
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-9585

One of the most recognized landmarks of New Orleans is the St. Louis Cathedral, overlooking Jackson Square. You will be amazed by the triple steeples that tower over the historic neighborhoods and the beauty of the Cathedral’s architecture. Tours are available of the St. Louis Cathedral through the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center. Tours can be requested by calling extension 121 at the Cathedral. Self-guided brochures are also available at the entrance of the Cathedral for a $1 donation.

The St. Louis Cathedral is open for tours Wednesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Mass is offered on Saturday at 5 p.m., on Sunday from 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and on weekdays at noon. Outside of accepting donations for the self-guided brochures, there is no charge for admission to the Cathedral.

Related: Visiting America’s Most Beautiful Churches

Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park
8606 West St. Bernard Highway
Chalmette, LA 70043
(504) 281-0510

The Chalmette Battlefield and Jean Lafitte National Park is the site where the Battle of New Orleans occurred on January 8, 1815. It is believed by many historians that this was the last official battle of the War of 1812. Visitors can learn more about the War of 1812 and the battle which occurred in New Orleans at the visitor’s center. The visitor’s center houses a variety of historic exhibits, artifacts and presents films about the park, New Orleans and the war. The museum store has books, reproductions of period items, period music and children’s books.

Admission to the Battlefield and National Park is free. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The next time you plan a vacation to the New Orleans area, make some plans and visit the above listed must-see sights. You will not be disappointed and might learn something new about the area’s culture and history.

Heather Landon is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.
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