"Time Out" New Orleans Guide ("Time Out" Guides)

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9780140274486:

Written and researched by resident writers, this guide is packed with critical information on sights, music, shops, restaurants, nightlife, and festivals. Providing detailed insider information on Mardi Gras, Creole and Cajun cooking, Bourbon St. jazz as well as zydeco, French Quarter courtyards, Garden District mansions, River Road plantations, Cajun country swamp tours, and the scenic beaches of the Gulf Coast, this guide is the essential companion to the Big Easy.

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Review:

The first thing to do with this Time Out guide is to use the unusually wise resource list to put yourself in the mood for New Orleans. For this city is more of a good-time state of mind than it is a feast of bricks and mortar. Read John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, wallow in A Streetcar Named Desire ( read Tennessee Williams, but be inspired by a young Marlon Brando in the1951 film classic) and turn up the music . This is the birthplace of jazz but don't forget Cajun, zydeco and brass bands. Then tuck this guide into your backpack and use it as a reference for the best music venues and restaurants. The historical mix of cultures (French, Spanish, African, English ) means the cooking is diverse, fresh and flamboyant. There's a whole section devoted to costume shops. New Orleans is, on balance, ground zero for dressing with abandon (and sometimes abandoning dress!). The Mardi Gras takes advance planning and the guide gives a number of good tips. The book is a bit heavy-handed about crime (a crackdown has made the streets safer than when it was the murder capital of the US in the early 1990s). And, finally, after discovering that the authors are right and "you can't bar crawl for 24 hours a day", take advantage of the recommended bayous and back roads within a few hours drive of Bourbon Street. -- Kathleen Buckley

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