After taking a massive hit to its economy and infrastructure with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans is once again a booming and prosperous city. Aside from its large reliance on tourism, the city possesses one of the larges and busiest ports in the world, and is home to a flourishing industry of oil refining and petrochemical production. Local Tulane University is also a major player in making metropolitan New Orleans a growing hub for entrepreneurial and creative industries.
If you're looking to experience any sort of "local" culture, avoid the raucous Bourbon Street as much as possible. Instead, head to Friendship Street for some fantastic live blues and jazz music. By day, stroll through the historic French Quarter for outdoor cafes, art and antique galleries, and unique architecture. Then, head to the famous Garden District to wander quiet streets lined with huge mansions and quintessential Southern charm. And must-try cuisine includes French-inspired Creole dishes and the sugar-covered, doughy beignets at the famous Cafe du Monde - here, skip the never-ending take-away line and grab a table for much faster service.
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