[VIDEO] Almost 3 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is back in the tourism business and better than ever. Almost 4 million Baby Boomers visited the Crescent City in 2008.
Baby Boomers are Returning to New Orleans
Almost 3 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is back in the tourism business and better than ever.
Over 4 million Baby Boomers visited the Crescent City in 2009.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard and the subsequent flooding caused immense disruption to the city and its people.
For a long time Baby Boomers were unable to enjoy the architecture, food, music, nightlife, shopping and the distinctive joie de vivre that New Orleans was famous for.
But now, just over two years later, the Crescent City is back in the tourism business and better than ever. High-profile events such as the Sugar Bowl and Mardi Gras, and the Jazz and Heritage Festival are returning. Welcoming visitors again is the historic heart, the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, the Warehouse and Arts District, the Garden District, Magazine Street, Audubon Park and Zoo, and St. Charles Avenue.
Around 8 million people are expected this year, about 4 million Baby Boomers. Though not yet at the pre-hurricane level of 10 million visitors who came in 2004. A walk along the city streets gives one the feeling that the vibrant urban culture is flourishing anew. Old favorite restaurants, with their celebrity chefs, have been joined by new places opened by bold creative restaurateurs. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe pays homage to the conjunction of great music and food, and the Tire Swing Bar makes a mean cocktail.
Ride the streetcars down Canal Street, between attractions, or along the river. The shops and boutiques along Magazine Street are again packed to the hilt with interesting goods. Don't miss the New Orleans Museum of Art, among the nation's best, and the premier art museum in the Gulf South region.
The Mardi Gras parades were back in February of 2008 and it's time to party and catch the color and movement of this vibrant and raunchy annual celebration of city life. The krewes will have even bigger and brighter floats on show for 2009. If you have to miss the parades, you can get the feeling of Mardi Gras year-round at Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World, the world's largest float designing and building facility, where more than 80 percent of the New Orleans' floats are constructed.
New Orleans' celebrated nightlife, from piano bars and pubs, to music clubs are open to the small hours of the morning, and three casinos are again operating. Billed as "The World's Largest Block Party", from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13, the annual French Quarter Festival celebrated its 25th year in 2008. This vibrant part of New Orleans becomes a vast outdoor mall offering the best local music, culinary delights and art exhibitions. Be entertained by some of the more than 150 musical performances on 15 stages throughout the French Quarter, and be tempted by the 60 food and beverage stalls featuring authentic local cuisine in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and elsewhere.
And then there's the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May of 2009, which features 12 stages of jazz, gospel, cajun, zydeco, blues, African, Latin, R&B, rock, Caribbean, folk, funk and much more. Known as JazzFest, 2008 featured Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, Sheryl Crow, and the Neville Brothers. 2009 is expected to be even better, so think about it in your travels this year.