The Big Easy - Queen of the Mississippi.
Rooms From €139 (Per Person)
When Jean Baptiste Le Moyne picked out the strategic spot on the Mississippi River for his French colony in 1718, little did he know that he had doomed a future city to tragedy nearly 290 years later. Situated on a swamp, and surrounded by the sea, Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, the subsiding city of New Orleans chose to swim rather than sink with the construction of a system of levees, pumps and canals to protect the city from flooding.
However, on the 30 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst hurricanes ever to hit the United States, slammed into the region, catapulting New Orleans into world headlines that followed the struggle of the community to cope with extensive damage, loss of life and the flooding of more than 75 percent of the city.
Despite the 'I told you so' attitude of much of the world, the proud residents of New Orleans were more determined than ever to rebuild their city, to bring back the jazz, the extravagant celebrations and the 'Big Easy' lifestyle that once made it the party capital of America. Local musicians have returned home, after-dark options are burgeoning and the strains of jazz and blues rhythms are once again echoing through the streets of the atmospheric French Quarter. Legendary Bourbon Street continues to host carnivals and parades, including the annual Mardi Gras, which has a reputation for being the most scandalous and sensational event on the world's festival calendar.
Besides all the partying, New Orleans has plenty of serious sightseeing to offer. The city is full of picturesque historic buildings, lush parks, interesting museums displaying everything from voodoo culture to modern technology, riverboats and historic streetcars, and of course jazz cafes. But for now evidence of the calamity, as well as the city's determination to survive, take first place in any visitor's 'to do' list.
We have featured the largest selection of USA city break destinations available on any Irish website and there is somewhere there for everyone.
We work with all the major Airlines and can book these for you with full flexibility through our in-house systems.
There are currently direct flights from Ireland to the USA with Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways. There are also many connections via the UK with British Airways, Virgin and other airlines.We have just given a brief glimpse of what we can offer you, please feel free to browse more or if there is a destination you would like to know more about call now on 01 853 5000, email [email protected], send us a quick message or complete the enquiry form - we will be delighted to help you, its all part of the Platinum Service!
There are no direct flights to New Orleans from Ireland but numerous connections via the UK or USA.
Average flight time from Ireland to New Orleans is 10-11 hours.
When it comes to planning out how to reach your destination, Platinum Travel have all the air travel expertise to help you get the best route to your final location.
As a licensed and bonded Travel Agent we have access to negotiated contract and wholesale fares with airlines worldwide. Our Travel Concierge team members will help you with the best connections and airlines to suit your own personal requirements.
For many destinations a number of flights may be required and sometimes it will include arriving into one airport and leaving from another. We will ensure you have the best combination of flights to do this and make sure you cover the necessary MCT (minimum connecting time) so that you have the best opportunity of a smooth and easy journey.
Several airlines have introduced many ancillary charges such as seat assignments, checked bags, priority boarding etc. Platinum Travel will look after these for you and book you at the best available bundle package at the best price. Upgraded airline fares, lounge access & Fasttrack are also available and again Platinum Travel know how to avail of the best value for these extras.
Platinum Travel are a fully licensed and bonded travel agent so you have a lot more protection with us than with the internet (airlines are not bonded).
Louis Armstrong International Airport is located 11.5 miles (19km) west of central New Orleans, and is Louisiana's primary commercial airport. Formerly known as Moisant Field, the airport was renamed for iconic jazz musician Louis Armstrong in 2001.
Processing roughly eight million passengers each year, Louis Armstrong International Airport hosts flights on a number of airlines from cities across North America, including Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Toronto, New York, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco.
The airport is known for its efficiency, and long queues are a rare occurrence. Passengers can sample local Creole food and music in the restaurants and shops, or just sit back and enjoy the regular live music performances in Concourse C.
Location The airport is situated 14 miles (22km) west of downtown New Orleans.
Getting to the city The Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) stop is on the second level of the Airport, near the Delta counter. Tickets to the city cost $1.10. The Airport Shuttle offers a service to/from the hotels throughout the Metropolitan area. The Airport Shuttle booths are open in the baggage claim area for local transportation. They are also providing transportation to/from all of Southeast Louisiana as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reservations are needed for these types of transport. Please call 1 866 596 2699 or (504) 522 3500 between 9am and 6pm for information and reservations.
Time GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Contacts Switchboard: +1 504 464 0831. Information desk: 504 464 2752.
Car rental Car rental companies are situated on the lower level of the airport and include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.
Airport Taxis There are taxicabs available on the lower level outside the baggage claim zone. For one to two persons it costs approximately $28 from the airport to the CBD, for three or more passengers it costs $12 per passenger. Journey time is 30 minutes, dependent on traffic. For queries call the Taxi Bureau on (504) 565-6272.
Facilities Banks and business centres offer foreign money exchange, ATMs, travellers cheques and a host of other banking and business services. Internet access is available, as well as tax-free shopping, gift shops, a post office, advance baggage check-in, and a visitor information service. Facilities for the disabled are good. There are restaurants on Concourses A, B, D and in the main ticket lobby, while snacks are available on Concourse C.
Parking Short-term parking at Louis Armstrong International Airport starts at $2 for the first hour and charges $2 every half hour thereafter up to a daily limit of $16. Long-term parking charges are similar, but with a daily maximum of $13. All vehicles are subject to a search before parking.
Airlines Flights to Louis Armstrong International Airport are available via Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Internet The airport offers free wifi.
Business Lounges The Delta Crown Room Club on Concourse D has business services like fax and copy machines, and limited conference facilities.
When in New Orleans, the vintage electric rail vehicles or 'streetcars' are the way to go. With various lines crossing the city, most destinations are accessible by this means of transport. Various VisiTour passes allow unlimited rides on buses and streetcars, and for streetcar fare and route information visit www.norta.com. The Canal Street Ferry takes passengers across to the suburb of Algiers and is free for pedestrians, offering fine views of the city skyline. Walking, cycling, taxis and rental cars are some of the other options; many tourist areas, like the French Quarter, are most enjoyable on foot. Driving a car in New Orleans may be difficult as many roads are still inaccessible due to hurricane damage.
Home of one of the world's largest street parties, New Orleans is not short on attractions and the place to start is without a doubt the world-renowned French Quarter.
Take a stroll along the legendary Bourbon Street to lap up the ambience, sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans, or for a more historical view of the city, visit the D-Day National World War II Museum. See a bit of the city's underbelly in the New Orleans Voodoo Museum, and marvel at Mardi Gras floats at Blaine Kern's workshop.
The Hurricane Katrina Tour takes visitors through the worst affected areas of the city, including Lakeview and Gentill, and is a tragic, yet fantastic way to see parts of the city and people that would otherwise be seen only by locals.
Visitors will do well to purchase the New Orleans Power Pass. The pass is available in 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive day options and starts at $31 per day. It includes admission to 30 of New Orleans' top attractions, saving the bearer up to $300 while also offering discounts and the opportunity to skip the queue at many locations, ensuring you experience all there is to see and do in New Orleans.
New Orleans has fantastic attractions for children on holiday including fun parks, aquariums and museums. Kids love to visit the Audubon Aquarium, and are also fascinated by the creatures at the Audubon Insectarium. The Louisiana Children's Museum is also a popular attraction, as are Storyland and the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Children also love to go on boat rides up the Mississippi River, or into the Louisiana swamps.
Shopping in New Orleans ensures a great selection of antiques, arts, vintage clothing and unique jewellery. There are various malls, markets, boutiques and specialist shops that satisfy most purchase desires.
The French Quarter is unsurpassed as a sightseeing/boutique shopping experience. It's also home to legendary New Orleans voodoo shops and some fantastic costume and mask shops, great for Mardi Gras or Halloween and popular New Orleans souvenirs. Magazine Street also has costume and mask shops, as well as stores offering elegant furnishings, hand-smocked garments and local arts. There are various jewellers in town offering unique, custom-made adornments.
New Orleans candymakers have a special touch, and sweets like pralines make popular gifts. Some of the best can be sampled at Southern Candymakers, Leah's Candy Kitchen, and Aunt Sally's Praline Shop. Don't forget to sample the best in local music; you'll find great cds of Dixieland jazz at the Louisiana Music Factory and Beckham's Bookshop.
Items such as Louis XIV chairs and African masks are available from numerous antique stores, and the art galleries of Royal Street also hold infinite treasure. And then there's Crescent City Farmer's Market, which sells exotic vegetables, beautiful flowers and fresh seafood. There are various tax refund and tax free options available to visitors.
Known for its use of Cajun pepper, tropical fruits and spices, dining out in New Orleans is an exciting sensory experience not to be missed. The melting pot cuisine known as Creole incorporates French, Spanish, Mediterranean, Caribbean and African flavours as well as the hearty and comforting tastes of the American Deep South.
Travellers will find the world-famous French Quarter gears mostly to tourists and this is where just about any and every kind of Creole restaurant can be found, serving jumbalaya, red beans and rice, gumbo and Cajun Crawfish amongst other local dishes. Those with a serious sweet tooth are in for a treat in New Orleans, where the desserts are as sticky as they come with favourites such as Pecan Pie, Pralines and Bananas Foster staples on most restaurant menus. Don't forget an order of deep-fried beignets (pronounced ben-yays) with your coffee!
New Orleans has its own special take on the sandwich, which comes in two varieties: po'boys, served on a round French loaf and packed to the rafters with beef, oysters, shrimp, gravy and all the trimmings; and muffalettas, huge Italian loaves stuffed with cold meats and olive salad.
Bourbon Street is where the best of New Orleans' eateries can be found and travellers should pay the legendary Galatoire's a visit to sample some of the city's finest fare. Not to be missed are the city's cocktails, the most famous being the notorious 'Hurricane' and visitors won't have trouble finding a bar to sample this New Orleans specialty - escaping the bustling bars might be their only problem!
New Orleans is a city of music and rhythm, most famous for jazz, Cajun and zydeco music, and its nightlife portrays this with enthusiasm. Gambit, Offbeat and WhereY'at, as well as local radio stations, publicise upcoming New Orleans events and venues.
There are countless bars along Bourbon Street, and the party invariably pours out onto the sidewalks; while most places have a cover-charge, it is not always necessary to actually go inside! Some of the best clubs and bars can be found in the Quarter and the Frenchmen section of the Faubourg Marigny.
Preservation Hall is a must for jazz fans, and Maple Leaf Bar is another popular spot for live music. Molly's is said to be the best bar in the French Quarter and Napoleon House offers a fantastic Pimm's Cup cocktail. Ray's Boom Boom Room is fast becoming the trendiest club of the Frenchmen district, and the Blue Nile is the long-standing social hub of the area. The Polo Lounge at Windsor Court is very stylish, favouring Sazeracs cocktails and fancy cigars.