Tips for Your NOLA Visit
So you’ve decided to visit New Orleans this spring or summer. To help you get started we’re giving you a few tips. Granted, this is a “boiled down” list – but it will start you thinking about how to get here and what to expect after you arrive.
HOW TO GET TO NEW ORLEANS
You can come by plane, train, bus or drive your own car. The Louis Armstrong International Airport is 13 miles west of New Orleans. You can take a taxi or shuttle to get into the city itself. Amtrak and Greyhound are adjacent to each other downtown – a cab can take you to the French Quarter.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR NOLA VISIT
It rains off-and-on here so pack some type of rain gear or a small, folding umbrella. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes or sandals – New Orleans is like New York City, it’s a “walking town.” Bring a nice shirt or dress for a fun night out plus something a little offbeat, e.g., a hat. Finally, don’t forget to pack an official picture ID – the bouncers in New Orleans are fairly strict about proper identification. And, remember: some of the city’s nicer restaurants have a jackets-only policy for men, so call ahead if you’re not sure about the spot where you plan to dine.
HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU ARE
In Manhattan, everyone knows that Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between east and west. Going north is towards Harlem and south is down to Wall Street – this is a no-brainer.
So New Orleans is east, west, north, south also – right? Nope. This city’s directions come from “bodies of water” – and how they flow. This means you’ll hear: lake, river, up and down.
§ “Lake” is Lake Pontchartrain, north of the city
§ “River” is the Mississippi
§ “Up and down” refer to the flow of the river, which heads “down” to the Gulf of Mexico
§ This means that “down” is east
§ And “up” means west – once you’re here you’ll figure it out fast
OTHER ESSENTIALS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW
#1 ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in all accommodations and many, but not all, restaurants
#2 Cell phones: Local SIM (also known as subscriber identity module) cards can be used in European and Australian phones. Other phones may be set to roaming
#3 Moving around once you’re here: You can go by STREETCAR and pay a one-way fare or spring for a multi-trip pass. BUS service is okay but WALKING is better – especially in the French Quarter. Riding a BICYCLE: You can cross the entire town in 45 minutes or CAR: the easiest way to access outer neighborhoods such as Mid-City
#4 Time: New Orleans Standard Time is six hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time, the prime basis of Standard Time throughout the world) or 5:00 pm in NOLA, 11:00 pm in London. It’s one hour behind the East Coast or 5:00 pm in NOLA, 6:00 pm in Manhattan
#5 Smoking: The city has passed a law banning smoking in bars, restaurants, casinos and hotels. Smoking is still permitted in most outdoor gathering areas, (patios, courtyards and balconies)
DON’T FORGET: The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival is an annual five-day literary event that will be held from March 27th to the 31st this year. It is dedicated to the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright who helped put New Orleans on the map with his stunning A Streetcar Named Desire.