For general information and brochures, contact the city and state tourism bureaus. The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau's website is a comprehensive source for trip planning, hotel and tour booking, and shopping in the city; you can also download brochures, coupons, walking tours, and event schedules, as well as find links to other helpful websites. The Louisiana Office of Tourism offers the same with a focus on the entire state.
Louisiana Office of Tourism (800/994–8626. .)
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/672–6124 or 504/566–5011. .)
The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism's website gives a general overview of tourism in Louisiana, especially recovery efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
New Orleans Online provides basic trip planning and travel tools. The New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network produces a variety of multicultural heritage directories. The city's official site, www.nola.gov, has updates on local issues and government affairs, as well as a neat "City Stories" section that profiles residents of note. Go to www.frenchquarter.com for great links to event, accommodations, and parking information, as well as an interactive French Quarter map. And for that something extra, experienceneworleans.com has links to a blog, podcast, and a fun video, in addition to the standard tourist sites.
For general information about events, hotels, and restaurants, check www.neworleans.com. For Louisiana music coverage (plus other entertainment news), OffBeat magazine's website is a good bet, as is the radio station WWOZ.org with its Livewire Music Calendar. Everything you need to know about the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival can be found at its website. Devoted entirely to Mardi Gras, www.mardigrasneworleans.com includes histories, parade schedules, and other specific Mardi Gras information.
For arts happenings around town, www.artsneworleans.org, a site of the Arts Council of New Orleans, has a calendar of art, music, dance, film, theatre, literature, and culinary events in the city. The site also includes an artist directory and other resources.
Head to www.nola.com for everything New Orleans; it includes links to the Times-Picayune newspaper, with news stories, nightlife, and more. The website of the Gambit weekly newspaper does a good job of representing varying perspectives on life in the city.
All About Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (.)
All About New Orleans
City of New Orleans (.)
Experience New Orleans (.)
New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network (.)
New Orleans Online (.)
Music, Festivals, and Events
Arts New Orleans (.)
Mardi Gras New Orleans (.)
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (504/558-6100. .)
OffBeat Magazine (504/944-4300. .)
The Times-Picayune (800/925–0000. .)
Gambit (504/486–5900. .)
Inspiration: Books and Movies
To prepare for your trip to New Orleans, rent A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. Seedy, steamy, and emotionally charged, this is the quintessential New Orleans film. Also check out Elvis in King Creole, a music-filled noir tale set in the French Quarter. Other New Orleans classics are Jezebel, The Buccaneer, and Easy Rider. You may also enjoy Interview with the Vampire, Blaze, The Pelican Brief, Double Jeopardy with Ashley Judd, Runaway Jury starring John Cusack, Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, set in the Garden District. The HBO series Treme highlights New Orleans music and culture post-Katrina.
A necessary read for any New Orleans visitor is John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Ignatius J. Reilly, the book's bumbling protagonist, is as quirky as the city itself. Andrei Codrescu's New Orleans, Mon Amour, a collection of memoirs written over the last 20 years, is a humorous and touching read. For a look into life in old New Orleans, pick up anything by George Washington Cable. Since Hurricane Katrina, numerous books about the city have been published, notably Nine Lives by Dan Baum and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. Visit any locally owned bookstore for the insider's perspective on the New Orleans literary scene.