Best Things to Do
It's the oldest neighborhood in the city and is the birthplace of New Orleans — the French Quarter. Morning is the perfect time to explore the historic Vieux Carré. Start by savoring a cup of chicory coffee and a beignet at the French Market early in the morning as the city begins to stir. The best way to become acquainted with the French Quarter is through a walking tour; if you're really adventurous, consider the ghost tour. To spare your feet and enjoy the tour in style, hire a mule-drawn carriage at Jackson Square and have the coach driver explain the city and its unique history to you.
Although the French who founded New Orleans in 1718 get much of the historical credit for the city, most of the architecture of the French Quarter dates from the 40-year period of Spanish rule (1763-1803). The aged structures reflect Spanish style more than French, but that is the heart of New Orleans' allure — an indefinable gumbo pot of peoples, cultures, styles and survival. It is that last element that truly characterizes the city that has survived devastating fires, floods and hurricanes. Through it all, the people of New Orleans carry on the most important tradition: joie de vive.
A visit to the Herman-Grimma Historic House and its companion, Gallier House, will provide a good opportunity to learn about the individuals who worked on the property and the women who maintained it. Then there's Faulkner House Books, where the great writer and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner lived from 1925 to 1926 while writing his first novel, Soldiers' Pay. Inside is the bookstore, the actual space he occupied, which houses a literary treasure trove for collectors, especially rare tomes and first editions.