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New Orleans cheatsheet

New Orleans isn't a city. It's a Petrarchan sonnet. There's no other place on the planet like it. I think it was sawed loose from South America and blown by trade winds across the Caribbean until it affixed itself to the southern rim of the United States.
– James Lee Burke

€1 - $1.1
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Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is about 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans.

The easiest way to get right to the city. It costs around $33 for two people.

Airport Shuttles
Available 24-hours a day for around $20 per person one way (or around $38 roundtrip).

The Airport-Downtown Express (E-2) Bus
Upside: It's pretty great because it's only $2. Downside: Drop-off locations and times are limited.

Streetcar: New Orleans has three street car lines: The St. Charles Line, The Riverfront Line, and The Canal Street line. They're awfully pretty and cost-effective, at $1.25 per trip. Be sure to have the exact amount, as the fare boxes do not make change. Operation times vary depending on the streetcar line.

Taxicab: You can hail a taxi from the street, they way you would in any major city, though during high season (Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, etc.) it's a good idea to get the name and number from a driver so that you can call ahead for a ride.

Bus: The RTA buses cost $1.25 a ride and run all over the city. The RTA trip planner can help you figure out the most efficient way to get from A to B.

The city of New Orleans is shaped like a crescent around the Mississippi River. Within each district, it's very easy to walk around, particularly within the French Quarter (the oldest part of the city), the Marigny, The Central Business District, the Arts/Warehouse District, and the Garden District (Uptown).

Automated teller machines are located in various banks, convenience stores, and drug stores, as well as some shops and bars. There is generally a fee of a few dollars for using the ATM.

It's customary to tip 15-20 percent gratuity on a restaurant bill, spa, or salon service.
Slip a few bucks to car valets, coat check attendants, and bell hops. Be generous to your bartenders and they will be very good to you.

When staying at a hotel, keep a few small bills for tipping bell hops, doormen, housekeeping, and room service (a few dollars to each for carrying bags, hailing cabs, running errands, etc.)

New Orleans is one of those rare cities where usual open container laws do not apply. Yup, that means if you leave a restaurant without finishing your wine, you can take it to go. During parades, you'll often see spectators standing on the sidewalks with coolers, and you can order drinks from a nearby bar and carry them out to the street corner. Remember: Just because you can drink on the street does not mean you should act like a drunk asshole. Keep it semi-classy.

New Orleans loves a celebration. There are often parties and parades in the street, sporadically and with costumes. Roll with it.

Many restaurants, museums, and federal buildings are closed on Sundays and Mondays. So if you are visiting for a weekend, check the operating times of your favorite muffaletta joint (ie: Central Grocery) to avoid a disappointed stomach.

For music & entertainment listings, pick up free copies of Offbeat or Gambit, the city's alternative papers.

Check out our ever-growing list of the best local magazines, blogs, and stories about The Big Easy.

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