A List Of Animals At The St Louis Zoo Student Group Travel To New Orleans: Let The Good Times Roll!

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Student Group Travel To New Orleans: Let The Good Times Roll!

Jambalaya, Cajun hospitality and great music! This is what will greet every student group when they arrive in New Orleans or N’awlins (as the locals affectionately refer to their city). Ranked #1 in ten categories in Travel & Leisure magazine’s 2009 “America’s Favorite Cities” survey, the people of New Orleans mean what they say…”Les Bon Temps Rouler!” (Let the good times roll!). Perfectly melding French, African, Spanish, and American cultures, the result is an exciting city with educational museums, exciting attractions, Cajun/Creole cuisine, amazing music, unique historical sites and, of course, Mardi Gras.


The food, no matter where you go within the city, will definitely excite your taste buds. From sandwiches and Oyster Po-Boy, Jambalaya and Crab Chowder, to melt-in-the-mouth Cajun pulled pork, Mufffuletta sandwiches, and Seafood Gumbo, Cajun/Creole flavors are sure to please your palate. Make sure you don’t forget dessert either! The bright flavors of New Orleans desserts will meet and exceed your sugar cravings. Try a local favorite, Mississippi Mud Pie, a gooey chocolate filling on top of a crumbly chocolate crust served with vanilla ice cream; or try what New Orleans is famous for, Bananas Foster, created at Brennan’s Restaurant. Bread pudding is another favorite and comes in many different flavors including white chocolate, dark chocolate, banana cream sauce and more.

Favorite restaurants include Café du Monde, a New Orleans signature French cafe. Be sure to stop by the original location at 800 Decatur Street and see how the new beignets and French donuts are made. The only thing better than looking at them is actually eating them! Another restaurant, billed as the “Total Cajun Experience” is Michaul’s Cajun Restaurant, featuring mouth-watering Cajun/Creole cuisine and live Cajun music performed nightly. For a more formal setting, your group will enjoy Copeland’s of New Orleans, where one will experience southern cuisine with a simple Cajun flair. Additionally, student group favorites include Bubba Gump Shrimp, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Hard Rock Café, Steamboat Natchez Dinner Cruise and Creole Queen Dinner Jazz Cruise.

Attractions / museums

The most famous streets of the French Quarter, Bourbon and Royal, offer student groups a unique architectural view of 18th century New Orleans. Stretching 13 blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, Bourbon Street is primarily known for its festive atmosphere and the site of the Mardi Gras Parade. With many unique shops, restaurants and clubs, Bourbon Street is a “can’t miss” part of your trip. On Royal Street, iron balconies and outdoor patios decorate the street that gives student groups a sense of 18th century architectural design, where there are more shops and restaurants.

One of the most famous landmarks of New Orleans in the French Quarter is Jackson Square. Called “Place d’Armes” until the beginning of the 19th century, it was renamed for the Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson. Jackson Square is surrounded by historic buildings such as the St. Louis Cathedral, several Louisiana State Museums and the Mount Pontalba Apartments, the oldest apartment buildings in the country. Your student group can get their picture taken in front of a bronze statue of Andrew Jackson and his horse. Or, to get a big picture of the entire square, take your group to Washington Artillery Park, which overlooks the entire square.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France (St. Louis Cathedral) is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the country. The original structure, built in the early 18th century, was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1788. Also in 1794 and again in the 19th century, the church is now one of the most popular landmarks in New Orleans. Your student group can attend a Mass, explore the church or enjoy the free classical concerts held regularly in the cathedral.

A visit to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, where your group can look behind the curtain and see Mardi Gras in action. From concept to completion, Mardi Gras artists create and build the parade for the annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans and Universal Studios Florida®. This is true in the world of wonder, creativity and pageantry.

New Orleans offers over 40 museums including history, art, Mardi Gras, family/children, nature and religion museums. Some of the more popular museums include:

Old US Mint Museum – Built in 1835, the Old US Mint is the only building in the United States to serve as both a United States and a Confederate Mint. President Andrew Jackson advocated the establishment of the Mint in order to aid the economic development of the nation’s western frontier.

Louisiana Civil War Museum – The Louisiana Civil War Museum is one of the largest collections of Confederacy-related artifacts and memorabilia in the United States, in addition to being the longest-running museum in Louisiana. .

National World War II Museum – This museum is a must-see for history buffs and enthusiasts. Designated by the US Congress as the nation’s official World War II Museum, the powerful images and stunning artifacts capture the American spirit of courage, teamwork and sacrifice of the young men and women who win the battle that changed the world.

New Orleans Museum of Art – The neo-classical, Beaux Arts-style New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) houses a $200 million collection of 4,000 years of art history in 46 galleries.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art – This museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of southern art in the world. Featuring art spanning 15 southern states and the District of Columbia, the museum celebrates the art, history and culture of the American south. Named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2001, it is the first museum in Louisiana to receive this prestigious designation.

Audubon Aquarium of America – Located along the Mississippi River, the Audubon Aquarium of America has 15,000 marine life specimens, representing 600 species.

Audubon Insectarium – If it walks, crawls or flies, your group will have a good chance of seeing it on display at the Audubon Insectarium.

Audubon Zoo – The Audubon Zoo is an outdoor/indoor museum filled with some of nature’s rarest and most beautiful creatures. The Audubon Zoo has 58 acres of animals in their natural habitats. The Zoo is always among the best in the country.

Known as a popular destination for ghost hunters, New Orleans is also famous for its ghost tours, where many underground tombs abound. Due to the high water table of the area, the settlers were unable to bury the coffins of their loved ones, so most of the cemeteries in the city are above ground. There are many ghost tours you and your group of students can go on. Explore one of the 40 tombs with St. Louis dead. Many famous New Orleanians reside in the St. Louis cemetery including sugar pioneer Etienne Bore, Homer Plessy (of the Civil Rights case Plessy v. Ferguson) and Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. A ghost tour of St. Louis Cemetery will provide your group with a hauntingly good time.

Of special note, the Cajun Pride Swamp Boat Tour is always a highlight for student groups. Experiencing the famous Manchac swamp is a highlight of student group itineraries. The tour takes your group back to the early days of Louisiana swamp and bayou exploration. Your group will see swamp creatures like alligators, snakes, many kinds of birds like the Cajun city of Frenier. This unique trip is one that your student body will always remember.


New Orleans is known by many as the birthplace of Jazz and is an ideal destination to enhance your student performance groups appreciation for jazz and many other types of music. It seems that when you walk through the streets of New Orleans, you always hear music. There are many musicians who perform throughout the French Quarter and other areas with parks, etc. For example, the New Orleans Jazz Historical Park gives groups the opportunity to learn about the rich musical history of New Orleans jazz. There are many free concerts and music workshops offered throughout the year, which your portfolio can be a part of.

Jazz and Heritage Foundation and French Quarter Festivals, Inc. hosts many free concerts and festivals throughout the year including Satchmo SummerFest, which celebrates the life of New Orleans-born trumpeter Louis Armstrong, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, Congo Square Rhythms Festival, French Quarter Festival and Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, among many others.

From April to July, Lafayette Square hosts free concerts from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Many bands perform various types of music during the twelve-week festival.

If you are a middle school or high school band, singer or songwriter, career opportunities are abundant throughout New Orleans. Performances include Jackson Square, Riverwalk Marketplace, Creole Queen Dinner Jazz Cruise, Steamboat Natchez and several local cathedrals. Workshops can also be pre-arranged at Loyola University for bands, choirs and ensembles.

On a more serious note…

Understanding what New Orleans has been through the events of Hurricane Katrina can be an important part of your student group’s travel itinerary. A visit to the 8th or 9th ward will highlight the ongoing restoration efforts and will give your students the opportunity to volunteer, thus embracing the theme of service. There are many opportunities for student groups to assist in these efforts including volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank, helping to rebuild schools or paint houses, and more.

Overall, New Orleans is a fun city with an energy that always buzzes. New Orleans should be at the top of the list when coaches are choosing destinations for their student body tour. With its many exciting attractions, historic museums, delicious food, amazing music venues, and renaissance activities, New Orleans will entertain your student body like no other city. The magic in New Orleans runs deep. When you leave, the fun and excitement goes with you.

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