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7 reasons I’m in love with New Orleans — and you should be, too

Nov. 09, 2021
6 min read
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information.

Ask anyone who knows me about how much I love New Orleans, and they'll tell you my eyes light up and I can talk about the magic of the city for a solid half-hour without taking a breath. Can you blame me, though? There's no other destination in the world quite like it.

Just stepping foot in this resilient, diverse and collaborative city can give you a deeper sense of purpose and belonging. It's a city that's upbeat and steeped in tradition, playful and downright delicious. It's New Orleans, after all.

If you know, you know — and if you haven't been, well, you'll probably end up booking your flight before the end of this article. Here's why I'm so obsessed with the vibrant city of New Orleans.

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The food is incredible

(Gumbo from Galatoire's. Photo courtesy of Galatoire's.)

I could write an entire novel just about how amazing the food is in this city. From the classics like jambalaya and po'boys to more modern crazes from Turkey and the Wolf, you're going to want to bring your stretchy pants.

It's not a trip without beignets from Café du Monde or Morning Call, and don't you even think about leaving without a muffuletta. Some of my other favorite restaurants include Galatoire's, Restaurant R'evolution, Willa Jean and GW Fins, among others.

Like I said: I could write a novel about the food alone.

The people are so welcoming

I have yet to find another place on the planet where the people welcome you into their city with open arms (and probably a steaming cup of gumbo). Everyone is so happy to have you here and celebrate all of the things that make you unique.

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Come as you are and be unapologetically yourself.

Related: The first-timer's guide to New Orleans

It's full of opportunity

(Photo by Cavan Images/Getty Images)

New Orleans is full of opportunities to give back to the city that gives so much of itself to everyone who's ever been there.

In fact, my alma mater, Tulane University, has a built-in service-learning element in its curriculum. Every student must complete community service hours before they graduate. For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the city and the people who made it so amazing, especially in the years after Hurricane Katrina while the city was rebuilding. As a student, I tutored students in English in a nearby charter school.

If you're interested in more opportunities like this, I recommend looking into other notable programs such as Grow Dat Youth Farm and Habitat for Humanity.

The music moves you

(A jazz band plays on Bourbon St. Photo by Simplyphotos/Getty Images)

If you haven't heard how incredible New Orleans' music scene is, well, where have you been all this time? With venues like Tipitina's, Maple Leaf and virtually all of Frenchmen Street — not to mention street players on every corner — there's music floating around pretty much everywhere.

New Orleans is music.

You can catch a cheap show any night of the week, but if you're a music fanatic, head there for Jazz Fest. It's more than two weeks of nonstop music ranging from rock to jazz and everything in between from some of the biggest names in the business to New Orleans' locals. (The festival in 2022 will happen from April 29 to May 8.) Oh, and please, whatever you do, don't forget the Crawfish Monica.

The cityscape is beautiful

Few cities are as unique and beautiful to explore than New Orleans.

Find me a park more picturesque than Audubon or City Park, and I'll buy you a plate of the "World's Best Fried Chicken" from legendary Willie Mae's Scotch House. If parks aren't your thing, have a picnic on the water with your friends at The Fly to watch the sunset. It doesn't hurt that the weather rarely drops below 40 degrees here, so you'll definitely be able to sit outside all year long.

The architecture, too, is stunning. Walking around New Orleans is like taking a stroll in Europe — and also the Caribbean. You almost forget you're still in the U.S. The French Quarter is the original part of the city and has a striking mix of French and Spanish design elements. Head uptown to the Garden District by taking the streetcar along St. Charles and feel like you're in a classic film.

And yes, there's Mardi Gras

(The Zulu Parade performs on the streets of New Orleans Photo by Emily Kask/AFP/Getty Images)

Come one, come all, to the greatest show on Earth. Mardi Gras is even more fun than you've likely heard, but you're going to want to pace yourself. It's a marathon, not a sprint, as any Tulane grad will instantly remind you. It's five days filled with parades, music, food and yes, copious amounts of booze.

Get out your craziest outfits and join the fanfare for a week.

You can't beat the mindset

There's a feeling you get when the plane lands at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY) that you're just supposed to be here. In NOLA, life slows down a bit and the world becomes a little more colorful. Life is meant to be celebrated here, so stop and smell the crabmeat — and have a Sazerac while you're at it.

See you at the airport.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023