The joys of a swamp tour
Soak up the atmosphere
FACTFILE NEW ORLEANS
Unfortunately. direct flights from the UK to New Orleans are few and far between. In fact. there aren't any. British Ain/vays. Virgin Atlantic. Continental, American and Delta all connect through different pants in the US. so finding the most convenient way is up to you. One thing to remember is to book hotels early. Mardi Gras 2002 runs from the 19 January until the 12 February. and New Orleans's Jazz Festival is another event that will have any spare hotel rooms snatched up as quick as a pizza at a Scottish Slimmers meeting. Plan ahead: you don't want to be spending your trip sleeping in a parking garage.
There are more places to go for general information on New Orleans than even a fortune-teller could see. The city's official web page (wwwnew-orleanslaus) is a great place for all you w0uld ever need to know abOut the city. And if a listing of events and gigs is what you are searching for. Inside New Orleans lwwwinsideneworleanscom) is wonh checking out. There is also New Orleans' Convention and Visitor's Bureau at
it a I I
1520 Sugar Bowl Drive (tel: 001 504 566 501 1) for the benefit of those without a computer.
A good way to take in the sights is by setting out on one of the many informational tours that are always widely available. Topics range from the city's haunted history to a boat tour of the swamps that surround the area. Other notables are Voodoo tours. a bus trip that will take you past the many mansion houses in New Orleans (including Anne Rice's) or even a guided walk through the cemeteries. Most of them are worth the money (they range anywhere from 85—915). and almost all of them shed new light on Louisiana's offerings. The choice is yours.
New Orleans is probably more famous for its music than anything else. You can hear jazz almost anywhere within the French Quarter. but sometimes the tunes are geared more towards the tourists than the true music connoisseur. The Louis Armstrong Foundation Jazz Club or even the Preservation Hall are your best bets.
break in London you might want to pick up its Out To Eat — London 2002 guide. while further afield there are new guides to Catalunya and
Festivals, flights and fabulous fares.
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The Blues Highway: New Orleans To Chicago - A Travel and Music Guide (Trailblazer £12.99) 0.00
NEW alums unleash
A labour of love from the former Young Travel Writer Of The Year, broadsheet freelancer and founder of Roots Of Rhythm Travel. Knight’s guide sets out to explore the roots of jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco, country and rock music as they lead from New Orleans, across the Mississippi Delta to Memphis and Nashville, St. Louis and finally into Chicago following Highways 61 and 55, the journey made by many African-Americans from the cotton fields defining American music as they went.
It’s a tough call in 305 pages with a rather obvious Rough Guide template, but goddammit if this boy don’t almost pull it off! Fascinating inserts, interviews and potted histories sit alongside town grids, concise notes, glossy pictures and well researched local information. On top of this, some real forgotten heroes emerge from the journey, in particular the daddy of the blues, Charley Patton. A must for musicians and musicologists alike. (Paul Dale)
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