This is the birthplace of jazz, so it follows that holidays to New Orleans are tops for live music. It's everywhere you go, drifting through windows and out of doors, but not only jazz - R&B, blues, zydeco and Cajun, too. Try the clubs along Bourbon Street or Frenchmen Street, where there's something for all tastes; jazz purists should head for famed Preservation Hall.
It's all about the animals at the Audubon Nature Institute. At the zoo you can watch white tigers, elephants, bears and orangutans in their natural environments. The Aquarium of the Americas gives the chance to go eye-to-eye with 600 species of marine life, including rare white alligators. And the Insectarium is just perfect for fans of creepy crawlies.
The Big Easy calendar is packed with festivals - the icing on the cake being the famous Mardi Gras celebrations, when the city is awash with parades, parties, and costumed revellers. But equally fabulous are the ten-day April-May Jazz Fest, which is a feast of live music; the March Tennessee Williams Literary Festival; and scores more.
A trip out through the bayous to visit the Deep South's old plantations is a must on holidays to New Orleans. Step back to the time when slaves toiled to bring in the sugar crop by touring fantastic old antebellum mansions like Oak Alley Plantation.
Café Du Monde
This café in the French Market is a New Orleans institution - it's open 24 hours and it's the place to eat delicious warm French beignets (like doughnuts),sprinkled with sugar. Wash them down with a café au lait, or do as the locals do and order a chicory coffee.