This is the riverboat Natchez. It does daily cruises on the Mississippi River. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Must-do things in New Orleans for first-time visitors

First time in New Orleans? Hosting friends/family who have never been to New Orleans before? We’ve got you covered. The city is jam-packed with things to do, but there are a few classics you need to hit. These are the places everyone is going to ask you about when you get home. This list should keep you busy for a two or three-day weekend trip. And, please bring your appetite.

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There's free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

This is the Louisiana Welcome Center on I-10 near the Mississippi state line. There’s free Community Coffee inside if you stop by. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

BASIC ADVICE

Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to do a lot of walking and our sidewalks are uneven. Skip the fashion show and wear something you can walk several miles in. No one cares if you are wearing sneakers, slip-ons or flip-flops. Most places don’t have a dress code and won’t care what your footwear looks like.

In the summer, grab a hat if you are going to be outside. We have plenty of hat stores here if you want to buy one. Here’s more advice about picking a hat and where to get one in New Orleans.

Leave your big purse at home. Minimize what you are carrying around. Get a small, crossbody purse, small clutch or a wallet in your front pocket. Big purses are easy to grab on the street and you don’t want to juggle it in a crowded bar. Continue reading

Mardi Gras 2014 (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

2015 New Orleans Mardi Gras parade schedule (and parade suggestions)

Happy Carnival season! One of the biggest misconceptions we’ve run into with new residents about this time of year is that Mardi Gras is a single day. Technically, it’s true – “Mardi Gras” is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. However, Carnival season – which ends with Mardi Gras – is several weeks. That means multiple days of parades, king cakes and Mardi Gras festivities. This year, we are getting a good three weeks of parades.

Things kicked off last week with the very lewd (and creative) Krewe du Vieux in the French Quarter. Check out our Instagram page for photos or swing on over to LA to NOLA for more pix from that night. Here’s a relatively tamed snippet from it:

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Exhibit Be in Algiers (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Must-do free thing in New Orleans: Exhibit Be

Exhibit Be calls itself one of the largest street art installations in the American South. It’s part of the citywide Prospect 3 art event, and it closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Best part – Exhibit Be is totally free.

It’s open from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. today.

For Exhibit Be, several talented street artists covered an empty apartment complex in Algiers with art. The art is meant to spark a discussion about urban blight and affordable housing, among other things. Read more about Exhibit Be.

Exhibit Be closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Here's the schedule. (image via Exhibit Be)

Exhibit Be closes today (Jan. 19) for good. Here’s the schedule. (image via Exhibit Be)

Today, Exhibit Be is going out with a bang. There’s a full lineup of musicians, with Erykah Badu headlining. Also on today’s list:

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Christmas in Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Caroling in Jackson Square – what you need to know

We’re caroling in Jackson Square tonight (Dec. 21) with a thousand or so of our closest friends.  It’s a free, magical event in New Orleans. Open to everyone. And again, 100 percent free.

The event starts at 7. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

French Quarter Festivals Inc. hosts Caroling in Jackson Square. (photo via FQF Inc.)

Song sheets and lights are provided. Arrive early because this is a popular event and you want to get inside the gates. Christmas attire is encouraged. Think sweaters, Santa hats, bells, etc.

You stand while you carol so wear comfortable shoes. Don’t bring chairs unless you physically need one.

If it is raining, the event will be moved inside the cathedral. Seats/pews are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Plenty of places to park:
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LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (photo b y Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

LUNA Fete: must-see New Orleans event this week

We love free events and LUNA Fete is a spectacular one. It’s a dazzling light show this week only (ends Saturday, Dec. 6).

LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

LUNA fete at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2014 (Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

The show is projected on the front of Gallier Hall, which is near the corner of Poydras and St. Charles. It’s show at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Lasts 9 minutes and is a mini history of New Orleans. It’s beautiful and good for all ages.

The show is put on by the Arts Council of New Orleans. Read more about the show here.

Street parking is available, but go early if you want to score free parking. We went last night and fed quarters into one of the street meters.

Here are some of our pictures from Wednesday’s show:

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Thanksgiving turkey (photo by Tim Sackton/Creative Commons license)

Thanksgiving in New Orleans

Happy Thanksgiving! Will this be your first Turkey Day in New Orleans? You are in for a treat. Here are some options from our Instagram friends and other people we’ve asked.

• Grab your friends and cook a meal for Friendsgiving. Here are our foolproof recipes for a Southern Thanksgiving, including cornbread dressing.

• Head to a restaurant. These 5 places are cooking a classic spread. Don’t want turkey? All of these other restaurants are open.

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At the Louisiana Seafood Festival, food and drink vendors set up in City Park. No admission. Pay for what you eat. Good times. (photo of the 2013 festival by Carlie Kollath Wells/New in NOLA)

Meetup: Louisiana Seafood Festival this Saturday (Oct. 11)

We love seafood! How about you? If you’re like us, The Louisiana Seafood Festival is perfect for you. Free admission and tons of seafood vendors. You pay for what you eat so you control how much you spend.

Mr. B's served bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits at the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Festival. So good. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

Mr. B’s served bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits at the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Festival. So good. (photo by Carlie Kollath Wells, New in NOLA)

#NewinNOLA tip: It’s cash only so bring your money.

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tailgating in Champions Square during a 2013 game (image courtesy of Champions Square)

Advice for tailgating in Champions Square

Who dat!! That, my New in NOLA friends, is a phrase you should get used to in New Orleans. It is the rallying cry for Saints fans. Here’s the song to get you in the mood:

One of the best places to hear the cheer – and watch the Saints game – is inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. However, the majority of Saints fans don’t have gameday tickets so we find other options. Your next best bet for home games – free tailgating at Champions Square next to the Superdome. (Here are sports bar suggestions from Eater if you want to go that route)

Champions Square is an event space connected to the Superdome. It’s free to get in, there’s entertainment before the game and the game is shown on a big screen in the square.

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photo by Carlie Kollath Wells/NewinNOLA.com

Running with the Bulls in New Orleans: Advice for first timers

Planning to run with the (roller) bulls in New Orleans? Prepare yourself for a wildly fun morning. This year’s event is Saturday, July 12, 2014, at 8 a.m. sharp. Seriously, don’t be late or you are going to miss the event. This NOLA event actually starts on time.

Event summary for San Fermin in Nueva Orleans:

Hundreds of roller derby women (bulls) chase thousands of runners through a short course in the CBD and Warehouse District. The bulls have wiffle bats and spank runners during the race. The event raises money for the Animal Rescue New Orleans and the Louisiana Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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We ran with the bulls last year and had a blast. We’ll be there again Saturday with our Meetup friends. We’d love for you to join us.

Advice if you are a first-time runner this year:

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photo by Carlie Kollath Wells / New in NOLA

Happy 4th of July (meetup info)

Happy 4th of July, y’all! Hope you are making the most of this three-day weekend. Want to watch fireworks tonight? Our Meetup friends are having a watch party tonight in the French Quarter. The group is meeting at 8:45 p.m. Click here for more info.

Happy 4th of July, y'all! How about this tasty snoball from Hansen's?! Yum. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

Happy 4th of July, y’all! How about this tasty snoball from Hansen’s?! Yum. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

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