Haven’t yet gotten around to visiting New Orleans? New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, home to Creole cuisine and rich with history and culture. Before you go, there’s some interesting facts about the ‘Big Easy’ that you should know…
From having more canals than Venice in Italy to its historic New Orleans Streetcar, this city is truly unique. Here’s seven things you need to know about NOLA.
Interesting Facts About New OrleansHow do these rankings work?
1. New Orleans’ nickname of the Big Easy was coined by a gossip columnist in the 1960s
“In the 1960s, New Orleans gossip columnist Betty Guillaud allegedly coined the moniker while comparing ‘the Big Easy’ to ‘the Big Apple,'” Reader’s Digest writer Juliana Labianca writes. While New Yorkers were always running around, laid-back life in New Orleans was the norm, hence, The Big Easy.
2. Bourbon Street’s name has nothing to do with alcohol
New Orleans’ popular Bourbon Street in the historic French Quarter has nothing to do with the whiskey. It was actually named after the Bourbon dynasty of France.
3. New Orleans has more mileage of canals than Venice, Italy
The city’s canals were built to drain New Orleans’s swamps and marshes in the early 20th century. Now, there are 90 miles of covered drainage canals, and 82 miles of open channel canals.
4. Beignets were first introduced to the city by the French-Creole colonists in the 18th century
What are beignets? They’re little pillows of perfection: deep fried dough is covered with mounds of powdered sugar. Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter is oldest and most iconic beignet shop, but you can see our full list of the best places to grab New Orleans beignets here.
5. The New Orleans Streetcar is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world
New Orleans’ streetcar system is a charming way to explore the city. Rumbling down the ”neutral ground” or middle of St. Charles and Carrollton avenues for more than 150 years, the St. Charles Streetcar has become a symbol of the charm and romance of New Orleans.
6. You can visit New Orleans voodoo queen Marie Laveau’s tomb
St. Louis Cemetery attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. Born in 1801 in the French Quarter to a Haitian mother and white father, voodoo queen Marie Laveau is famous in the city and beyond. Many believe she continues to work her magic from beyond the grave.
7. It’s illegal to ride on a Mardi Gras float without a mask!
Mardi Gras has been going strong since 1699 and shows no sign of slowing down. Masking became a tradition because during early Carnivals, people put on masks to be able to mingle outside their class and keep their reputation golden.
Float riders must wear masks by law in keeping with the mystery and tradition, and many krewes never reveal who their king or queen is.
Looking for fun things to do in the Big Easy? Check out our guide here, from jazz clubs to New Orleans Aquarium.