Five Things You Should Know About New Orleans

We picked up a decent amount of information from people who'd been there, but there were a few more points I wish I'd known first.

  • It's pronounced OR-lins. Not or-LEANS, although I did hear OR-leans on the radio once. (Of course, once you get back to wherever you live, your friends are going to be hella confused.)
  • Things are actually kind of expensive. Especially after Hurricane Katrina, housing prices went up; meals aren't any cheaper than anywhere else; and the state levies a 4% sales tax plus an additional 5.5% from the city, and then there's a little more on the food (I think). Aaagh!
  • The St. Charles streetcar is awesome, and you should ride it through at least once. It's all historic and stuff, as well as being a really great way of getting from one side of the city to the other (the other main one is the Canal Street one).
  • Air-conditioning: it's on. (This one is really for ecofreaks.) Louisiana is massively humid for a large part of the year (and I didn't even go during the summer!), it's not long before you start appreciating the chilly indoors.
  • CASH: you need it. As the hostel owner said, LA is thirty years behind in some ways...and the biggest is that a lot of stores don't take credit cards. Including Cafe du Monde, which you have to go to because that's the only way to pay homage to the king of donuts, beignets.

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