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Orleans Tourist Info
The Louisiana State Museum - Every state has one, but this one is really good.
The Audubon Zoo and Aquarium - Two things that the city does right. I like the landscaping as much as the animals. The Aquarium of the Americas - 1 Canal St., New Orleans, LA 70130. Home of more than 7500 aquatic specimens. Four major habitats including the Caribbean Reef and one of the world's largest collections of sharks. (504) 861-2537 ext. 340.
The Audubon Zoological Gardens - 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70118. One of the top zoos in the country. Over 1500 animals in their natural habitat settings, including white alligators in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. (504) 861-2537 ext. 340.
The Super Dome - Louisiana Super dome - 1500 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70112. Home of super events. From sports events to rock concerts to Mardi Gras parades. Guided tours daily. (504) 587-3808.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - The biggest festival in Louisiana. They let me exhibit my work sometimes. Many people plan their life around this festival. Last year I heard Pete Fountain and was blown away - there's a reason he is a jazz cliche. Pete is a colorful character and very well liked in the community. He should be more appreciated for his music. He is one person that I would have liked to be good friends with.
Bobby Lounge - Bobby enjoys writing songs about the south and about people with robust lifestyles. He chooses to avoid the limelight when not performing on stage. However, on stage, Bobby is a energetic entertainer in the tradition of Little Richard, Bobby Marchand, and Jerry Lee Lewis. His song writing style has been described as "Randy Newman with bite." Some songs are not appropriate for children.
Gambit - A lively New Orleans weekly newspaper. Every city has a hip weekly, and this is it. They have a good listing of area restaurants.
Greater New Orleans Black Tourism Network - 1520 Sugar Bowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112. . (800) 725-5652.
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau - 1520 Sugar Bowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112. (504) 566-5005, e-mail email@example.com
New Orleans Visitors Information Center - 7450 Paris Rd., New Orleans, LA 70128. Maps,brochures, discount coupons (504) 246-5666, (504) 246-5511.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge - 1010 Gause Blvd., Bldg. 936, Slidell, LA 70458.Fish, hike, bike or canoe the wildest part of New Orleans. Free tours every weekend in a prime birding area. These scenic wetlands are 20 mins. from the French Quarter. (504) 646-7555.
A Confederacy of Dunces tour of New Orleans
There's nowhere in the world quite like New Orleans, and in the world of literature there no book quite like A Confederacy of Dunces. So, it is entirely natural that the city is integral to the book. In case you haven't read or heard of A Confederacy of Dunces is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by John Kennedy Toole. Not only is the book hilariously funny, New Orleans plays a key role in it.
A Confederacy of Dunces was written in the mid-Sixties and Toole commited suicide in 1969 with the book unpublished. It was his mother who managed to get the book published eight years after he died. Three years after that, the book won the highest literary prize in the country and JK Toole's reputation was sealed. The hero, or anti-hero, of the book is Ignatius J Reilly, a large and very eccentric 30-year-old with a passion for medieval philosophy and burping. He spends quite a lot of his time in his room, not playing partypoker (this is the 60s after all), but writing his memoirs and playing the lute, amongst other things. You can visit many of the places mentioned in the book.
D.H. Holmes Department Store
Start with the D.H. Holmes Department Store on Canal Street, as it's where the book starts. Although this is now the Chateau Sonesta Hotel, it is where the book starts and you can see a brass statue of Ignatius himself under the clock where he waits for his mother. You can also nip round the corner to see Royal Street, where he wanders into a Penny Arcade.
Bourbon Street & the Night of Joy
Ignatius and his mother then head to The Night of Joy strip club and bar, a spot where lots of action takes place. Although Bourbon Street has been seriously tidied up since the 60s, the street is still there and you can use your imagination to give it a suitably down-at-heel feel.
The Reilly house
Although you can't see the actual Reilly's house, you can visit the street. The book indicates it is towards the river from Constantinople Street - this is the Touro neighbourhood. Wander round and soak it up.
Get a copy of the book
The best thing to do is buy a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces and underline all of the street names that Toole gives and then head there. The book is a comic masterpiece, and a Dunces tour of New Orleans will really help bring it alive.
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