5 Best Photo Opportunities in New Orleans

Photo Opportunities New Orleans

Lee Van Grack

Many things come to mind when you think of New Orleans, Louisiana: The Big Easy, Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, beignets, fleur-de-lis, Fat Tuesday, NOLA, jazz, and Mardi Gras, just to name a few. The music is vibrant, the food is spicy, the people are friendly, and the city is charming. Here are my top five best photo opportunities in New Orleans, Louisiana.

1. Romantic: Mule-Drawn Carriage Ride

A romantic way to get a look at the French Quarter is to take a mule-drawn carriage ride. The carriage driver will also serve as your tour guide, explaining the history of New Orleans and sharing interesting facts about the area. Beware - they may tell tall tales to get your business, but there's no doubt that you'll be entertained. While on your ride, you can snap some photos of the beautiful wrought iron balconies and historic buildings in the French Quarter, or you can even ask the carriage driver to take your photo for a romantic souvenir of your trip.

Hours: Daytime and nighttime tours are available 8:30AM-midnight
Cost: $75 for a half-hour tour (up to four people) or $150 for an hour (up to four people)

Tours depart from the 700 block of Decatur St. at Jackson Square.

Tip: In the extreme summer heat, you may not see the carriages. The company and city regulate the tours to ensure the safety and health of the mules.

2. Quirky: Bourbon Street

Take a stroll down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, one of the most famous streets in the nation, and you'll find some of the quirkiest photo opportunities in New Orleans. Jazz musicians, dancers, magicians and mimes populate the street, and its assortment of shops, strip clubs and bars makes it one of the most unique places in the city. If you want a truly memorable photo, approach one of the Bourbon Street denizens and pose for a picture, or take a shot of one of the eclectic storefronts.

3. Family Fun: Sculptures at Riverwalk Marketplace

Riverwalk Marketplace is home to stores, restaurants, live entertainment, a chocolate factory and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. What I enjoyed most about this area, though, was the fun, colorful sculptures just outside the shopping center. There is a huge Mardi Gras character sculpture and a giant fleur-de-lis with eyes. Your kids will love to interact with the sculptures, providing you with one of your best family photo opportunity in New Orleans.

Hours: Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun noon-6PM

Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., Suite 101, New Orleans, LA 70130, (504) 522-1555

Parking is available in the Hilton garage, the Riverside Parking Surface Lot (at Convention Center Boulevard and Julia Street) or the World Trade Center Garage for $5 for up to 4 hours with a $10 purchase and validation. You can also take the Riverfront Streetcar or the Canal Street Ferry.

4. Scenic: French Quarter Neon and the French Market

Throughout the French Quarter, you'll find an assortment of neon signs for jazz clubs, bars, restaurants, strip clubs, and souvenir shops, all competing for your attention. Of course, neon always looks best at night, but you can also get some great shots in the late afternoon or on overcast days. Another area to visit for scenic New Orleans photos is the French Market, made up of six blocks of shops and restaurants, a farmers market, and a flea market. All kinds of arts, handmade crafts, clothing and souvenirs can be found here. I was fascinated by the colorful, sequined Mardi Gras dolls, which are said to bring good luck. I also enjoyed photographing the color and symmetry of sunglasses that were on display in "America's Oldest Public Market."

Hours: Farmers market is open daily 9AM-6PM. Flea market is open seven days a week 7AM-7PM.

French Market, 1008 North Peters St., New Orleans, LA, 70116, (504) 522-2621

Three parking lots are available, or you can take Riverside Streetcar to stops No. 1, 2 and 3.

5. Classic: Jackson Square

Jackson Square is overflowing with historic buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral, as well as the Presbytere and Cabildo, which both form part of the Louisiana State Museum complex. You'll also find shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and the Lower and Upper Pontalba Apartments -- the nation's oldest apartment buildings. Offering one of the top photo opportunities New Orleans has to offer, Jackson Square is the place to capture the classic shot of the Andrew Jackson statue with the St. Louis Cathedral in the background.

Jackson Square, Decatur St. between Jax Brewery Shopping Mall and the French Market, New Orleans, LA 70116

Tip: Across the street from Jackson Square, you'll find the famous Cafe Du Monde, serving the famous New Orleans staple – beignets and chicory coffee. Just outside the Jackson Square grounds, you'll see artists selling and creating their artwork. If you try to photograph them and their work, they may ask you to stop unless you give them money.

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