Outside the French Quarter: The “Other” New Orleans

ATA’s 59th Annual Conference is set for October 24–27, 2018, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Planning for ATA59 is well underway. Distinguished speakers have been invited to submit proposals, and session proposals for a variety of languages and specializations are coming in on pace with last year. Speakers come from all over the world to share their experience and expertise with attendees. ATA59 is shaping up to be another great conference for professional translators and interpreters who want to hone their professional skills, stay abreast of changes in the profession, reunite with cherished colleagues and make new acquaintances, and, of course, network with potential clients. If you need some inspiration, visit the ATA58 homepage (www.atanet.org/conf/2017) to see videos and photos from last year, watch a sample session from the Virtual Conference, and much more. I hope to see you in New Orleans where we’ll “let the good times roll!”

Speaking of New Orleans, when most people hear the name, they probably think of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. They envision nightclubs, restaurants, and partying on the street, but there’s a lot more to New Orleans than just the French Quarter. Here’s some information about the “Other” New Orleans to help you plan your visit during ATA59. (See the list below for links.)

First, 2018 marks New Orleans’ Tricentennial, so there will be celebratory events throughout the year. Several infrastructure projects have been launched to make the city even more inviting. A number of green spaces in the city have been improved, a new terminal is scheduled to open at the Louis Armstrong Airport in February, and work has begun on a $6 million renovation of the French Quarter surface and underground infrastructure, including converting some sections to pedestrian zones.

Before I can tell you what’s outside the French Quarter, you should know where it is. “The Quarter” as locals call it, comprises a roughly 14 x 6 block area bordering the Mississippi River that’s the oldest section of New Orleans. From the river on the south side, it extends north to Rampart Street (Louis Armstrong Park) and is bounded on the east by Esplanade Avenue and on the west by Canal Street. Our conference hotel, the New Orleans Marriott, is located at the western edge of the French Quarter at 555 Canal Street.

Nearby points of interest include the St. Louis Cemeteries and their above-ground vaults, of which Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. It’s located just north of the French Quarter and is the resting place of Homer Plessy, the French-speaking Creole plaintiff in Plessy vs. Ferguson, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case challenging segregation. You’ll also find the grave of Marie Leveau, the renowned voodoo priestess. You can only enter No. 1 with a registered tour operator, but the other cemeteries don’t charge admission. Cemetery No. 2, located three blocks from Cemetery No. 1, was consecrated in 1823 and is the resting place of many early jazz musicians and notable New Orleanians from the 19th century. Cemetery No. 3 is located about two miles from the French Quarter, and the tombs there are generally more ornate than in No. 1 or 2.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located about five blocks from the New Orleans Marriott on the river. The 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit is home to 15,000 aquatic animals, and you can also walk through a 30-foot long Caribbean Reef tunnel. Tickets are $29.95 plus tax. Audubon Park, home to the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Nature Institute, is located in the Garden District. In addition to the thousands of animals in natural habitats, the park is a beautiful green space with oak trees and lagoons.

New Orleans is home to more than 45 museums encompassing various aspects of art, history, and culture. You may be surprised to learn that TripAdvisor rates the National World War II Museum as the top tourist destination in New Orleans and the #2 museum, not only in the U.S. but the entire world. Its immersive exhibits and multimedia experiences, including the stirring 4D “cinematic experience” Beyond All Boundaries, narrated by executive producer Tom Hanks, bring to life the American experience on the home front and the battlefields of WWII.

If art is more your style, try the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden at City Park (an attraction by itself) or one of the countless art galleries on Royal Street in the French Quarter, Julia Street in the Arts District, Magazine Street in the Garden District, or St. Claude in the Bywater.

Got a “desire” for an extremely inexpensive tour of the city? Then take a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar Line, the oldest continuously operated streetcar in the world. For just $1.25 each way (exact change required, or buy a one- or three-day pass online), ride on a mahogany seat with brass fittings and travel 13 miles—from Canal Street in the Central Business District (CBD), around the Riverbend along St. Charles Avenue Pass under majestic live oaks and past numerous antebellum mansions, historic monuments, and through the grounds of the Audubon Zoological Gardens. There’s plenty of shopping and restaurants along the way as well. The Canal Streetcar Line can take you from the New Orleans Marriott through the CBD into Mid-City, a neighborhood featuring many restaurants and bars near the historic cemeteries. A secondary line can take you to City Park mentioned earlier. If you don’t want to walk, the Riverfront Line will take you from the Aquarium to the French Market District.

New Orleans loves festivals! It seems like there’s a different festival almost every week, celebrating everything from jazz music to literature and film and, of course, culinary festivals that pay homage to Po-Boys, seafood, and even fried chicken. There are 16 festivals (yes, 16!), scheduled for the month of October 2018 alone. The details for most are not yet available, but they include Oktoberfest, the Blues and BBQ Fest, Carnival Latino, the LGBT Halloween Fest, a “Mac and Cheese” Fest, and for ATA President Corinne McKay, a Beignet Festival. (See the link for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation below.)

These are just a few of the multitude of things to see and do “Outside the Quarter.” For more information about New Orleans in general and things to do outside ATA’s Annual Conference, visit the New Orleans Official Guide online.

What to do and see in New Orleans!

New Orleans Official Guide
www.neworleansonline.com

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/aquarium

Audubon Nature Institute
https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/nature-center

Audubon Park
https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/audubon-park

Audubon Zoo
https://audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo

City Park
http://neworleanscitypark.com

French Market District
www.frenchmarket.org

Mid-City
www.experienceneworleans.com/mid-city.html

National World War II Museum
www.nationalww2museum.org

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation
www.jazzandheritage.org

New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden
https://noma.org

St. Charles Streetcar Line
http://bit.ly/NewOrleans-streetcars

St. Louis Cemeteries
https://nolacatholiccemeteries.org

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