New Orleans is proud of its nickname, "Big Easy", because it so aptly describes the relaxed, hospitable attitude of this lovely city of intertwining cultures. The city’s continued recovery from the devastation of hurricane Katrina is testament to its pride and strength of character. The French Quarter is the oldest part of the city: a mix of clubs, shops, restaurants, voodoo vendors, and beautiful homes. Bourbon Street and its cross streets house most of the tourist bars and clubs, but the place where most people head for music in the French Quarter is around North Peters, Decatur and North Rampart streets.
Another French Quarter center of activity is Jackson Square. It was built as a parade ground for the French Army and was later used by the Spanish, Confederate and U.S. armies for the same purpose. Visitors can take the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, which passes by the Garden District that is home to beautiful 19th-century mansions. A stroll around the Garden District with its quiet, oak-shaded sidewalks is a welcome contrast to bustling Bourbon Street. New Orleans retains an Old World charm, carefully preserving its history, its reputation for world-famous jazz and outstanding cuisine, and its romantic Creole heritage.