A stroll through New Orleans will usher you through time, with remnants of the city's French Colonial past still standing today, almost two hundred years after the Louisiana Purchase. At the same time, the city doesn't dwell on the past, as the Central Business District is where you'll find modern buildings, upscale hotels and posh restaurants. St. Charles Avenue is the bloodline of the city, linking the French Quarter, the Garden District and Uptown. The country's oldest running streetcar runs along St. Charles, sparking thoughts of Tennessee William's classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire,which was set in New Orleans. Of course, at no time does the city loom larger in the world's collective conscience than during Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.
Beads become more valuable than diamonds, and the city throws itself into full hedonist mode to celebrate the last day before Lent. The French Quarter sums up New Orleans better than anywhere else. While Bourbon Street is replete with bars, clubs, and a general anything goes atmosphere, you'll also find the solemn and beautiful St. Louis Cathedral. New Orleans laissez-faire attitude amongst quaint streets and colonial homes makes for the perfect combination of old and new, strict and indulgent. New Orleans is at once approachable and mysterious.