By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My husband and I are leaving for New Orleans shortly. Any thoughts, suggestions as to economical, 'must see and do's'?

A: The BigEasy as New Orleans is dubbed is just that big and easy especially when it comes to budget travel. You don’t have to spend loads of greenbacks to enjoy the charm of this southern jewel. Depending on your interests, be it music, art, food, culture, you’ll find plenty of happenings many of them free or budget wise to suit your palette.

To assist in all things New Orleans, be sure to visit on the Internet. Launched by the New Orleans CVB last month, it is an interactive Web site and itinerary-planning tool for visitors who want to experience New Orleans culture as locals do.

Joanne Scalamogna, the Canadian PR rep for the Louisiana Office of Tourism notes the compactness of the city makes it easy to explore the city on foot. “I would suggest self-guided walking tours of the French Quarter and Garden District is most economical,” she offers and adds, “Once in New Orleans, visitors can make their first stop at the Louisiana welcome and information center located in the French Quarter at 529 St. Ann Street where they can pick-up a self-guided walking tour map or they may also visit the New Orleans CVB visitor information center located at 2020 St Charles Avenue for maps and information.”

The French Quarter Walking Tour Map can also be downloaded from In addition, be sure to check out these Big’n'Easy activities and events: The Jean Lafitte National Historic Park - French Quarter Visitor Center located at 419 Decatur Street interprets the city’s history and multicultural heritage. They have a free guided 90-minute walking tour of the French Quarter offered at 9:30 am and passes become available on a first-come-first-served basis at 9:00 am daily.

Now through September 30, the third annual culinary event, “COOLinary New Orleans – “A Celebration of Dining in America’s Most Delicious City” celebrates the cuisine that is an integral part of the city’s history and culture.

Participating restaurants are offering special three-course lunch menus for $20US or less and three-course dinner menus for $30US or less.

Lastly other not-to-be-missed places include Preservation Hall, St. Louis Cathedral, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Audubon Zoo, New Orleans Museum of Art, Sculpture Gardens, the National World War II Museum and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “And of course, a favorite of many is Café du Monde for some café au lait and beignets,” ends Joanne.


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