Happy birthday, New Orleans! This year, the city turns 300, counting from its formation as a French colony.
In the most recent of those 300 years, New Orleans has seen its share of negative headlines, from the challenges of ongoing post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding to mayoral corruption.
Tourism in the Crescent City is complicated, too. While New Orleans has become an ever-more-popular travel destination—10.45 million tourists traveled there in 2016, a record number, and that was before the New York Times named it first on its most recent list of 52 places to visit—short-term rentals have had consequences for the city’s neighborhoods, and the influx of tourists and the promotion of New Orleans as a travel destination continue to create rapid change.
We asked writers and photographers, all New Orleans residents, to explore what’s happening right now in the city. That includes attractions and activities for travelers—and in-depth looks at how neighborhoods are faring as tourism alters the city. (For more, we’re also covering the city daily on Curbed New Orleans.)
If you have only a limited amount of time in the city, we’ve rounded up things to do and sights to see in the places you’re most likely to be along the riverfront or in City Park. Visiting the city with kids? Want to focus on just the architectural highlights? We’ve got recommendations for you, too.
If you’re planning a longer stay—or a more immersive one—take a long walk along Esplanade Avenue or Bayou Road, two intersecting streets key to New Orleans history. Visit a lifestyle museum or two. Or dive into one of New Orleans’s ever-changing neighborhoods, from the Bywater to Treme. Wherever you go, this city will reward you with history, culture, and variety. —Sara Polsky
Writers: Megan Barber, Eric Craig, Anne Gisleson, Anya Groner, Cassie Pruyn, Kristina Kay Robinson, Alissa Walker
Photographers: Allison Beondé, Eric Craig, Akasha Rabut
Editors: Sara Polsky, Eric Craig, Sally Kuchar
Copy editor: Emma Alpern
Fact-checker: Dawn Mobley
Photo director: Audrey Levine
Special thanks: Kelsey Keith, Mariam Aldhahi, Mercedes Kraus