Extreme Cajun Country

Travel 2 hours west of New Orleans and you end up in Cajun country--land of the crawfish boil, swamps, snakes and gators!

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Digging at Fort St. Philip
Digging at Fort St. Philip

Digging at Fort St. Philip

The relic hunters of Dig Wars head down the Mississippi River to Fort Saint Philip, where they hope to dig up treasures from as early as the 18th century. Teammates Mark and Ron quickly duck out of sight in an attempt to distance themselves from the others. 960 1280

  

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Mark Slinkman and Ron Guinazzo head for the beach where they believe Hurricane Katrina has unearthed fresh ground. 960 1280

  

Fort St. Philip, Louisiana

Fort St. Philip, Louisiana

Fort Saint Philip hasn’t been open to the public since Hurricane Katrina. The powerful storm altered the landscape of the fort, and the hunters hope it also uncovered rare relics from the past. 960 1280

  

War of 1812 and the Civil War at Fort St. Philip

War of 1812 and the Civil War at Fort St. Philip

Home to important battles in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War, Fort Saint Phillip is loaded with history. It was initially developed by the French in the mid-1700s and was later controlled by the Spanish. Here, Larry puts a find in his apron. 960 1280

  

Finding artifacts at Fort St. Philip

Finding artifacts at Fort St. Philip

Mark Slinkman inspects a find. 960 1280

  

Searching for artifacts at Fort St. Philip

Searching for artifacts at Fort St. Philip

Larry and Mike head north where they hope to find souvenirs from the time of the French and Spanish. 960 1280

  

Fort St. Philip, Louisiana

Fort St. Philip, Louisiana

The relic hunters stumble upon an animal skull at Fort Saint Philip. 960 1280

  

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Josh and Abby Silva decide to head directly into the fort and dig along the walls. 960 1280

  

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Josh and Abby inspect one of their finds. 960 1280

  

Digging at Fort St. Philip

Digging at Fort St. Philip

The husband-and-wife duo celebrates a great find. 960 1280

  

Casell Gallery New Orleans

Casell Gallery New Orleans

Ron Guinazzo and Mark Slinkman show their discoveries to appraiser Joe Wyman at Casell Gallery in New Orleans. 960 1280

  

Appraising an artifact

Appraising an artifact

How much will Abby and Josh’s artifact be worth? Tune in to find out! 960 1280

  

Photos

14 Photos
Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

New Orleans native Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong (1900 - 1971) was a great jazz trumpeter and 'scat' vocalist who was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to 'cross-over' -- skin-color was secondary to his amazing talent during a time when America was severely racially divided. 960 1280

Keystone/Getty Images  

Cajun Music

Cajun Music

Cajun music, rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada, started in New Orleans. Popular groups including Hadley J. Castille Family & the Sharecroppers Cajun Band, seen performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, keep this unique style of music alive. 960 1280

Rick Diamond/Getty Images  

NOLA Native Harry Connick, Jr.

NOLA Native Harry Connick, Jr.

Musician and actor Harry Connick Jr., performs on the piano at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The New Orleans native has 7 top-20 US albums, and 10 number-1 US jazz albums, earning more number-1 albums than any other artist in the US jazz chart history. 960 1280

REUTERS/Lee Celano  

Bourbon Street's Live Music Venues

Bourbon Street's Live Music Venues

Revelers walk along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter during New Orleans annual Mardi Gras, which features numerous bands and singers at popular establishments, including Bourbon Street Blues Company, The Eagle Saloon, Club 300 Jazz Restaurant, Funky Pirate, Old Opera House and House of Blues. 960 1280

Patrick Semansky/Getty Images  

Zydeco Music

Zydeco Music

A Zydeco band plays in a bar along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, LA. Zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing. It evolved from forms of Creole music, and it is usually characterized as fast-tempo music, dominated by the piano accordion and a form of washboard. 960 1280

Joe Raedle/Getty Images  

Birthplace of Jazz

Birthplace of Jazz

New Orleans is also home to many notable musicians who played pivotal role jazz music, including Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe aka Jelly Roll Morton (1885 - 1941), an American ragtime jazz musician and songwriter. There are numerous claims that Morton invented jazz in 1902. 960 1280

Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

Voodoo Music Experience

Voodoo Music Experience

Trent Reznor, frontman for the music group Nine Inch Nails, performs at the annual Voodoo Music Experience concert held at Riverview Park in New Orleans. New Orleans plays host to numerous music festivals each year, including the Rock `n' Roll Marathon, Mardi Gras, Bayou Boogaloo, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, Soul Fest, Southern Decadence, Words & Music and the Essence Festival. 960 1280

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Buckwheat Zydeco (on the right) performs at the Fair Grounds during the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. The festival features hundreds of musical acts on more than ten stages. 960 1280

REUTERS/David Rae Morris  

The Queen of Gospel

The Queen of Gospel

American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (1911 - 1972) was born in the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans. She was referred to as 'The Queen of Gospel,' and she became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world. 960 1280

Keystone/Getty Images  

Mickey's Next Club

Mickey's Next Club

Mickey's Next Club is a popular hangout among residents during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Rock `n' Bowl and Margaritaville, owned by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, are couple places music lovers can go to hear all types of music, including jazz, blues, Zydeco, southern rock and Cajun. 960 1280

Mario Tama/Getty Images  

Better than Ezra lead singer Kevin Griffin performs during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. New Orleans has been the breeding ground for new talent and artists from different genres, including rap artists Lil' Wayne and Master P, and alternative rock band Better Than Ezra, who all hail from the Crescent City. 960 1280

Sean Gardner/Getty Images  

A family that plays together stays together. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis performs with his brothers, Delfeayo (L) and Branford, during a concert at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. The Marsalis family, well-renowned as solo jazz artists in their own rite, reaped the benefits of living in a city with a rich music history. 960 1280

Reuters/David Rae Morris  

New Orleans rhythm and blues legend Fats Domino performs at the 30th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage. 960 1280

Reuters/Lee Celano  

We couldn't forget about jazz funerals in New Orleans. Derived from African spiritual practices, this cultural tradition is a funeral procession that includes the family and friends of the deceased person, who, in most cases, had some connection to the music industry. A brass band usually starts with somber hymns, but after the deceased is buried or the hearse leaves the procession, they transition to playing upbeat music. 960 1280

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18 Photos
Here Comes Alice

Here Comes Alice

Partygoers and parade bystanders get excited as a float -- paying homage to the fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -- rolls down Canal Street for the Rex parade. New Orleans lights up with excitement every year for Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras started in Louisiana in the late 17th century when the area was under French colonial rule. 960 1280

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Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival

Rex, the King of Carnival, parades down St. Charles Avenue during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

Reuters  

Rex Parade

Rex Parade

The Rex parade, pictured here, is one of New Orleans’ most celebrated Mardi Gras parades. It’s led by an organization (The School of Design), which chooses one member every year to wear the honorary title “Rex.” The distinction is one of the highest honors a person can receive in New Orleans. 960 1280

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Have Some Beads

Have Some Beads

Members of the Rex organization toss beads from a float to revelers. 960 1280

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Zulu Parade

Zulu Parade

Catch the beads! A large crowd reaches up for beads as a Zulu parade float -- one of the more controversial parade participants, because of their exaggerated blackface -- rolls down New Orleans’ Canal Street on Mardi Gras. 960 1280

Getty  

Mardi Gras Colors

Mardi Gras Colors

Two revelers pass by a home before a Mardi Gras parade. Those decorations you see -- beads, ribbons, masks and streamers -- come in traditional Mardi Gras colors: green (symbolizing faith), gold (power) and purple (justice). 960 1280

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Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Crowds flock to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras Day. The annual Mardi Gras celebration ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. 960 1280

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St. Charles Avenue

St. Charles Avenue

Joe Perez with the Mondo Kayo Social and Marching Club parades down St. Charles Avenue in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Reuters   

Mardi Gras Faces

Mardi Gras Faces

Members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club ride on a float during the Mardi Gras parade. 960 1280

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Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

A reveler with the Krewe of Zulu parades down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

Reuters   

Marching Club

Marching Club

Members of the Mondo Kayo Marching Club dance down St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

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Go, Saints!

Go, Saints!

New Orleans Saints fans dance to the beat of the famous song "When the Saints Go Marching In" at a bar on Bourbon Street. 960 1280

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French Quarter

French Quarter

Mardi Gras participants beg for beads to be tossed from a balcony in the French Quarter. 960 1280

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March Down St. Charles

March Down St. Charles

One of the main Mardi Gras parade routes, St. Charles Avenue is also home to an active business district. Here, members of the Krewe of Zulu ditch the corporate look for a vibrant march down the avenue. 960 1280

Reuters  

Grab a Mask

Grab a Mask

A little drizzle can’t keep these revelers from celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans’ French Quarter. 960 1280

Reuters  

Mardi Gras Dance

Mardi Gras Dance

A reveler dances in his festive tent dress and elaborate costume during Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. 960 1280

Reuters  

'80s Flashback

'80s Flashback

NOLA’s Mardi Gras attracts hundreds of people, including celebrities like '80s singer Cyndi Lauper, caught on camera heading to her float for the Krewe of Orpheus parade. 960 1280

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Krewe of Proteus

Krewe of Proteus

At the Krewe of Proteus parade, an excited crowd waits for people -- on top of this illuminated float -- to throw more beads to bystanders. 960 1280

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St. Charles Line, All Aboard!

St. Charles Line, All Aboard!

Hop aboard the historic St. Charles Avenue Streetcar, the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world. Built in 1835, the line covers a 13-mile-long loop, running from Canal Street to Carondelet Avenue, with dozens of historic New Orleans mansions along the way. 960 1280

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Garden District Mansions

Garden District Mansions

Among the stops on the St. Charles Line is the Garden District. Spanning 25 acres, this stretch of town is home to some of the best-preserved mansions in the entire South. Among them is this “Wedding Cake House,” a privately owned Victorian Colonial Revival-style home, at 5809 St. Charles Avenue. 960 1280

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French Quarter's Jackson Square

French Quarter's Jackson Square

Named for Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson in 1815, Jackson Square Park has been called one of “America’s Great Public Spaces” by the American Planning Association. Roughly the size of a city park, the space is a regular venue for live musical acts. At its center you’ll find Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Audubon Aquarium’s Deep Seas

Audubon Aquarium’s Deep Seas

See the wonders of the sea at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, next to the French Quarter, the aquarium is home to amazing displays of sea life, like in the massive 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit, where stingrays, sharks, endangered green sea turtles and more exotic marine life glide past your nose. 960 1280

Jeff Strout  

Carousel Gardens

Carousel Gardens

Give it a whirl around the Musik Express. It’s one of about 15 rides you’ll find at Carousel Gardens, a small outdoor theme park in the heart of New Orleans. The kids will love the park’s prime attraction (and namesake) -- a wooden carousel more than 100 years old that hasn’t let up on its merrymaking magic. 960 1280

New Orleans City Park  

Grab Your Beads ...

Grab Your Beads ...

The good times roll on and on in New Orleans. Grab your beads for NOLA’s biggest celebration of the year, Mardi Gras. And once you’ve had your French Quarter fill, come back for New Orleans’ other colorful festivals, including the Whitney White Linen Night (August), the New Orleans Film Festival (October) and the Oak Street Po’ Boy Festival (November). 960 1280

Reuters  

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

And for a peek into Mardi Gras … tour this working warehouse, where parade floats for New Orleans’ biggest day are made. Located on the Mississippi River, the massive, 400,000-square-foot space known as Mardi Gras World is home to artists and craftsmen who design and build over 500 floats each year. 960 1280

Rusty Blazenhoff, flickr   

America’s National WWII Museum

America’s National WWII Museum

Head to “America’s National World War II Museum,” so named by Congress in 2003. Among its exhibits, the museum tells the story of the role New Orleans played in the war effort: Boats crucial to D-Day operations were designed, built and tested by a New Orleans’ company of its day, Higgins Industries. 960 1280

The National World War II Museum   

New Orleans’ Only Steamboat

New Orleans’ Only Steamboat

Take a sentimental journey along the Mississippi River, courtesy of Steamboat Natchez Riverboat. The 2-hour cruise glides along the river, with live jazz and a menu showcasing local food options like file gumbo and Louisiana-style fried fish -- all topped with delicious views of the Big Easy’s skyline. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Magazine Street

Magazine Street

Get out your walking shoes -- you’ll need ’em for a walk along Magazine Street. Stretching 6 miles long, the thoroughfare is home to dozens of quaint antique shops, like Mire Antiques (pictured), as well as clothing boutiques, restaurants and bars. 960 1280

NewOrleansOnline.com   

Creole Culinary Bike Tour

Creole Culinary Bike Tour

Take a Creole culinary tour through New Orleans -- on bike, no less, and work up an appetite. Local companies like Confederacy of Cruisers lead bike tours through the city, with pit stops along the way at restaurants in areas like the French Quarter’s Vieux Carre neighborhood -- you’re sure to find savory dishes like the one this guy is digging into. 960 1280

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Treme Neighborhood

Treme Neighborhood

Explore one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods. Home to more than 4,000 people, the historic Treme neighborhood began as a plantation in the late 1700s, owned by a Frenchman named Claude Treme. Today, this stretch of town is lined with old homes like this, with many undergoing rehabilitation efforts. Treme is also the subject of an HBO series of the same name. 960 1280

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Frenchmen Street

Frenchmen Street

Perk up your eyes, some very cool jazz is yours to hear at D.B.A. This live jazz club is one of many you’ll find on Frenchmen Street, in New Orleans’ 7th Ward. In addition to its many bars, clubs and restaurants, the street is home to unique Creole Cottages -- 1-storied houses with a unique New Orleans feel. 960 1280

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Go, Saints!

Go, Saints!

Cheer on the Saints at New Orleans’ Superdome. This whopping 72,003-seat domed sports and exhibition space, in the city’s Central Business District, routinely makes the short list of stadiums to host major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl. 960 1280

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