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If there's one thing you simply must see the in New Orleans it's the historic French Quarter and Jackson Square, complete with an Andrew Jackson statue at its heart. In one afternoon you can hear brass bands playing in front of the first cathedral in the United States, St. Louis Cathedral; have your fortune told if you're tired of guessing; and browse street art or shop in one of the surrounding galleries.
Flanking the cathedral is the Cabildo, formerly New Orleans' city hall where the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the Crescent City joined the union, more or less. Take advantage of one of the best French Quarter walking tours available with guides from Friends of the Cabildo. The Presbytere, a former courthouse, now houses the Louisiana State Museum holding a treasure trove of Mardi Gras memorabilia.
Directly across from St. Louis Cathedral is the Moon Walk, named for former New Orleans mayor Moon Landrieu. The Moon Walk winds along the Mississippi River, the vista that has inspired countless dreamers from upstream, from Mark Twain to Tennessee Williams.