Braille Monitor                 June 2022

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Welcome to New Orleans

We are delighted to welcome you to New Orleans for the eighty-second Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. No matter your interests, our city has something to entertain and inspire you. We are the home of delicious food, rich and diverse culture, famous attractions, unparalleled music, and so much more. We hope you will take a little time to enjoy all there is to offer.

There are several ways to travel from the Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) to the Marriott or Sheraton. The approximately fourteen-mile trip takes twenty-five to forty minutes depending on traffic. Taxis are readily available and have a thirty-six-dollar minimum fee for two people. For three or more passengers, the cost is fifteen dollars per person. Rideshare options are a convenient choice. The airport shuttle is another popular way to get from the airport to hotels in New Orleans. It costs forty-four dollars per person round-trip or twenty-four dollars each way. You can reserve a spot on a shuttle online in advance or in person at the baggage claim area. Children under six ride free with their parents.

The shuttle stops at multiple hotels, so if you choose that option, make sure to plan accordingly. For reservations, call (504) 522-3500 or (866) 596-2699 at least twenty-four hours before your flight. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available but require you to book a week ahead.

Once you have arrived and unpacked, it is time to experience our amazing city! New Orleans was founded in 1718, so we have more than 304 years of rich history and culture to share with you. New Orleans goes by many nicknames. We are The Big Easy, because of our laid back and easy-going attitude. We are the Crescent City because New Orleans was originally built on a bend in the Mississippi River that looks like a crescent. We go by NOLA, short for New Orleans, Louisiana. We are the City of Yes because of our positive attitudes. We have been dubbed Hollywood South because of the vast entertainment opportunities and the movie boom in recent years. Our nicknames give you a flavor of who we are and what you will experience when you visit.

You may be familiar with some of our famous festivals. We celebrate Mardi Gras to kick off Lent, and we definitely know how to have fun! The colorful and vibrant floats, the Mardi Gras beads, the energetic music, and the costumes are unparalleled. We also host the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, often called Jazz Fest, which celebrates the unique culture and heritage of New Orleans. Jazz originated in NOLA in the 1800s. Each year, Southern Decadence happens over Labor Day weekend and is filled with a host of parties, parades, brunches, and events in celebration of the city’s LGBTQ+ community. For more than forty years, this French Quarter-wide fest has been the perfect way to close out summer in the Big Easy. We are also home to the Essence Music Festival, which is the “party with a purpose.” This is the largest African American culture and music event in America. Essence Fest will take place June 30 through July 3, 2022, so if you get to town early, please check it out. These are just a few of our festivals. There’s always something fun and interesting happening in New Orleans.

We have many cultural venues in our beautiful city. These include the National WWII Museum, which honors those who courageously served and showcases America’s contribution to World War II. We are also home of the Audubon Zoo, which houses alligators, bears, and other rare animals and plant life right in the heart of New Orleans. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is the home to 15,000 sea life creatures including a shark you can pet and Zion the Penguin.

New Orleans boasts a number of tours, including walking tours to celebrate the city’s Black history, haunted history, music history, and all of the histories that form its culture. Visitors may want to tour one of our cemeteries, which solved the problem of how to bury the dead in a place that is below sea level by creating elaborate marble chambers above ground.

Those interested in transportation may want to ride one of our historic street cars. In fact, the Canal line runs right in front of the convention hotels. For information about the public transportation and paratransit services, please visit https://www.norta.com/ride-with-us/know-before-you-go/transit-accessibility/paratransit-service or call 504-248-3900 for general info or 504-827-7433 paratransit reservations. We also have ferry boats and riverboats for those who want to cruise the mighty Mississippi.

The Marriott sits on the edge of the French Quarter or Vieux Carré, the heart and soul of New Orleans history and culture. Frequently called the “crown jewel,” you will love the charm and welcoming vibe of one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods and most iconic areas. We have something for everyone and much to explore! It is the heart of the city, and it is renowned for its French and Spanish Creole architecture, delicious food from traditional Creole cuisine to contemporary American, and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street. Tour the iconic St. Louis Cathedral, spend some time people watching or communing with the artists in Jackson Square, visit the many galleries and antique shops on Royal Street, or enjoy some shopping at the French Market. Be sure to grab some beignets (pronounced ben yays) and café au lait at the world-famous Café Du Monde just blocks from the Marriott. For music lovers, you will frequently hear live music and street performers wherever you are.

Speaking of food, New Orleans is the home of outstanding Creole and other cuisines. Try a po’ boy, muffuletta, gumbo, turtle soup, red beans, crawfish étouffée, oysters—fried, raw, or char-grilled, and so much more. And don’t forget to enjoy a cocktail, like a Hurricane if you are inclined. In case you are wondering, a po’ boy is a sandwich on flaky French bread stuffed with shrimp, oysters, catfish, roast beef, or whatever you choose, “dressed” with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. A peacemaker po’ boy is half fried shrimp and half fried oysters. There are many twists on the classic, but you will enjoy whichever combo you choose. And, beignets are square pieces of deep-fried dough topped with tons of powdered sugar or a little piece of paradise as we like to say!
 
New Orleans is the home of many important individuals. These include the ornithologist John James Audubon, writer/author Truman Capote, artist Edgar Degas, authors William Faulkner and Anne Rice, and returning to the theme of food, the founder of Popeye’s Chicken, Al Copeland. New Orleans is the home of Benjamin Button and Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Famous entertainers from New Orleans include Sandra Bullock, Donna Douglas (played Ellie Mae on Beverly Hillbillies), Tyler Perry, Richard Simmons, Mahalia Jackson, Reese Witherspoon, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick, Jr., DJ Khalid, Aaron Neville, Lil Wayne, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Randy Newman, Frank Ocean, Irma Thomas, and Fats Domino to name a few. Prominent journalists include Hoda Kotb and Cokie Roberts. Prominent political figures from New Orleans include Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. Famous sports figures include NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning, and Audrey Patterson, the first African American woman to win an Olympic medal. Both from New Orleans, Ruth Benerito invented wrinkle-free cotton, and Levi Spear Parmley invented dental floss. Ruby Bridges, at six years old, was the first African American child to racially integrate the New Orleans public school system, which gained national attention. Betty DeGeneres was a prominent LGBTQ+ civil rights activist. Chef Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” served as the inspiration for Disney’s princess Tiana. These are just some of the people who hail from New Orleans, but they give you a flavor of our diverse and rich history and culture.

Regardless of your interests, we are sure you will find something to enjoy and make many happy memories! Your Louisiana family can’t wait to welcome you! Laissez les bon temps rouler; let the good times roll!

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