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Taking in New Orleans: a tour of the Crescent City.

Think of New Orleans and what comes to mind? A steaming bowl of jambalaya? Shady, backstreet images of 1800s voodoo? A glistening paddlewheeler steaming up the Mississippi? Hunting or fishing in the premier city of Louisiana's "Sportsman's Paradise"? The soulful rhythms of real Southern jazz?

Or do you think of the newest sensation to hit the streets of New Orleans the 1992 SHOT Show?

Nearly 26,000 shooting trade professionals will be in attendance at the 1992 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show to meet with their colleagues, contact new suppliers, compare current inventory with other items, and just take a look at 1992's technology.

Amidst four days of meetings, dinners, and seminars, most of you will find some time to sneak away and visit the famous city of New Orleans. For some, SHOT Show even doubles as a vacation, and that means that the spouse and kids may be looking for something to do while you're at the show.

So, whether you want the best restaurant in the French Quarter for dinner on Saturday, a cozy nightclub where you can spend the evening listening to New Orleans jazz, or a fabulous shopping district where you can send the family while you're at the show, here's Shooting Industry's guide to the sights, sounds, and activities of the Crescent City.

N'Awlins History

The city of New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, who established his new French colony in what is today the French Quarter. Two disastrous fires occurred during the Spanish Colonial period, leaving little of the original colony standing. The only structure from Bienville's settlement is the Old Ursuline Convent at 1114 Chartres Street, which is worth a visit.

For years New Orleans served as the playground for European settlers and "Creoles," a term which came to mean anyone born in the New World with a European, Negro or Native American background (or any combination thereof). The French and Spanish explorers and pirates charted the region's bayous, and the slaves, the Chickasaw, and the Choctaw Indians mixed their energetic cultures to create the style and flare of New Orleans until, in 1803, Louisiana became a part of the United States.

In 1856, the parade grounds in the center of the French Quarter were renamed in honor of Andrew Jackson, the hero of The Battle of New Orleans. Jackson Square, bordered by Chartres, St. Ann, St. Peter, and Decatur Streets and surrounded by historic 18th and 19th Century buildings, is the heart of today's French Quarter.

Touring the Crescent City

The term "Crescent City" comes from New Orleans' situation on a bend of the Mississippi River. In fact, bodies of water, like Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi, numerous bayous, and the Gulf of Mexico 110 miles to the south, help make up the face of this cultural mixing ground.

There are several points of interest which shouldn't be missed while in the Crescent City, and many of them are within walking distance of the SHOT Show at the New Orleans Convention Center.

For family members and friends who may want to spend a day strolling and shopping, Chartres and Royal Streets are filled with antique shops of all sizes. Specifically, tell them to head for Cohen & Sons, Inc., at 437 Royal Street specializing in antique weapons and coins. For more contemporary shopping, send them to The French Market at 1008 North Peters Street. There they'll find five blocks of shops and restaurants -- enough to keep them busy all day.

Hardly three blocks from the SHOT Show at One Canal Street is the Aquarium of the Americas where visitors can see 10,000 specimens of aquatic life from around the world. Also of interest to animal lovers will be the Audubon Zoological Garden at 6500 Magazine Street. The zoo displays the famed white tiger and several rare white alligators in their Louisana Swamp exhibit. The Audubon Zoo has been rated one of the top five zoos in the country.

Even if you can only get away from the SHOT Show for a few minutes, hop on the bus and take a quick trip to the St. Louis Cathedral across from Jackson Square on Chartres Street. This is the oldest cathedral in the U.S., dedicated on Christmas Eve, 1794. The Cathedral, along with the Presbytere and the Cabildo which stand alongside it, are official parts of the Louisana State Museum.

One final landmark you may want to visit is the LaLaurie House at the corner of Royal Street and Gov. Nicholls. Also known simply as "The Haunted House," this landmark was once the site of terrible activities by a wealthy New Orleans socialite in 1834. According to local legend, the sounds of screams can still be heard some nights.

Of course, don't forget that Louisiana's state motto is: Sportsman's Paradise. If you plan to arrive early for the show, take advantage of New Orleans' several sport fishing facilities and golf courses. Outdoor enthusiasts will also be excited at the prospect of visiting the Global Wildlife Center. Covering 900 acres of Louisiana swampland it is home to hundreds of species of endangered animals.

Music To New Orleans' Ears

No trip to the Crescent City would be complete without some good ol' Southern jazz. In New Orleans you can hear jazz any hour of the day or night, so no matter what time you get a break from your hectic show activities, you'll find someplace to tap your toes. In the birthplace of jazz greats like Fats Domino and Louis Armstrong, the music never stops.

At the Palm Court Jazz Cafe at 1204 Decatur Street you can find lively jazz music seven nights a week from a variety of local musicians. The Palm Court also has hundreds of jazz tapes and recordings for sale in the lobby.

The Preservation Hall at 726 St. Peter Street is the most famous of New Orleans jazz emporiums. Every night they feature a different jazz ensemble, and each is a respected master in the field. Don't come here expecting to find drinks or food, however. All they serve is great music.

The traditional Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean sounds are at home every night at the Maple Leaf Bar at 8316 Oak Street. On Wednesdays the Maple Leaf features blues music, on Thursday you can listen to traditional Cajun music, and Sunday afternoons they offer poetry reading.

For a little more variety, head to Tipitina's at 501 Napoleon. At Tipitina's patrons are treated to a selection of the best local rhythm and blues, rock and roll, Cajun, and reggae music every night of the week.

Getting Around The Town

If your feet are getting the better of you after walking a few hundred miles every day on the SHOT Show display floor, don't confine yourself to your hotel room. There are several modes of public transport to get you to and from the local attractions.

The Vieux Carre embarks from the doors of the New Orleans Convention Center and takes visitors through the heart of the French Quarter. Running down Chartres Street to Decatur, past Jackson Square, back to Dauphine Street and to the Convention Center again, the Vieux Carre operates Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7:23 p.m. and the fare is just 80 cents.

There is also a bus which runs the length of Magazine Street 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a fare of just 80 cents.

If you're heading from the SHOT Show to Jackson Plaza or the French Market, try the riverfront streetcar. For $1 each way you can ride from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

When you're coming in or heading out to the airport, you can catch a taxi for $21 for three people, or you can climb aboard the Airport Shuttle. For $7 each way, the Shuttle will take you to and from the Convention Center. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes and tickets can be purchased at the Airport Shuttle information desks.

You've come to New Orleans for the SHOT Show, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the sights, sounds and flavors of the city while you're here. Catch some great jazz, stretch your legs with a stroll through the French Quarter or along the banks of Mississippi, or just zip out for a quick bite to eat. In any case, you certainly won't regret your trip to N'Awlins.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:1992 Shot Show Extravanga; New Orleans, Louisiana, venue of 1992 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show
Author:Farrell, Scott
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Welcome to the Shot Show.
Next Article:The 1992 Shot Show: it doesn't just happen.

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