New Orleans is a city of endless delights. Socializing is one of the cities favorite pastimes with festivals, second lines, and restaurants, bars and clubs to numerous to list. Folks come year round to sample the revelry, and through it all, always close by is one of the most beautiful, rivers in the world: The Mississippi River.
New Orleans was officially settled in 1718, (last year was our 300th birthday) and the primary reason for starting the city was the Mississippi River. The river was a way into America. The French fought back and forth with the Spanish for control of New Orleans to control the river and control the flow of goods and eventually people up to the North. Today the port of New Orleans is the largest and most complex in America and maybe the largest in the world based on the tonnage of goods that pass through. The Mississippi’s source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi’s watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. New Orleans history is so intertwined with the river, it is hard to think of one without the other. Steam ship development as well as moving cargo with barges all came about because folks wanted to get goods to and from New Orleans and experience the Crescent city.(So named because New Orleans is tucked into a giant bend in the river, much like a crescent moon.)
Being in the French Quarter, the West Bank, or Uptown in the Riverbend, you are always a short walk from the river. And walking beside the river is breathtaking. She is magnificent and beautiful, but don’t forget how powerful and deep she is, (about 200 feet deep.) One activity that you can do day or night is to take a walk along the banks of the Mississippi. The city has just revitalized the walkway with plenty of spots for impromptu photo shoots. The walk is calming and relaxing compared to the sometimes hyper activity of the city. If you are looking for a break or something to do before or after dinner, grab and drink(or not) and take a stroll along the river in the French Quarter. There is a walkway the entire length of the FQ and you can even walk down into the Bywater a beautiful walking garden and dog park. Walk along the river towards Canal Street and you will come upon the Natchez riverboat, the ferry to Algiers Point on the West Bank and The Aquarium. Long enough for a good walk or jog, but no matter what take some time and check out the beautiful Mississippi river, the fourth largest river in the world, and a most integral part of New Orleans.