The Crescent City – New Orleans, LA

The French Quarter is very lively all year round, but especially so during Mardi Gras.

by Yasmina Platt
© Copyright 2022. All rights reserved!
Published In Midwest Flyer Magazine February/March 2022 Online Issue

The Crescent City, The Big Easy, The Jazz City… New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) has many names. It’s because the heart of the city was built in a sharp curve formed by the Mississippi River, resembling a crescent moon. It’s because it’s a place of lively music, good food, friends, and strong community. It’s because it is universally considered to be the birthplace of jazz. It’s no surprise, then, that NOLA is one of my favorite cities to visit in the U.S.
Lakefront Airport (KNEW) is also a cool destination in itself, and it’s only a 10-minute drive from the “French Quarter.”

The airport is built on a man-made peninsula jutting into Lake Pontchartrain. To make land available, the Orleans Levee Board constructed a 10,000-foot retaining wall into the lake and pumped in six million cubic yards of hydraulic fill to barely raise the field above the water (field elevation is 7.3 feet).

The local cuisine in all of Louisiana is fantastic and unique. You can’t go wrong with (spicy) crawfish, boudin balls or sausage, any type of gumbo or etouffee, jambalaya, or shrimp n’ grits, for example. Messina’s Runway Café is a great spot to stop for food and views at KNEW. The restaurant is located inside the historic terminal building, restored to its original art-deco style.

The local cuisine in all of Louisiana is fantastic and unique. You can’t go wrong with (spicy) crawfish, boudin balls or sausage, any type of gumbo or etouffee, jambalaya, or shrimp n’ grits, for example. Messina’s Runway Café is a great spot to stop for food and (airport) views at KNEW. The restaurant is located inside the historic terminal building, restored to its original art-deco style. Traditional creole cuisine is served in a classic aviation setting. Note that they serve breakfast and lunch only because the beautiful, old terminal is also often used for weddings and other large events in the evenings.

When visiting NOLA, a walk around the famous French Quarter is a must! If you have additional time, I highly recommend the “Garden District” as well. It has many historic mansions. Side trips to plantations, swamp and bayou tours, and river cruises are also good options. Cemetery tours (especially at night, associated with ghost stories) are also popular in NOLA.

You can’t leave the city without enjoying some authentic jazz at the historic “Preservation Hall” and trying a beignet (or two), a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. “Café du Monde” is the most popular location to get them from, but not the only place.

The French Quarter is very lively all year round, but especially so during “Mardi Gras.” Celebrations happen for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent in the Western Christian tradition). Usually there is, at least, one major parade each day. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. The parades are organized by social clubs known as krewes and, funny enough, the “Amelia EarHawts & Cabin Krewe” claim themselves as New Orleans’ most turbulent marching group. I wonder what Ms. Earhart would think about that…

No matter when you go, NOLA is always a fun place to visit!

For more information about Air Trails and other flying destinations, visit www.airtrails.weebly.com.

Vole san danje! (“Fly safe” in creole.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yasmina Platt’s full-time job has her planning the future of aviation infrastructure for Joby’s electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. She also writes an aviation travel blog called “Air Trails” (www.airtrails.weebly.com), in addition to articles on pilot destinations for Midwest Flyer Magazine. Pilots can locate articles Yasmina has written by going to www.MidwestFlyer.com and typing “Yasmina” in the search box, or by going to the “Archives” section, then “Columns,” then “Destinations.”

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