Rue Bourbon was the original name of the street since it was designed and laid out in 1721, by French engineer Adrien de Pauger. He chose this name as an au mage to the French Royal Family ruling at the time. Nowadays, Bourbon Street has become one of the more recognizable streets in the country and is a popular party destination known around the world. More than 6,000,000 visitors come to check out Bourbon Street every year, looking to enjoy its many clubs, bars, and restaurants.
Bourbon Street over the last few centuries has been home to numerous jazz clubs, gentleman’s clubs, burlesque, and vaudeville performances – which has served as the modern day inspiration of a party atmosphere that the street is currently known for. These days, Bourbon Street offers more than the exotic striptease clubs and nightlife options; it is also home to many world class restaurants, upscale lounges, and numerous traditional jazz clubs.
The Big Easy is Party Central
The street itself is the attraction, offering a carnival of sights, sounds, and plenty of opportunities for food and drink. The city of New Orleans shuts down vehicle traffic on the street, which turns Bourbon Street into a pedestrian mall each evening, allowing the people to come down and let their hair down and to walk the strip unimpeded. New Orleans has an open-container law, which means that the patrons of Bourbon Street are allowed to or “encouraged” to roam the street with drinks in their hand. Beer in a “go-cup” makes it easy to walk the street with a popular late night drink. Other staple cocktails include the “Hand Grenade” and the “Hurricane.”
Each night the party starts at the intersection of Bourbon Street and Canal Street, where the street fills with dancers and brass bands. Bourbon Street extends down thirteen blocks to Esplanade Avenue, where it runs under an endless row of clubs, bars, and restaurants; beneath the beautiful cast-iron balconies.
During the early spring’s Carnival season, many travelers come from all around to take in Mardi Gras, celebrating “Fat Tuesday” with the parties lasting throughout the day and night. This event features the traditional throwing and catching of beads from the famous Bourbon Street balconies as part of the festivities. Nowadays, these beads can be found on visitors as they sport their beaded treasures 365 days of the year.
Bachelorette Parties and More
Bourbon Street has become the mecca for those looking to have a good time, and has become a prime destination for events like bachelor and bachelorette parties. During the Southern Decadence Festival, which falls on Labour Day Weekend, Bourbon Street hosts many gay-friendly parties and festivals. Many of these festivals last the entire week.
With its famous laissez-faire attitude and lively party atmosphere, it is clear why Bourbon Street has become so popular. You are sure to find some excitement on Bourbon Street, so come on down and grab some beads; it’s Mardi Gras 365 days a year.