The Deep South
It’s hard to imagine a more seductive city than New Orleans – a sultry melting pot of French, Spanish, Creole and Southern styles. Arrive for Mardi Gras and you’ll witness one of America’s most spectacular celebrations; a season of parades and carnivals that starts on Twelfth Night and ends on Shrove Tuesday. But New Orleans is wonderful at any time of year. Just consider the lively French Quarter, a compact neighbourhood of narrow cobbled streets laid out in the 1720s, where gloriously faded buildings with wrought-iron balconies house stores selling everything from museum-quality antiques to voodoo paraphernalia. The soundtrack to it all is the sweet strain of jazz, which spills out of bars, is played on street corners and hangs in the air on paddle-steamer cruises down the Mississippi River.
As important as music to the state of Louisiana is its place in the history of the civil rights movement. The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail launched in 2021 to commemorate the places and people that blazed a trail for equal rights in the 20th century. Visiting sites along the trail is a wonderful way to engage with their stories. There is a marker, for example, outside the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the site of the nation’s first bus boycott, which inspired Doctor King’s landmark Montgomery bus boycott two years later.
Head north to Mississippi and you’ll soon reach Natchez, famous for its wealth of grand plantation properties, which survived the Civil War when the city surrendered without a fight. From here Elvis fans may want to detour to Tupelo, the singer’s Mississippi birthplace, or head straight to Graceland, his world-renowned mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s one of the many music-related landmarks for which Memphis is famous. Others include the Rock ’n’ Soul Museum, the live music venues of Beale Street and the iconic Sun Studio, which discovered the talents of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison among others.
For a different kind of tune, continue north to Nashville, the home of country music and of the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running live radio show. The city has had quite the boom in recent years, with new attractions like the National Museum of African American Music and swanky, revitalised neighbourhoods like The Gulch adding a progressive, renaissance flair to its stalwart Southern charms.
The Eliza Jane - The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
Part of Hyatt’s millennial-focused Unbound Collection, this boutique Art Deco hotel has a great location in the Central Business District of New Orleans, just two and a half blocks from the historic French Quarter. The building [...]View Hotel
Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens
Step back in time with a stay at this imposing early-19th-century antebellum mansion set in 26 acres of manicured gardens. The charming property is home to 30 rooms and suites, split between the main house and seven outbuildings, [...]View Hotel
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
With its Art Deco styling, striking abstract art and grand floral arrangements, this much-loved hotel brings a touch of class to the carnival of Bourbon Street. Rooms and suites are light and spacious, with options to look onto t [...]View Hotel