New Orleans's legendary French Quarter is framed by Canal Street, on which no canal was ever dug; Rampart Street, upon which no rampart was ever built; and Esplanade Avenue, along which no waterway has ever run. (Its fourth and final edge, the Mississippi River, is exactly as billed.) The fanciful misnomers befit the Crescent City, a place so hopeful, vivacious, and resilient that it sometimes feels as much a work of fiction as of fact. The streets are filled with stories, if you're willing to wander and listen.
Now is an auspicious time to visit, as New Orleans marks its 300th anniversary in 2018. The city is celebrating by doing what it does best: hosting a party. When is the party? If you've been here before, you know the better question is, When isn't the party? The fanfare unfolds all year long with art exhibits, concerts, and other special events. One of the splashiest spectacles promises to be April's riverfront gathering of tall ships, during which landlubbers can board the majestic sailing vessels.