Located in the middle of the French Quarter, the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans, Bourbon Street saw the growth of jazz as a new and individual music genre. It was here in the early 1900s that local musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver experimented and developed a sound now known as jazz. Off-beat and full of energy, Bourbon Street has come to embody the qualities this music is famous for the world over.
It’s said that “what happens on Bourbon Street stays on Bourbon Street” and it's not unusual to see people from all walks of life letting their hair down here. Walk along the eight upper blocks and witness a party scene every night of the week. This is the area most popular with tourists and is also where most of the strip clubs are located.
Bourbon Street is not the ideal place for a family outing or a quiet and romantic dinner for two, but if you're out for a good time you will not be disappointed. Grab a cocktail, a bite to eat and then dance the night away at a variety of clubs, most of which feature live music. The area can get quite rowdy late at night but there are plenty of security guards around and police patrolling the streets to keep the partying in check.
One of the unique things about the French Quarter is that it's legal to drink alcohol on the street from an open plastic cup. Most bars will provide a "go cup" so you can take your drink with you and stroll amidst the fun. Some establishments even allow you to enter with your go cup from another bar.
Bourbon Street has changed over the last few decades, with brothels closing down and bars and restaurants opening in their place. However, it still retains much of its dramatic 18th-century architecture, along with a few century-old restaurants and the oldest gay bar in the country.