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Visit New Orleans for a Taste of Maritime History

Visit New Orleans for a Taste of Maritime History
By: Kara Martinez Bachman

The city of New Orleans — the birthplace of jazz — is about a five-hour drive from the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the blues. As both places are home to some of the world’s most influential music, they share the common bond of both having a huge influence on the wider American popular culture.

If you’ve never driven the five hours to introduce your kids to New Orleans, it makes for a great summer vacation. But this year, April is also an ideal time to take a weekend trip to explore the music, food and culture of the influential city that sits not far from the mouth of Ole Man River. Not only is the weather nice in April, but this year — as New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial — a special family-friendly event is an added bonus for visitors.

During April 19-22, the tricentennial celebration will include the “Tall Ships New Orleans 2018 Mega Event,” billed as a “magnificent” line-up of historic sailing vessels known as “tall ships.” Hailing from the U.S. and The Netherlands, the old-world ships will sail into port and showcase maritime history when they drop anchor alongside the banks of the Mississippi at Woldenberg Park. The event is held in conjunction with NOLA Navy Week.

There are few kids — and even fewer adults — who won’t find it interesting to see ships with old-world grace and a sense of high-seas romance.

Included among the 4-5 ships docked will be: “Elissa,” from Galveston, who celebrates her 132nd birthday next year; “Oosterschelde,” from The Netherlands; and “Oliver Hazard Perry,” from Newport, RI, named after the commander who won the Battle of Lake Erie, a turning point in the War of 1812. Three smaller tall ships will sail from Lake Pontchartrain from South Shore Harbor Marina. Ships range in length from 77’ to 205’, with rig heights up to 130’.

“A no-charge event, Tall Ships New Orleans 2018 is a gift to New Orleans, with the chance to share our rich maritime history on the Mississippi River with students and the community,” said Premium Parking President and CEO Jim Huger, head of the New Orleans Tricentennial Tall Ships Committee. “Our goal is to share the educational mission of each of the visiting ships to learn more about science and history and the impact both have had on our city.”

“We are excited to welcome the magnificence of Tall Ships America to New Orleans,” said Mark Romig, President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “The sight of a tall ship is magical and visiting one on the Mississippi River during our Tricentennial will be a once in a lifetime experience for everyone.”

Access to the ships will be free, but fast-pass options are available for purchase that grant front-of-line boarding access. There will also be a fireworks show and black-tie gala on April 21. For more information on the event hours, additional vessels in the lineup, fast-pass purchases, gala tickets and more, contact

Kara Martinez Bachman, author and editor, grew up in New Orleans. Her teenage kids still enjoy visiting the city’s attractions and exploring all it has to offer.

More Family-Friendly Attractions in New Orleans:

  • The Audubon Zoo (
  • Audubon Insectarium (
  • The Audubon Aquarium of the (
  • Louisiana Children’s Museum (
  • National World War II Museum (
  • Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World (
  • Preservation Hall (
  • The Steamboat Natchez (
  • Story Land (
  • Historic Carousel, City Park (
  • Jackson Square (
  • New Orleans Museum of Art (
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