New orleans is well known for its music scene and parties on bourbon street, but it is also a playground for any photographer. Whether you are love street photography, cityscapes, long exposures, or architecture, this crescent city has a little bit of everything. If you are visiting New Orleans for the first time, check out the list below for the photographers guide to New Orleans and the top 10 iconic New Orleans spots to photograph.
The French Quarter
1. Bourbon Street
Bourbon street is a party town all on one strip. If you’re a photography who is obsessed with neon lights (get your Brandon Woelfel on), street photography, and wild crowds, you’re in the right place. During the day, bourbon street is filled with tourists, so it is busy, but not rambunctious. During the evening is when the fun begins to start.
Things to be aware of: There will be street performers – drummers, human statues, etc. Be cautious about taking their photo only because they will expect you to tip them. We tried taking photos of the kids drumming and when we would start to walk away, they yelled and ran up to us expecting some change. Be prepared for this, whether that means being more discrete or having cash on hand.
2. Royal Street
Adjacent to Bourbon street is Royal street. This street is much more quintessential, filled with shoppes targeted toward tourists. If you’ve ever seen this iconic building with the ferns hanging from it, its on the corner of Royal and —- (right across from Rouses Market). Here you will often find a live band playing outside of Rouses Market. Gathering a crowd, this spot is a hot bed for other street vendors, including living painters and street poets.
3. Street Cars on Canal Street
“They are STREET CARS not Trolleys”!! — Okay, I have already been harassed about making this mistake, and the locals take it seriously! These red street cars run a 5.5 mile route through Central Business District to Mid-City. This shot was taking at the top of Bourbon Street, so they are very accessible if you are spending the day in the French Quarter.
4. Jackson Square
Overlooking Jackson Square is St. Louis Cathedral, also known as Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France. This church is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States, and is and iconic landmark of New Orleans. In 1803, Jackson Square was the site were Louisiana was made a US territory under the Louisiana Purchase, then declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. General Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, was memorialized in the center of Jackson Square in 1856 . This memorial is one of four identical equestrian statues sculpted by Clark Millis. The first equestrian statue in the United States was this one of Jackson, but it’s first location is in Washington, D.C.. The other two identical statues can be found in the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville and Jacksonville, Florida.
PS. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop at Cafe Du Monde for their infamous french beignets and coffee.
The Garden District
Boo! New Orleans is a well known southern town for voodoo, ghosts, and all thing spooky. If you don’t mind a fright or just love a little deadly history, check out the New Orleans Cemeteries. The above photographed cemetery is Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and is across from the Commanders Palace. It is one of the oldest city governed cemeteries, and these marble chambers entomb many of the earliest residents of the French settlement. Guided tours are available, while others choose to explore solo.
6. Historic Homes and Mansions
- The NOLA home of Sandra Bullock – 2627 Coliseum St.
- Buckner Mansion – 1856 mansion featured in American Horror Story: Coven
- Carroll-Crawford House – Mark Twain partied in this pink Italianate mansion in 1886.
- Briggs-Staub House – The only true example of Gothic Revival architecture, built in 1854
- The Women’s Opera Guild House – a home with more than one style, which combines a Greek Revival structure with Italianate metalwork.
- Archie Manning House – Home of former New Orleans Saints Quarterback and father of Peyton, Eli, and Cooper Manning
- Brevard Majat – 1857 Greek Revival home which was once owned by American author Anne Rice.
Central Business District
The Riverwalk is a 1 mile, paved walking/bike path along with Mississippi River. This walk covers many attractions including the Riverwalk Marketplace Mall, the Audobon Aquarium, Steamboat Natchez, all the way to the French Market.
Photo Tip: New Orleans has some amazing sunsets regardless if there are clouds in the sky. Sunset times will depend on the time of year, but be sure to by the river to catch the sunsets rainbow gradient.
8. Louis Armstrong Park
Be sure to pay respects to one of the most influential figures of Jazz. Born in New Olreans, Louis Armstrong was an inventive trumpet and cornet play in the 1920s. As part of a urban renewal project, Louis Armstrong Park was opened in 1980.
Photo Tip: Shoot the Armstrong park sign at night because it is lit up.
9. Oak Alley
Isn’t she just photogenic? With a row of live oaks leading down a brick path to the entrance of this sugarcane plantation mansion, Oak Alley Plantation was names of the top ten iconic homes in America by Smithsonian Magazine.
Photo Tip: There will be many people this plantation, so it will be hard to get a photo of the home without any people in it. Unless you have excellent Photoshop skills, bring a tripod with you and take multiple photos of the home from one vantage point. In Photoshop you can layer these photos and mask out the people walking up and down the brick path.
10. Swamp Tours
There are many swamp or bayou tours available around New Orleans, but we took Airboat Adventures. If you want to spot some alligators, be sure to go when the temperature is above 70. On cooler days, it will be rare to spot Alligators sunbathing. Some of the best recommended months to check out a swamp tour are April, late October, and early November. – If you do happen to go on a tour during an off month, it is highly likely that the captain will have baby alligator on board for passengers to hold and take photos with.
Interested in seeing where each photograph was taken? View the map below for a photographers guide to New Orleans to find the exact location of each photograph, plus view a few others that were not listed above.
Save or share this google map with a friend you would love to travel to New Orleans with!