Just a hop, skip and a jump across the river to the West Bank is the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve's Barataria Unit. A vast expanse of pristine swampland and bayous, it is a true reflection of the unique natural beauty of south Lousiana, just a 20-minute drive from the heart of the city. Favorite activities at Jean Lafitte include fishing, bird watching, walking along the boardwalk and trails, and canoeing. The park can be enjoyed alone or with friends or on ranger-guided tours that tap their expertise to reveal much more about the nature within the park. Rangers lead walks everyday at 1:30 p.m. except Saturday.
This fall, Jean Lafitte offers 2-mile "sunset strolls" and the very popular Moonlight Canoe Trek, as well as birdwatching walks, perfect for witnessing Louisiana's indigenous, beautiful species.
Space is limited on all ranger-guided activities, so call ahead for reservations. The park is open everyday of the year save Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, activities have small fees. Call 589-2330, ext. 10 for more information. -- Frank Etheridge
Glimmer Inn -- 1631 Seventh St., 897-1895 -- This playful Garden District guesthouse offers a distinct New Orleans experience for visiting family and friends. (G-6)
Cox Communications -- 304-7345 -- Company offers cable television, digital cable and high-speed Internet installations and services.
Dr. Deborah E. Lesem -- 100 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 282-7700 -- General dentistry providing everything from cleanings to cosmetic dentistry. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. (F-2)
Matthew Kittok, Attorney at Law -- By appointment, 566-1116, (888) 822-1116 -- If you need legal advice or representation, start with a free consultation. Handles personal injury, criminal defense cases and more.
Canal Place Cinemas -- 333 Canal St. (Canal Place), third floor, 581-5400 -- The city's top choice for independent and foreign cinema. (G-5)
Downtown Joy Theatre -- 1200 Canal St., 522-7575 -- Three-screen, first-run movie house. Cash only. Call for show times. (G-5)
Entergy/Imax -- 1 Canal St., Aquarium of the Americas, 581-IMAX (4629) -- High-tech 5 1/2-story screen and state-of-the-art sound system with original films created just for the format. Call for program times. (G-5)
AMC Palace 20 -- 1200 Elmwood Park Blvd., Jefferson, 734-2020 -- Twenty-screen theater with stadium seating, high-tech sound and sight, and good munchies. Call for times. (B-4)
AMC West Bank Palace 16 -- 1151 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 734-2020 -- Sixteen-screen theater with stadium seating, high-tech sound and sight, and good munchies. Call for times. (G-7)
AMC Clearview Palace 12 -- 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 734-2020 -- Twelve-screen theater with stadium seating, high-tech sound and sight, and good munchies. Call for times. (D-3)
Prytania Theatre -- 5339 Prytania St., 891-ARTS (2787) -- Open since 1915, it's the longest-operating theater in the city. Call for times. (F-6) Aquarium of the Americas -- 1 Canal St. at the Mississippi River, 861-2537 -- One of New Orleans' crown jewels, boasting exotic fish and sharks, penguins, walk-through acrylic tunnel, Caribbean reef, sea otter gallery and more. Call first as hours can vary.(G-6)
Audubon Zoo -- 6500 Magazine St., 861-2537 -- This world-famous zoo boasts rare and endangered species such as white alligators and a Komodo dragon. Louisiana exhibits feature a Cajun cafe and live music performances on Saturdays.Open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.); closed holidays. (E-6)
Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World -- 233 Newton St., Algiers, 362-8211 -- Highly recommended year-round extravaganza featuring creations by premier Mardi Gras floatmaker Kern. Open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. (H-6)
Musee Conti Wax Museum -- 917 Conti St., 525-2605 -- Life-sized depictions of Louisiana legends including voodoo queen Marie Laveau, music greats Louis Armstrong and Pete Fountain, and more. Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5:30 p.m. Sun. (G-5)
National D-Day Museum -- 945 Magazine St., 527-6012 -- Museum honoring the men and women of World War II. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, closed holidays. (G-6) Audubon Park -- St. Charles & Walnut avenues, 861-2537 -- Stroll through the oaks; feed the ducks; hit the playground; bike, jog and blade on a paved track. The "Fly" park extension behind the adjacent Audubon Zoo boasts a nice view of the Mississippi River and the Zoo/Aquarium cruise dock. Zoo shuttle runs from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily and picks up passengers on St. Charles Avenue in front of park. Park closes at 11 p.m. (E-6)
City Park -- Orleans and City Park avenues, 482-4888 -- There's so much to see and do, we can't fit it all on here. But here's a start: Carousel Gardens, Botanical Gardens, Storyland, railroad train, golfing, fishing, sculptures, lagoons and more. Park closes at dusk. (G-3)
Jazzland Theme Park -- Interstate I-10 at I-510, 253-8100 -- Adventure park with huge Mega Zeph roller coaster and other rides, shows and attractions, Louisiana food and music. Tickets: Adult, $32, children under 48", $25; seniors, $25, children under 2, free. Open weekends through Oct. 29; call for hours. (K-2)
SPORTS & RECREATION
City Park Batting Cages -- City Park, 483-9422 -- Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., 8:30 a.m.-noon, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sun. (G-3)
Bayou Oaks Golf at City Park -- City Park, 1040 Filmore Ave., 483-9397 -- A great course for the money, featuring four 18-hole courses, PGA pros, clubhouse restaurants, driving range. Opens at 6 a.m. weekdays, 5:45 a.m. Fri. and Sat. (G-3)
City Park -- City Park, Victory Avenue, 483-9383 -- Thirty-six lighted courts, pro instruction, pro shop, rentals. Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri. and Sun. (G-3)
Cascade Stables -- 700 East Drive, 891-2246 -- Offering 45-minute, 2.2-mile guided ride (walk/trot) through Audubon Park. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. (F-6)
New Orleans Equestrian Center -- City Park stables, 1 Palm Drive, 483-9398 -- Riding lessons 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (G-3)
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge -- Chef Menteur Highway. to Ridge Trail, 646-7543 -- More than 23,000 acres of freshwater and brackish marshes; weekend canoeing and hiking trips available. Open dawn-dusk daily; call for details.
Fontainebleau State Park -- S. 190, Mandeville, (985) 624-4443 -- Swimming, sailing, fishing, camping, nature trails, a pool and playgrounds. Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Louisiana Nature & Science Center -- Joe W. Brown Memorial Park, Read Boulevard and Nature Center Road, 246-5672 -- An 86-acre preserve dedicated to Louisiana's wetlands, bayous, forests and wildlife, featuring a planetarium and Interpretive Center with hands-on activities for the kids. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun. (K-2)
Airboat Adventures -- 885-7325; (888) GO-SWAMP; transportation provided -- Tour through a tranquil, privately owned cypress and tupelo gum swamp with energetic and hands-on guides. Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Call for details.
Airboat Tours by Arthur Matherne Inc. -- 4333 Hwy. 306, Des Allemands, 758-2365; (800) 975-9345 -- Unique swamp tour that takes visitors (six maximum) via an airboat to places regular boats can't go to explore the swamp's wildlife up close. Call for details.
Cypress Swamp Tours -- Departs from 502 Laroussini St., Westwego, or will pick up at any downtown hotel, 581-4501 -- Tours of Bayou Segnette in a covered boat leaving every two hours for a look at Louisiana wildlife in its natural habitat. First tour is at 9:30 a.m.; last tour is 3:30. Call for details.
French Quarter Walking Tours -- 1850 House at Jackson Square, 523-3939 -- Two-hour walking tour illuminating the history, architecture and folklore of the Vieux Carre. Fifteen percent discounts are available at the 1850 House Museum Tour. Call for details.(G-5)
Haunted History Tours -- 861-2727 -- Four day and evening tours of mystical locales including St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, "haunted" French Quarter sites and a vampire tavern, plus a not-so-haunted Garden District tour. Call for details.
Laid Back Bicycle/Kayak Tours -- 488-8991; 786-1274 -- Rent a recumbent (reclining) bike for tours of beautiful, historic city points. Several tours available; some incorporate food or music. Or, kayak along Bayou St. John, the only bayou that winds through New Orleans. Call for details.