Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park

#14 in Best Things To Do in New Orleans
Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park picture1 of 2
Chalmette Battlefield & Jean Lafitte National Park2 of 2
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Key Info

8606 West St. Bernard Highway

Price & Hours

Free
9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.7

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Chalmette Battlefield – the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans – is just 6 miles east of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. As many history buffs know, this battle never should have taken place. The War of 1812 ended two weeks before British and American troops stormed the field, but word had not yet reached Congress, the British general or Andrew Jackson – commander of the American troops. Today, Chalmette Battlefield displays historical markers that help visitors trace the history of the Battle of New Orleans. You can also pay your respects to those that fell at the national cemetery, which can be found on the grounds.

After you've had your fill of history, head to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Although the park is located several miles southwest of the battlefield, both sites are operated and maintained by the National Park Service. You can explore the numerous swamps and bayous, and you might catch a glimpse of an alligator or two. The park also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year.

Recent visitors, especially those with a penchant for history, praised both sites and said this is another attraction that does a good job entertaining kids.

Jean Lafitte National Park and Chalmette Battlefield welcome aspiring historians and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year (except on Christmas and during Mardi Gras), although hours of operation vary depending on the area of the park you wish to visit; the battlefield is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is free. The battlefield isn't easily accessible by public transportation. So, if you don't have your own set of wheels, plan to hop on the Creole Queen paddlewheeler. This 2½ hour narrated cruise departs from the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk on Poydras Street and disembarks at the battlefield. Round-trip tickets for adults cost $34; children ages 6 to 12 ride for $14. While the cruise can be convenient for those without a car, it can also be somewhat limiting: Without a car, you only have access to the battlefield, the Malus-Beauregard House and the Chalmette Monument. If you want to explore more of Jean Lafitte's other attractions, you'll need your own vehicle. For more information, check out the park's official website.

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#1 Frenchmen Street

If you want an authentic New Orleans experience more removed from the touristy areas of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, head to the lively Frenchmen Street. A popular spot for locals, Frenchmen Street is a four-block stretch of live music, bars, restaurants, night clubs and art galleries. Here, not only will you find fewer crowds (albeit not by much), but you'll also encounter cheaper eats and drinks, and better music – it's kind of like Bourbon Street's hipper, trendier cousin. If you don't consider yourself a night owl, the Palace Market (open daily 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) is a shopping haven where locals sell homemade art and jewelry.

Recent visitors agreed that a trip to New Orleans isn't complete without stopping by Frenchmen Street. Some even suggest skipping the more crowded and touristy Bourbon Street and instead meandering along Frenchmen Street where you'll find live music, specifically jazz, and great bars. Travelers and locals alike love The Spotted Cat, Three Muses and d.b.a thanks to their extensive beverage selections, fun atmospheres and, of course, talented musicians. "Frenchmen Street is what Bourbon Street used to be ... it's about four blocks of more laid-back, old-style jazz clubs. Nothing fancy to them, very local with great music. A much more laid-back area to stroll from bar to bar and listen to music," said Isabelle Van Bockel, a concierge at the JW Marriott New Orleans for 10 years.

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Billy Metcalf Photography/Flickr
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