Head to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

When you think of the US city of New Orleans you probably think about jazz music and amazing food - and the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival gives visitors to the city the chance to combine both and get a taste of local culture.

The city is a real melting pot of culture and is certainly worth a visit on a holiday to the US.

The world famous festival attracts some really big names from the jazz music scene and no matter what type of sounds appeal to your ears, you will find it here. Artists play all sorts of jazz, from piano-led smooth music to high-tempo funk-tinged dance beats.

For those planning to travel around the USA on a fun-filled tour, the festival is a great place to stop. And it is ideal for any type of traveller, from those holidaying with a big group to those on singles holidays backpacking around the US under their own steam.

America travel is easy and good value so no matter where you are in the US, you can certainly get to New Orleans for the event.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is held every year in April or May and every event attracts world class performers.

Famous faces to have graced the stages at the event include the Little Freddie King Blues Band, the Alexis Marceaux Band, David Egan, June Gardner and the Fellas, John Lee, Frankie Ford and the Delgado Jazz Ensemble.

John Lee and the Heralds of Christ have also rocked the crowds at the jazz event, as have singers from the local McDonogh #42 Elementary School.

As well as being known for its great music, the festival is also a food-lovers paradise. Here you will get the chance to sample a huge range of cuisine cooked in the Creole or Cajun style, which is sure to tickle your tastebuds and be an interesting change to the burgers and fries diet seen in much of the rest of the US.

If you are seeking a traditional-style meal then look no further than the many stalls selling gumbo and jambalaya dishes, sometimes with chicken or shrimps caught locally. This part of the food is also noted for its rice and bean dishes and you are sure to find many delicious examples of such dishes at the jazz festival.

New Orleans is famous for its po-boy sandwiches, long crusty sticks of bread filled to bursting with fried shrimp, crawfish or other ingredients. If that doesn't sound to your liking, you may want to sample the bread filled with delicious suckling pig.

Other classics on the jazz festival menu include crawfish bisque, shrimp cocktail, spicy potatoes, seafood casserole, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes and red beans and rice.

Kids are also catered for at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, with the children's area home to its very own food market where youngsters can sample traditional cuisine which is a little less spicy.

After trying all sorts of delicious Cajun and Creole cooking, you may be fit to burst - but make sure you save some room to try some of the amazing desserts which can also be bought at the festival.

Why not sample a slice of traditional US pecan pie? Or treat yourself to a yummy piece of banana bread pudding or lemon pound cake?

Fans of arts and crafts may also want to head on over to the Congo Square and Louisiana Marketplace areas at the jazz event. In Congo Square, you can get your hands on an array of handmade items, all with an African American tinge.

Head here to pick up handmade jewellery and sculptures, interesting pieces of art and hand carved musical instruments.

If you want to take home a traditional piece of New Orleans craft, then why not buy a handmade pine needle basket from the Louisiana Marketplace? Stalls in this area also sell more handmade jewellery as well as clothing.

Whatever you decide to get up to at the New Orleans and Jazz Heritage Festival, it is sure to give you a day out to remember on a holiday to the US.