My favourite place: New Orleans, Louisiana

In the January 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine, Daniel Szechi selects New Orleans, Louisiana as his favourite place. History Extra caught up with him to find out more...

Wrought iron lace adorns many old buildings and houses in the streets of New Orleans. (Getty Images)

This article was first published in the January 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine 

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Q: When did you last travel to New Orleans and why were you there?

In August 2006. Our son was about to go to university at Aberdeen and next year I was due to take up a chair at Manchester, so we took him, his best friend and a Scots friend of mine who was visiting us down to New Orleans. It was purely for pleasure rather than work and by sheer happenstance we were there during the Southern Decadence festival, which made our visit unforgettable.

Q: Why do you love the location?

The sights, the food (and drink: New Orleans is famous for its cocktails) and the music.

Q: What top 3 sights would you recommend people visit there, and why?

St Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street on a Saturday night and the Mississippi river from the deck of a paddleboat (while snacking on red beans and rice and sipping a Hurricane cocktail).

Q: During what period of its history would you most wanted to have visited this location and why?

The early 1900s, when French was still commonly spoken on the streets of the city, creole cuisine was unalloyed and the new musical phenomenon known as ‘Jazz’ was taking off.

Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit and why?

Iceland, because I love hill-walking and I want to see a live volcano and the Northern Lights before I die.

Daniel Szechi is about to retire as professor in history, University of Manchester. He is currently setting up a historical consultancy business.

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You can read more about Daniel’s experiences in New Orleans in the January 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine.