Over the years, New Orleans has managed to build a reputation for being a party town with plenty of drinking and revelry. But this is a huge misconception! New Orleans has a ton of incredible architecture, food, and music, with plenty of family-friendly activities outside of partying. We’d like to set the record straight about a few things you might not know before you visit.

The city is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina

First things first: Katrina hit in 2005. It has been 10 years. Granted, there are still some areas that need repairs, but overall, the city is better than ever. This Inc. article has a great overview of how far we’ve come.

Mardi Gras is the best time to visit

This is one of the more popular New Orleans misconceptions. Yes, Mardi Gras is the main time of year when people come to party on the streets–especially on legendary Bourbon Street. But New Orleans celebrates other holidays in its own special style, including Christmas and New Year’s. With the incredible music scene in New Orleans and temperate weather year-round, you’re not missing out if you miss Mardi Gras.

New Orleans isn’t family-friendly

While Bourbon Street certainly isn’t a place for kids, there are so many other areas in the city for families to visit. Families can stroll the Garden District, visit City Park’s Storyland amusement park and the New Orleans Museum of Art, go to Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, and so much more.

Restaurants serve only Southern food

Gumbo, jumbalaya, and po-boys are traditional New Orleans foods, but we don’t eat just Creole or Cajun food! (And yes, there’s a difference between the two.) New Orleans has long been a mecca for chefs experimenting with many different types of cuisine, including Indian, French, Spanish tapas, New American, and more. There’s something for every appetite–it’s why New Orleans is one of the most popular foodie cities in the country.

It’s not a good place to build a career

New Orleans’ entrepreneurial scene is thriving, from business incubators like Propeller and The Idea Village (which both offer workspace) to coworking spaces like LaunchPad, Communion, the Blue House, and more. Tech startups are finding both the talent and the investment they need. In fact, New Orleans has been featured in The Atlantic, Forbes, Inc., and more as one of the most promising places to do business in America.

New Orleans misconceptions continue to mislead visitors who travel here expecting to see an exaggerated, Hollywood-style portrayal of the city. The saddest part about this is that those visitors don’t get a chance to experience New Orleans as it should be experienced: from one neighborhood to the next, eating, drinking, and sightseeing!