Andrew Nelson

of National Geographic Traveler

Andrew Nelson is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine based in New Orleans. Follow his adventures in wanderlust on Twitter @andrewnelson.

Throwback Travel: New Orleans

Canal Street, 1952. Golden-age New Orleans. With roughly 600,000 residents, the city counted itself an urban heavyweight, and its grand boulevard reflected its muscle. Plotted as a shipping channel following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Canal Street held water in name only, becoming the demarcation line between the French Vieux Carré and New Orleans’s growing Anglophone neighborhoods. Part Times Square, part…

Throwback Travel: Sledding in Central Park

The time this photo of sledders in Central Park hit newsstands in National Geographic magazine: December 1960. Meanwhile, on Broadway, audiences applaud the new Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot, and newly elected John F. Kennedy prepares to assume the American presidency. Here are a few other interesting intersections.

Postcard From Penang

There’s no finer end to a day in Penang, Malaysia, than to watch the tropic sun drop into the Strait of Malacca. Drink to the dusk with a cold Tiger beer, a reward for exploring the tightly packed and steamy streets of the city’s preserved inner core—a 640-acre UNESCO World Heritage site known by its English colonial name, George Town.

Throwback Travel: Budapest’s Bathing Beauty

Geothermal and glorious, Budapest’s Gellért Baths opened in 1918, the year that marked the end of World War I and the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s collapse. Here are a few memorable takeaways from the soak of a century.

Louisiana, Three Ways: Atchafalaya Swamp

I’m in Killer Poboys to meet with Charles Chamberlain, a Ph.D. in American history and local History Man. Ten years a historian at the Louisiana State Museum before setting up his own company, Historia, to provide outsiders with insights into the Pelican State, Chamberlain knows Louisiana. He’s just the guy, I figure, to explain why Louisiana is so different, even a…

Louisiana, Three Ways: Creole Country

The river town of Natchitoches dates back to 1714, when French traders paddling up the Red River from the Mississippi put down roots here, making it the oldest permanent settlement in the entire 828,000-square-mile Louisiana Purchase. It immediately impresses me as a downsize version of New Orleans’ Royal Street, with its filigreed iron balconies, antiques stores, and art galleries.

Louisiana, Three Ways: NOLA

Homegrown, unique, and thoroughly wonderful, Louisiana has a character all its own. “[It] is another country,” local historian Charles Chamberlain says. “But you better see it soon; who knows how long it’s going to last.” By the time Thomas Jefferson bought the land from Napoleon in that 1803 geopolitical fire sale, he explains, this French colony was well populated with French and Spanish immigrants, refugees from Haiti, and Congolese slaves, all of whom had seeded the land with their cultures, foods, and traditions. Here’s a look at New Orleans.

The Icon: Egypt’s Great Sphinx

The crouching lion with a man’s head was ancient when Cleopatra gazed upon it in 47 B.C. It retains its allure to the powerful, as world leaders from Napoleon to Barack Obama have trekked to Giza to contemplate the same view that captivated the queen of the Nile.

NOLA Like a Local

“Eat Local” may be a national trend, but in steamy, dreamy New Orleans the focus is on local living. The Crescent City is fiercely devoted to its homegrown traditions–be they culinary, musical, cultural, or otherwise. Though some of our habits and haunts–like gumbo, go-cups, and the French Quarter–are famous the world over, others remain a bit more elusive to visitors. Here are just a few of them.

The Icon: Mount Rushmore

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Mount Rushmore was conceived in the early 1920s by historian Doane Robinson to draw tourists to South Dakota. Today, nearly three million visitors come each year to ogle the massive busts, each as tall as a six-story building. Here are some fun facts about the national masterpiece.