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New Orleans Sports and Recreation From professional football to pirogue races, there are always exciting things to do or watch. For listings of coming contests see the sports and events columns in the daily papers and in the monthly New Orleans magazine.

It's also possible to participate in outdoor activities year-round in this semitropical climate. From bicycling to tennis, there are a multitude of fun places to go and fun things to do in and around the metropolitan area to enjoy your sport of choice.

BaseballFans can catch the New Orleans Baby Cakes at Shrine on Airline field on Airline Drive in Metairie. Affiliated with the Miami Marlins, the AAA minor league team takes to the field April through September; phone (504) 734-5155 for tickets.

BasketballThe New Orleans Pelicans, (504) 525-4667, give NBA aficionados something to cheer about at the Smoothie King Center. The arena, at 1501 Dave Dixon Dr. across from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, also is home to the Tulane University Green Wave; phone (504) 865-5356 for university tickets. The University of New Orleans Privateers, also an NCAA Division I team, hold court at Senator Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena (often referred to as Lakefront Arena), which is one block from campus at 6801 Franklin Ave.; phone (504) 280-7222 for tickets.

BicyclingA paved bicycle path running atop the Mississippi River levee can be accessed from the west side of Audubon Park near West Drive. The path, part of the 3,000-mile Mississippi River Trail system, follows the east bank of the river and extends more than 20 miles upriver. Inline skating, fishing, running and walking also are permitted.

Lakeshore Drive, on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, offers scenery and light traffic. Skirting the Metairie section of the south shore is Linear Park, a converted road.

Tammany Trace, a rails-to-trails path on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, runs from Covington through Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe and into Slidell. Horseback riding, inline skating, running and walking also are permitted. For information phone (985) 867-9490.

FishingAksonov/iStockphoto.com
Bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass are taken from freshwater lakes and rivers. Fishing is permitted at several area state parks, including Bayou Segnette, Fairview-Riverside and Fontainebleau. For information, contact the Office of State Parks, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, P.O. Box 44426, Baton Rouge, LA 70804 or phone (225) 342-8111.

Just 2 hours southwest of New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle offers saltwater fishing. Bluefish, cobia, channel bass, pompano and red snapper range the coastal waters. Game fish such as marlin, tarpon, tuna and sailfish run from late spring through fall in the Gulf.

If you are ready for some adventure travel, boats can be chartered for offshore fishing. A fishing license is required for persons over age 16. A 1-year freshwater license for residents costs $9.50, or $22.50 for both freshwater and saltwater. The 1-day fee for non-residents is $5 for freshwater or $17.50 for saltwater. An annual freshwater license for non-residents costs $60, or $90 for both freshwater and saltwater. For additional information about charters and licenses, contact the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at (225) 765-2800.

FootballThe hometown New Orleans Saints of the National Football League go marching into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from August to December, with games generally starting at noon; for tickets phone (504) 731-1700. The Saints Hall of Fame at the Superdome is open by appointment and limited hours on game days; phone (504) 471-2192.

Tulane University Green Wave football team frequents the Superdome, which becomes a collegiate battlefield every November for the Bayou Classic, a gridiron clash between rival universities Grambling State and Southern. The Allstate Sugar Bowl game is played in the Superdome in early January.

GolfThe New Orleans area provides several locations for duffers to engage in their favorite activity. The following courses have 18 holes and are open to the public year-round: Audubon Park Golf Course, (504) 212-5290, 6500 Magazine St.; English Turn Golf & Country Club, (504) 392-2200, 1 Clubhouse Dr.; and Lakewood, (504) 373-5926, 4801 Gen. DeGaulle Ave.

Horse RacingOne of the city's most enduring sports, Thoroughbred racing can be enjoyed at Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., where the mechanical starting gate was introduced. Racing takes place Thursday through Monday from Thanksgiving Day through March. When the live racing season ends, visitors still can partake in the facility's off-track wagering, offered year-round. For information and racing schedule, phone (504) 944-5515.

Note: Policies concerning admittance of children to pari-mutuel betting facilities vary. Phone for information.

Jogging and WalkingIn a city as lively as New Orleans, walking may be the only way to ensure you are not missing anything. A stroll through the Vieux Carré or the Garden District reveals the city's eclectic history and provides an in-depth look at New Orleans' colorful street life as well. Use good sense and keep all city walking to daylight hours.

Parks are scattered throughout the Big Easy. Audubon Park and City Park in particular are good spots for a stroll or jog, and the sea wall along Lake Pontchartrain makes for a particularly eye-catching exercise site. In Metairie, Lafreniere Park offers 155 landscaped acres complete with lagoons encircled by exercise paths.

PicnickingIn and around New Orleans, picnicking can be quite a treat, especially if the picnic basket contains some of the local concoctions. Municipal parks, the levee and the lakefront are good spots. At certain times of the year insect repellent is a prudent accessory for any outing.

TennisCourts are open to the public at most of the facilities administered by the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission; phone (504) 658-3000. Mid-City's 1,300-acre City Park features the City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center, which has 16 hard courts available for $12 per hour and 10 clay courts for $15 per hour. Ball machines (court included) are available for $20 per hour; phone (504) 483-9383. Players will find 10 courts for $11 an hour in Audubon Park; phone (504) 895-1042.

Water SportsSailing regattas are held throughout the year on Lake Pontchartrain. Audubon and City parks offer a variety of water-related activities. For detailed information phone (504) 581-4629 and (504) 482-4888, respectively.

Kayak-iti-yat offers guided kayaking tours of the Bayou St. John in downtown New Orleans; phone (512) 964-9499.

Waterways are accessible at several nearby state parks, including Bayou Segnette in Westwego, Fairview-Riverside in Madisonville and Fontainebleau in Mandeville.

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New Orleans, LA

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Travel Information

City Population

343,829

Elevation

11 ft.

Sales Tax

Louisiana's statewide sales tax is 5 percent; an additional 5 percent is levied in the New Orleans metro area, and Orleans Parish has a .5 percent tax on food and beverages. The city has a 14 percent lodging tax, plus an occupancy tax of $1-$3 per night. The state's car rental tax is 3 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(504) 821-2222

Fire (non-emergency)

(504) 658-4700

Time and Temperature

(318) 324-8808

Hospitals

Ochsner Medical Center, (504) 842-3000; Touro Infirmary, (504) 897-7011; Tulane Medical Center, (504) 988-5263; University Medical Center New Orleans, (504) 702-3000.

Visitor Information

1221 Elmwood Park Blvd. Suite 411 New Orleans, LA 70123. Phone:(504)731-7083 or (877)572-7474

Air Travel

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is about 21 miles west of downtown New Orleans in Kenner and is served by nearly all major domestic and foreign carriers.

Rental Cars

New Orleans is served by several major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip. Your local AAA club can provide this service or additional information. Hertz, (504) 568-1645 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Amtrak uses the Union Passenger Terminal at 1001 Loyola Ave. Daily service is offered. Phone (800) 872-7245 for further information.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 1001 Loyola Ave.; phone (504) 525-6075 or (800) 231-2222 for schedule and fares.

Taxis

Cabs are plentiful in the main business and tourist areas. Average fare is $3.50 initially and $2.40 for each additional mile and $1 for each additional person. The largest companies are Carriage/Yellow/Checker, (504) 207-7777; Metry, (504) 835-4242; and United, (504) 522-9771. Information about taxi service also can be obtained from the Taxicab & For Hire Bureau at (504) 658-7176.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, streetcar and ferry is available in New Orleans.

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