By Amanda Shaw

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Amanda Shaw
Louisiana musician Amanda Shaw tears up the fiddle.

Amanda Shaw is a Cajun fiddler, singer and songwriter born in Mandeville, Louisiana. These are her recommendations of the best things to do around New Orleans.

Louisiana is so inspiring. If everybody could see a sunset on the bayou, maybe we would get the support we need to save the wetlands.

I would take visitors to local New Orleans shops, restaurants, and music clubs. What better way to spend time in New Orleans than enjoy the things we are known for? By shopping at local shops and eating at local restaurants, you can have a great time and put money back into the hands of New Orleans people. You'll also fall in love with city's unique culture and warm-hearted people. Also, by going out to music venues and dancing to the different beats of New Orleans great music community, you will be supporting the musicians who have played a huge part in New Orleans' recovery. You can't find this anywhere else in the world!

There's so much great food down here, it would be impossible have it all in one trip. But seafood should be at the top of the list. I would take my friends down to a fishing camp where we could catch fish and eat crabs, boil crawfish and make shrimp po-boys. Or we could go to the Ye Olde College Inn restaurant in New Orleans to enjoy some traditional dishes like shrimp remoulade with fried green tomatoes or their BBQ shrimp. You also have to experience a good crawfish boil.

Just up the street from Ye Olde College Inn is one of my favorite live music spots: Rock 'n Bowl. All ages can go to bowl, eat great Louisiana food, listen to tons of live music, and they even have latin nights and swing dance parties!

As far as musicians go, there are too many good ones to count, but you can catch a lot of them at Louisiana's many festivals and eventsJazz Fest in New Orleans offers such a wide variety of music, and French Quarter Fest is the largest free festival in the South. They both feature Louisiana's greatest musicians! Lafayette is a great place to listen to traditional Cajun music. There are a lot of fun places to go dance and eat.

Of course you can't come to Louisiana without shopping! For that, I love Magazine Street! My favorite is to stroll and window shop until I find that one item that is so uniquely New Orleans. Many of the boutiques are one of a kind and you won't find their clothes elsewhere in the city.

If you're in New Orleans, you've got to make your way to the French Quarter. Jackson Square is absolutely beautiful! I love watching the sun set and having Cafè du Monde in the evenings.

Sometimes I like to go out to Louisiana's country, like Folsom and make a big bonfire with my friends! We sit around the fire and tell stories. I also like to go fishing down in Jean Lafitte and eat the fish we caught. Louisiana football is another great activity — we are all about our football! I love to hang out with friends and family and watch a Saints game. 

Louisiana is such a beautiful place packed with culture and music. I hope you enjoy!