Ready for a ride on the river? How about a stroll through the French Quarter? A cup of chicory coffee and a beignet sure sounds good about now. Maybe we could listen to some jazz, too. Where can we do all this? The Big Easy, of course!

“The Big Easy" is a nickname for the city of New Orleans. Located along the southern bayous of Louisiana where the mighty Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is an American city like no other.

New Orleans is famous for many things, including its distinct French Creole architecture, Cajun cuisine, jazz music, and annual Mardi Gras festival. In New Orleans, many cultures and languages collide to form one of the most unique cities in America.

So where did “The Big Easy" nickname come from? There are many theories on its origin. One of the earliest is that it's related to the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. As a popular center for jazz and blues music, good musicians had a really easy time making a living in the clubs and restaurants of the city.

Musicians weren't the only ones who could easily find work in New Orleans, though. The city's size, coupled with its river trade and entertainment venues, allowed many people to find work. Moreover, the city's cost of living has often been relatively low compared to other major U.S. cities.

A comfortable standard of living combined with the usually relaxed and carefree attitude of many of its citizens might have also led to “The Big Easy" becoming a popular nickname for New Orleans. For such a unique city, though, it probably won't surprise you to learn that it has several other popular nicknames.

Given the shape of the Mississippi River as it winds its way through and around New Orleans, the city also is often called the Crescent City. “America's Most Interesting City" can be found on the welcome signs at the city limits.

Because of the many movies and television shows filmed in the area, New Orleans is sometimes called Hollywood South. It also shares many cultural similarities with the Caribbean islands, leading some to call New Orleans “The Northernmost Caribbean City."

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We sure hope tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day blows up!