The Big Easy's steamy streets, jazzy jive and inimitable oysters are celebrated in Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans. A witty and irreverent tour guide, humorist Roy Blount Jr. heads straight into the decadent, heady heart of Noowawlins (the proper pronunciation) with eight idiosyncratic, nostalgic "rambles" that reflect his particular love for the city in which he "first ate a live oyster, and first saw a naked woman with the lights on." Feet on the Street has a meandering narrative style, but covers good ground, from the city's beginnings and geography to its weather, food, resident characters and offbeat attractions. There aren't any maps in this laid-back travelogue, but with Blount as your guide, your feet will easily find the right streets.

Alison Hood's car is tuned up and her guides, snacks, aromatherapy candles and sunscreen are packed.

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