New Orleans, LA

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Everyone knows the "Big Easy" is home to the most popular Mardi Gras celebration in North America. But are you familiar with these tidbits about New Orleans and its traditions?

The Mardi Gras official colors are purple, green, and gold, representing justice, faith, and power, respectively.

Bead throwing caught on in the late 1800's after a krewe member (guy on a float) dressed as Santa Claus tossed trinkets into the crowd. The spectators loved it, and a tradition was born.

Consuming alcohol while roaming the streets is legal provided your cocktail is in a "go-cup", readily available at all liquor establishments.

Each year over 500,000 King cakes are gobbled from January 6th until Fat Tuesday. These round, brightly decorated treats are baked with a small plastic baby hidden inside to symbolize the Three King's search for newborn Jesus and the circular route they traveled. Receiving the gift bearing slice is said to bless the eater with good fortune and obligates hosting next week's King Cake festivities.

Fifteen percent of this city's people practice the ancient religion of Voodoo. It is not uncommon to see locals with small, herb filled "gris-gris" pouches attached to their belts to bring good luck or ward off the evil eye. The Christianity based Voodoo is often wrongly confused with the magical tradition of Hoodoo which draws upon spells, curses, potions, and other forms of witchcraft to influence a particular behavior. Hoodoo uses Voodoo dolls, but Voodoo does not--confused? Yeah, we thought so. But at least you won't have to rely on magic to make good workout options appear in this bewitching city, though swimmers may want to think about it.

New Orleans is not known as a fitness and healthy lifestyle mecca, nor does it try to be, that's one thing Katrina didn't change. Its saucy and spicy food is too delicious, its steamy and sticky weather too oppressive, and its jumpin' and jazzy nightlife too tempting. Let's face it, "The Big Easy" didn't earn its nickname for an abundant supply of athletic venues-and that's okay. This country needs destinations like NOLA, where sweating on purpose takes a back seat to perspiring from a zippy bowl of jambalaya. Of course, there are ways to stay active in the Crescent City. You simply have to look a little harder.

New Orleans, LA Areas

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Exclusively for Members: Run/Bike Routes

400-meter track in City Park
You can't run on the 400-meter track at the newly renovated Tad Gormley stadium in City Park, but...

St. Charles Avenue Route
Our distance begins in front of the Loews hotel (Poydras & S. Peters Sts.), but most other...

French Quarter/City Park Route
Note 1: Only consider running this route during the day. Note 2: This route is recommended only for...

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