Citysearch poll highlights the best of state

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LOS ANGELES -- Louisiana was well-represented in a recent survey of editors at online portal Citysearch, headquartered here. New Orleans placed fifth -- behind Key West, Fla.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and Miami -- among the top travel destinations by Citysearch in its Spring Travel Guide.

The survey highlighted some of the more interesting options in the state for motorcoach groups, or for individuals with free times from tours.

"These editors are verifying a product and that's as close as you can get to a guarantee of a really fine travel experience for motorcoach groups," said Bruce Morgan, director of communications at the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

Placing number eight nationally under the Best Jazz Clubs category was Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro at 626 Frenchmen St. in New Orleans. The club is divided into three areas -- a candlelit restaurant serving burgers and oysters, a bar area and a performance area where the sets are at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. every night. The phone number is (504) 949-0696.

Outside the Big Easy, CitySearch named Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World in nearby Algiers as the winner in the Bizarre Museum category. The museum is an extension of a warehouse where many of the floats that appear in the Mardi Gras parade are created. It is reachable from New Orleans by a short ferry ride.

Visitors are allowed into the work areas where the craftsmen construct the giant heads and bodies. Guests also can try on costumes and take photographs. Admission is $13.50 for adults, $10 for students and $6.50 for children under 11. The phone number is (504) 361-7821.

Topping the national list of restaurants worth the drive was Artesia, located in Abita Springs. It's housed in an old building that used to be the Long Branch Inn in the 19th century.

The menu is contemporary French, with prices in the $30 to $40 range. For information, call (985) 892-1662.

Citysearch is located on the Web at www.citysearch.com.

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