I normally buy discovery guides for trips I'm planning, however, it's actually fairly difficult to get comprehensive guides to New Orleans. This book explains the history of the city and is divided into areas of the city for visitors. It has a lot of great photography and comes with several useful maps. There is a lot more to New Orleans than I would have thought. The book itself is very robust and would survive travelling around - but it would be too heavy to carry about for the day, so read it on the plane.