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New Orleans-where to stay and what to see?

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We'll be spending 4 nights in New Orleans in mid November and are wondering which area to stay in.We won't have a car so want somewhere easily accessibly to everything and to public transport if need be.
We prefer B&Bs and small hotels to the big chains. It has been suggested to us that we stay in the French Quarter.We have also looked at hotels in the Marigny district. Is there any area we should avoid?
As to "must see" things-we like just wandering round to get the feel of a place and are interested in history and museums but not too many. I would like to visit a plantation,maybe a swamp tour and a ride on a paddle steamer! All very obvious touristy things I'm afraid but would like some unusual ideas!
Any help much appreciated thanks.

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