New Orleans has many claims to fame, among them its unique architecture, regional cuisine, jazz music, voodoo legends, haunted histories, Mardi Gras and so much more, and while each of the aforementioned deserve recognition in their own right, for me, it’s the mingling of all these sights, sounds, and smells that make New Orleans so special, a true feast for the senses.
No matter how many times I visit there is always something new to discover! I’m constantly stopping to snap a photo of this or that, often multiple times in one block. I always hope that my photos will convey feeling, but in a city as busy as New Orleans, there’s a fine line between a feast for the senses and sensory overload! Do I share the big picture, the small details? What about the scores of tourists in the way, or the parked cars? Include them, or delete? Maybe a little of both?
Often, by the time I’ve waited for the car to drive by, or the people to meander out of my shot, I’m half a block or more behind my family. While I’m aware that some of the best shots are captured in early morning or late at night, getting them can prove difficult, as it’s not always the best idea to be out and about on your own, not to mention my family isn’t especially keen on those early morning hours.
All of the above reasons are why, during my most recent visit, I sighed up for a photo tour with American Photo Safari. I chose the French Quarter tour, and used my mirrorless SLR camera, however they offer tours in other parts of the city, and cellphone users are welcome to join as well.
Our tour started in front of the St. Louis Cathedral, located just in front of Jackson Square Park, and quite possibly the most photographed building in New Orleans. We spent some time getting to know each other, and our guide Natasha, before doing our best to get some unique shots of this iconic building.
There were multiple haunted stops on the tour including the Cornstalk Fence Hotel on Royal Street, and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street, which is not just haunted, but also claims to be the oldest operating bar in the United States.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is located on the “good” end of Bourbon Street, if you go consider trying the voodoo daiquiri, which tastes just like a grape slushy, but be warned it packs a punch!
It’s been a few years since people tied their horses up to the hitching post, however, there are many of them throughout New Orleans and they add a great deal of charm to the city’s streets. I’d be surprised if I ever saw a horse tied to one, but never say never in NOLA!
While visiting NOLA you’re sure to notice the gas lamps located on the street corners, hanging from the galleries and doorways, and along the walls. The French Quarter, just wouldn’t be the Quarter without them!
During the day, they add an old world charm, but the real magic happens at night, especially in the warmer months, when the lamplight mixes with the humid air creating a magical hazy glow.
Over the course of it’s 299 year history the architecture in the Quarter has been influenced by Spanish, French, Creole and American residents. It’s the combination of these different styles that make the Quarter the special place it is today.
Beyond the colorful and unique street fronts you’ll find that there’s more than meets the eye, magical hidden courtyards, filled with angels, fountains and lush gardens are just waiting for you to discover them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of the French Quarter, and some of the details that help to make it such a wonderful place to visit and explore!
Tips & Advice
- A recipe for Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Voodoo drink:
2 oz bourbon 1 oz Everclear or vodka 4 oz grape juice 1 cup crushed ice
- Are you wondering how much it costs to keep the gas lamps lit? Around $8 per month, or so I was told.
- The photo tour is 3 hours, and is suitable for all ages and all camera types.
- The tour is best suited to older children and adults.
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Hilary your posts always have me dreaming of going NOLA! What months would you best recommend going? Is summer like August too hot and busy? X
Hi! I’m so glad you’re enjoying them! I hope I’m not writing too many but we go there a lot… Definitely don’t go in the summer! It’s SO hot and humid. I’d say if you have some flexibility then springtime is an excellent time of year to visit, the weather will be nice, but not too hot! Between Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest… there will be a lot going on, but it won’t be too crazy!
Aaw it’s a shame it’s too hot summertime. Is October time nice there? Also LA where you are is summer too hot? No I love your NOLA posts. Looks fascinating. Such a mixture of cultures and history xc
High summer is really the only time you shouldn’t go, although rain, and other weather can be a factor in the autumn…
Los Angeles, has perfect weather ALL year round! In my humble opinion! 😉
Haha with our jobs atm we’re not sure if we can go away next spring. So trying to think of good Aug and Oct destinations😊x
Pretty much everywhere on the West Coast of the US will have perfect weather in August, but if you don’t want rain, then stay south in October… NOLA, might work, but again, they could have rain, as that’s hurricane season… I’d check a vacation weather website. If you do come to LA, I’d love to show you around! xx I’m considering a trip to your neck of the woods for Christmas!
Yes of course. Fingers crossed we’ll get to visit the US this year! Would be lovely to see you😊 Yay! Where was you thinking of spending Christmas? In London or a different part of the UK xx
I’m considering renting a place in London for three weeks in December, and then doing a few day or weekend trips around to other places.
That’d be great😊 Do you know what places you want to see? X
Definitely Kent, Bath, and Stonehenge to name a few!
😊 I recommend the New Forest. Isn’t too difficult from London x
Beautiful night photography and great post
Thank you so very much!
Jane the Raincity Librarian
New Orleans just seems like a world unto itself, so different from any other US city, with such a unique and colourful spirit!
It truly is! I guess that’s why I love it so much!
I loved this tour Hilary and your photos are incredible. I was looking and trying to pick a favourite but can’t – you should make these ones into a book!
You’re too kind! Thank you so much!
i loved the idea of the photo tour. thanks for the tip.
Beautiful! I wanna go too 🙂
Photo of St. Louis Cathedral I’ve never seen it captured so fantastically . Bourbon street at night so so real it was like a painting . You must find a way to let more of the public see your uplifting and exhilarating photography .
Thank you! xoxo
fifi + hop
Your photos are amazing!! Job well done. That photo tour sounds like it was the perfect thing to do. I never asked – so how do you like your new camera? Do you recommend going the mirrorless route? ps – wish we had gone to the blacksmith shop..
Thank you! The tour was nice! I admit that some of these aren’t from the tour, but I couldn’t resist sharing more… I ended up getting my old camera fixed. I really like the mirrorless partly because it is so lightweight and the technology is so good these days. When I do get a new camera if will likely be a Sony A6500. Don’t worry Lafitte’s isn’t going anywhere…
Oh, how I love photo tours!! B’ful pics… 🙂 #CityTripping
I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans & the more I read your blog the sooner I’m going to have to make this happen!
I hope you do! It’s such a great place!!
The tour was definitely worth it just for those photos, they are lovely. My favorite is the one of Jackson Square. New Orleans is a great place to just walk around and photograph, so the photo tour is a great idea. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Lorna ✶ The Painted Globe
*Gorgeous* photos! I’ve never seen anything about the gas lighting before – that adds so much charm. Dying to visit New Orleans some time!
Also, I can really relate to your qualms about keeping tourists/cars in a shot vs waiting for them to pass and capturing the big picture vs small details. It’s can be so hard to authentically capture everything about a place!
All the best pictures of NOLA!! I especially like the night time picture of the cathedral!! I’ve already mentioned to my mom the next time I’m in the States, we’re going to NOLA! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!
Thank you!! I’m so excited for you! You’re going to LOVE it!
You captured so many great details like my favourite grumpy cupid. Seems the new camera is working out just fine. I’d love to do a photo tour! #FarawayFiles
He is adorable isn’t he?! The photo tour was great, it was so refreshing to spend a morning with a group of people who all wanted to wait for the best shot!
Bumble Bee Mum
Amazing photos!! I should try leaving the kids with the hubby one morning to go for a photo tour one day. Seems like a really great way to tour a city, doing it with fellow photography-enthusiasts rather than kids with zero patience to wait for me to snap a photo! #CityTripping
Thank you! It was really fun! I think I may start doing it all the time!
You found the perfect balance of people, energy, reality, details! Great tour. I clearly need to return and move off Bourbon Street! (to be fair, I was on a work trip and only had one night to meet NOLA.) Here’s to a second date and more exploring sometime soon!
Thank you!! Yes! Get back there!! Might be a great place for a blogger meet up?! Just an idea… ha ha!