It’s no secret that I love New Orleans, I try to go every year and have written numerous posts, but if you haven’t been yet, consider making 2018 the year you finally go. It’s always amazing, but did you know that 2018 is the 300th anniversary of New Orleans? There’s sure to be plenty going on!
I’ll definitely be going, I’ve been thinking about a return trip since I stepped off the plane last April. I’m considering Mardi Gras in 2018! What about you? Have you been to Mardi Gras? Do you want to go?
While I’m working out when I might find my way back I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the adventures from our 2017 visit, specifically our visit to the Garden District.
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A Bit of History
The architecture in New Orleans is really something special, especially in The Garden District, which has no shortage of beautiful old homes.
The Garden District was created in 1832 – 1833 after the Louisiana Purchase as a place for the new American residents of New Orleans to settle. Made wealthy in the cotton, sugar, insurance and shipping industries these residents hired architects to create grand homes in Italianate, Greek revival and Victorian styles.
The homes were located on large parcels of land, which allowed for the beautiful lush gardens for which the area is named.
The streetcars in New Orleans, aren’t just for show, they’ve been used by locals and tourists alike for 150 years! The original, and my favorite, is the St. Charles line. As the name suggests its route is via St. Charles Street. Take The St. Charles line to the Garden District and you’ll ride through some of the city’s loveliest neighborhoods on the way.
I love everything about riding these historic cars, watching the city roll by from the wide windows, the fantastic sounds they make, the old wooden benches, even the close proximity to other travelers! The fares are very low, and they run often! Get a lovely view of the city and where you need to go all at the same time!
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The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Unique and filled with fascinating history no visit to NOLA would be complete without at least one visit to the cemetery.
The non-denominational Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is located in the heart of the Garden District. The Cemetery encompasses one city block, and is the oldest municipal cemetery in New Orleans. More than 7000 people are buried there.
We lucked out and were able to arrange a tour on site, but for a more comprehensive tour I recommend booking in advance.
New Orleans! Last But Not Least!
There’s nothing like southern hospitality, and you’ll get big doses of it at these two fine dinning institutions.
From the truly southern “Welcome in” to the balloon bouquets on the tables, the three piece band and of course the delicious regional cuisine a meal at Commander’s Palace is truly a dinning experience like no other.
Opened in 1893 and located just across the road from the Lafayette Cemetery #1, Commander’s Palace is a New Orleans culinary institution. If you only have time for one upscale meal during your visit, this would be an excellent choice. Plan ahead for this one, you’ll definitely need reservations.
Emeril’s Delmonico is located right on the St. Charles Street car line in what looks to have been an old house.
The restaurant has not only great food, but also extremely warm hospitality. We had Easter Brunch here loved it. They take reservations and walk-ins.
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Running from Canal Street downriver to Leake Avenue upriver and stretching a distance of six plus miles, Magazine Street is a treasure trove of shops, restaurants, and bars with sections of residential homes interspersed throughout.
Running from Canal Street downriver to Leake Avenue upriver and stretching a distance of six plus miles, Magazine Street is a treasure trove of shops, restaurants, and bars with sections of residential homes interspersed throughout. Many of the establishments are one of a kind and you’re guaranteed to find something of interest, along the way.
A few of our Magazine Street favorites:
A popular artist with his work on display throughout the city, you can pick up your own Simon sign, at his gallery just off of Magazine Street.
A t-shirt shop of a different sort! Dirty Coast is where the locals shop, but visitors are definitely welcome. If you’re looking for something to bring home that feels more authentic this is the place!
Vegas is a men’s clothing store, which features trendy hipster clothing and accessories, we usually find ourselves here at least once a visit. I got my travel backpack here!
Backpacks. Who needs ’em?
With multiple locations throughout the city you can’t go wrong with Dat Dog. Yes, as the name suggests its a hot dog restaurant, but don’t be fooled, it’s absolutely delicious!
Beyond traditional beef they have lots of other options, including chicken, alligator and duck! For the adventurous eaters in your group, consider topping your dog with some crawfish Étouffée.
SnoBalls, otherwise known as a snow cone for those of you West Coasters, are not just a treat in New Orleans, but on a hot day they’re an absolute necessity!
These delicious treats are made when a scoop of ice cream is rolled in sno cone ice, and they come in many delicious flavors, even hurricane! We always make time for a trip to Snowizard on Magazine Street, and I highly recommend you do too!
We discovered District: Donuts, sliders and Brew while walking on Magazine Street a few years ago. They’re not beignets, but its become an annual tradition all the same! These guys really know how to make a donut! Not to mention they’re sliders and brew (coffee) are pretty great too!
Fun Facts, Tips & Advice
- Anne Rice author of the Interview with a Vampire books makes her home in the Garden District as does Sandra Bullock and Nicolas Cage.
- Many movies and television shows have been modeled after or filmed at the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 including The Originals, Dracula 2000, and Interview with a Vampire
- Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 has very limited hours, so check the website before you head over.
- Commanders Palace has the best service I’ve ever experienced. The Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake was so good its indescribable.
- Many famous chefs have worked at Commander’s Palace including Emeril Lagasse.
- The dress code at Commanders Palace is strictly enforced for all ages.
- There is SO much more to the Crescent City than Bourbon Street. In fact it’s the last place in the city I recommend you go. If you’re interested in seeing the city from a local’s point of view, then you should know Bourbon Street is NOT the place.
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