NOLA-ing: Being a tourist in our own city of New Orleans.

LivingSocial.com can sometimes have some amazing deals, though most of them seem to be about teeth whitening, hair removal, or house cleaning.  But every once in a while, you can find truly cool deal. Our first deal was going to the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Our second deal was through a tour company, Southern Style Tours, where you get a tour of New Orleans. Even though we live here, neither of us have ever taken a true tour of the city. So we decided to become tourists in our own city and explore New Orleans.
We took the tour at the end of November 2011, and we were almost late for it. As we’re hurrying up, trying to speed walk to the tour van, our tour guide was on the phone, saying that he was only missing us and that he’d give us another minute. Luckily, we showed up right then, and everything turned out just fine. We first went through the French Quarter, and actually picked up some more passengers along the way. Our fantastic tour guide explained about the architecture, different important houses, areas of interest, etc. Even where Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie stay while in New Orleans! Though I knew most of what he talked about, there were lots of little details I never knew about the city (like how they use broken up pieces of glass as a cheap but effective way to ward off burglars).

We stopped at the Basin St. Station, where they have a New Orleans Visitor Information. I had no idea this place existed. It was great! So many brochures on different things throughout New Orleans, a miniature city of New Orleans, a cute gift shop, photos and posters and listening stations of various New Orleans places. It was like a neat little museum filled with information about the city…a great first stop for anyone coming to visit our great city.

Basin St. Station

Basin St. Station where you can find New Orleans visitor information

After we left, we headed toward the Garden District. We passed a house with a boat on top of it, a memorial to Hurricane Katrina. Soon we were cruising through the Garden District. We saw homes owned by Peyton Manning, Sandra Bullock, the former home of Nicolas Cage, and a few other people. We passed by the famous Commander’s Palace and other gorgeous homes. One day I hope to have a house near that area, because it’s so beautiful and so close to all kinds of wonderful places. And if something isn’t close by, well, that’s what the streetcar is for!
New Orleans house with boat on top

New Orleans house with boat on top.

Sandra Bullock's house in the Garden District

Sandra Bullock’s house in the Garden District

We then made our way to St. Louis Cemetery #3. I’ve always loved New Orleans cemeteries, with their majestic stone tombs, alluring statues, and haunting beauty. Some of my relatives are in different cemeteries, though the one we visited has no relatives of which I’m aware.

St. Louis Cemetery #3

St. Louis Cemetery #3

One of our last stops was City Park. We had about 30 minutes to explore it on our own. We parked right behind the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). We first ambled over to the little swampy area, which has some beautiful old oaks along its banks. After playing on their branches, we headed over to a pretty little bridge, where we saw some ducks and the beginnings of the holiday decorations for Celebration in the Oaks(a beautiful, light-filled wonderland during Christmastime). After enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of the area, we headed to the sculpture garden behind NOMA. We had about 6-7 minutes to walk around the garden and admire the sculptures before we had to head back to the van.

City Park in New Orleans

City Park in New Orleans

City Park in New Orleans

Sitting on the oaks in City Park in New Orleans

Sculpture Garden at NOMA

Sculpture Garden at NOMA

We ended the tour by driving through the 9th ward, an area hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. It’s amazing to still see so many house destroyed, so many empty slabs, caved in roofs, houses with spray-paint writing from when they were looking for survivors in the aftermath of the storm. We passed by Fats Domino’s house and studio, the Make It Right houses, adopted by Brad Pitt, that are eco-friendly and storm resistant, and the cool Musician’s Village, helped by Harry Connick Jr.
Hurricane Katrina destroyed house in the 9th Ward

Hurricane Katrina destroyed house in the 9th Ward

In all, it was a great way to spend the day. Southern Style Tours was a magnificent tour company, and our tour guide, Casey Nunez, was superb. He was so knowledgeable, interesting, funny, and just an all around great tour guide. If you are looking for a tour, I highly suggest this one.
Note: This is our 100th post. I’m so happy that our little blog is being read by so many great people. We hope that you enjoy the blog and will continue to follow us on all of our journeys and be inspired to try out some of the things we post about. Thank you so much for reading and for encouraging us to keep writing!

3 thoughts on “NOLA-ing: Being a tourist in our own city of New Orleans.

  1. Pingback: Photoblog: Learning How To Use Our Cameras in the French Quarter « Cook. Travel. Eat. The Adventures of Kurt and Cristina

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