When planning a trip to New Orleans, you will undoubtedly hear much about their famed Garden District. The district is a neighborhood filled with European-revival homes decorated with beautiful landscapes and rich histories. Follow the below tour to guide yourself through what is considered one of the most beautiful collection of homes in the country.
Parade floats such as these are towed down St. Charles everyday during Mardi Gras — Photo courtesy of Infrogmation
From wherever your starting point may be, get to the St. Charles Streetcar (the green one). Take the country's oldest continually operating trolley to the St. Charles and 3rd stop. Get off here and marvel at the trees and trolley cables adorned with Mardi Gras beads. Each year, many of the parade floats meander down this very road during the city's most famous holiday.
Stroll down St. Charles and turn left down 4th in the direction of Magazine (you may need a map or ask someone to make sure you go the right way). Notice the beautiful European-accented architecture of the houses and the rustic iron gates.
Colonel Short's Villa — Photo courtesy of NatalieMaynor
On 4th and Prytania, you will notice some of the most brilliant iron work of all; the exterior fencing of Colonel Short's Villa. The fence is made up of iron cornstalks, said to have been crafted due to the Colonel's wife missing the Midwest. This house was seized by the Union during the Civil War.
New Orleans cemeteries feature above-ground tombs so burials aren't affected when it floods — Photo courtesy of angela n.
Take a right on Prytania, followed by a left on Washington. You will run straight into Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, first open for business in 1833. You will find many of the city's eerie above-ground tombs here, built this way due to the city's ground water level. Many of the cemetery inhabitants are there due to the yellow fever epidemic.
Right across from the cemetery is the famous Commander's Palace restaurant. This is a pretty classy place, so if you want to plan on doing lunch here, read into their dress code (no shorts or jeans). Also prepare to suck down at least a few of their special $0.25 martinis.
New Orleans horse hitching post — Photo courtesy of Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
Upon exiting Commander's parched-alleviated and bellies full, head left down Coliseum. On the right, you will find five similarly beautiful Greek-style houses with amazing columns. Continuing down, you will run into sprawling estates owned by Sandra Bullock and John Goodman. As you walk, you will notice many of the houses still have the old horse hitching posts out front, and the tiered stone steps for guests to dismount upon.
Once you hit 1st, taking a right will bring you by the house where Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, died. Notice the sky-blue ceiling of the porch. Many Garden District homes follow this tradition to keep insects from nesting there, and to deter evil spirits!
After the Davis abode, you will run smack into Magazine. This is one of the city's most famous shopping and eating streets. If you're hungry, you can grab a sandwich at Stein's Deli, or walk right to Tracey's for some American food and great drink selections.
The historical part of the tour is over, but walking Magazine in the direction of Uptown is a thrilling experience just as well. Grab a to-go drink from the aforementioned Tracey's and stroll through the stores such as A Girl is a Gun to shop vintage or Fleurty Girl to get a New Orleans-inspired graphic tee.