Weather you walk around on your own or take a tour .. this was interesting. The cemetery there wasn't open the day we went and it was our last day but enjoyed looking at the old mansions and their landscaping. We overheard some tour guides telling the celebrity's that live in various houses. We spent about an hour walking around and it was very nice. We had a car so drove there. Beautiful iron work .. huge trees ... great old mansions.
Follow St Charles Street from Canal St, through the Central Business District, and after a mile or two you'll hit the Garden District. This area is full of huge houses with big gardens from the 1840s when cotton and sugar were booming, and it was established by the new American presence in the city.
A tourist favorite is to take the St Charles line streetcar from its Canal Street Station through the Garden District. It costs about $1.25 each way, and it takes you past Audubon Park, the New Orleans Zoo, Tulane University, Loyola University, and several shopping and dining areas.
Going to the Garden District rounds out your trip. It's small enough to see a lot of good houses in about an hour. When we were there, the trolleys weren't running and we had to take a taxi to get there and back, but it was very affordable. Touring the Garden District can be a nice, relaxing way to end a crazy weekend in New Orleans.
The weblink below is a street map of the district.
The garden district is in my opinion the most beautiful part of New Orleans. The quiet tree lined streets with all of the beautiful homes are a stark contrast to the decadent fame of Bourbon Street. But it too is an important part of the city and adds yet another flavor to this city. This is what I love about New Orleans. There are so many different types of neighborhoods and activities to be found. Its like the city is changing right before your eyes.
Take the rickety St. Charles streetcar to this historic neighbourhood. Traditionally home the American wealthy, not much has changed. Author Anne Rice lives here, as does musician Trent Reznor.
Architecture buffs will love the delapitaded old mansions. A stroll through the Garden District's residential streets is a must.
This is also *the* neighbourhood for Anne Rice fans. You can see her house, the Mayfair Witch house, Louis' Lafayette Cemetary and her official merchandise shop.
We created our own Garden District Walking Tour from Frommers. Our street card conductor told us where to get off and we spent about an hour wandering around the streets. There were lots of other tourists holding similar papers, tour buses that passed us and a few walking groups.
We started in the Garden District Book Shop where we enjoyed coffee. We walked down Prytania Street taking photographs of the architecture and gardens. We were impressed with 2523 Prytania St. which was once owned by Anne Rice and is now a private school. We turned down first street to the 4th house and saw Archie Mannings current home, the Pritchard Pigott, Morris Israel House, Carroll - Crawfod house as well as the Seven Sisters House. Anne Rice's 1857 Greek Revival Rosegate at 1239 First Street had a historical marker and a rosette pattern fence. Across the street is the Payne Stachan House with a marker in front; where Jefferson Davis fell ill and died.
We visited Commander's Palace from 1883 by Emile Commander, the large blue turreted victorian.
Lafayette Cemetery was established in 1883 and is one of New Orleans's oldest cemeteries.
This roughly 5-by-10 block area of New Orleans feels very much like the Old South and very different than the French Quarter. Established between 1840 and 1816 by Americans and immigrants who found themselves less than welcome in the Creole French Quarter, this area is on the National Register of Historic Places and is famous for its architectural collection of Antebellum, Victorian, Greek Revival and Italianite homes. Named for the profusion of gorgeous flowers, trees and shrubs that are simply everywhere, the soil is unusually fertile due to a deposit of rich silt from flooding in 1816.
The very best way to experience this district is on foot. You can take a guided walking tour (see my tour tip) or you can do it on your own. There is a very nice Visitor's Center on St. Charles Av. (between Josephine and St. Andrew Streets) that has brochures for a self-guided walk. Take a St. Charles streetcar (green ones) to either of these streets (pull the cord to be let off) and stop in for all sorts of good info on the area. The center is only a block from the edge of the district. Also, http://www.inetours.com/New_Orleans/Garden_District.html has a short guide that can be downloaded before you go.
For sure, you'll want to combine your walk with a visit to Lafayette Cemetery - which lies in the middle of the district between 6th and Washington (see tip). I might suggest planning your tour early in the day, when it's cooler, and wrapping it up with lunch at nearby Commander's Palace (lunch M-F, www.commanderspalace.com). It's expensive and they have a dress code (check website) but it's supposed to be very good and lunch prices are less spendy than dinner.
the sam zemurray mansion is one of scores of beautiful and architecturally significant homes in the garden district. sam zemurray has a jewish immigrant to america from bessarabia russia in the early 20 th century. zemurray also known as "sam the banana man" made a fortune growing and importing bananas from honduras. zemurray founded the cuyamel fruit company which he sold to the united fruit company in 1930 for 31 million dollars. today the zemurray mansion is owned by tulane university and is home to it's president. see my garden district travelogue for more pictures of garden district homes.
The Garden District in New Orleans is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. The historical area has a lot of houses from the mid- to late-19th century, back when they knew how to make houses. Most have developed wonderful gardens over the years (hence the name), with immaculate and detailed installations throughout the area. Take a map and wander around and poke around. Don't forget your camera.
These mansions stand in the center of large grounds and rise, garlanded with roses, out of the midst of swelling masses of shining green foliage and many-colored blossoms. No houses could well be in better harmony with their surroundings, or more pleasing to the eye. -- Mark Twain
The Garden District was built mostly between 1840 and 1900 by the well-heeled Americans who were snooted by the old French Creoles of the French Quarter
We went to the Garden District twice. Once on the city tour where the guide pointed out the various homes and why they were famous. We saw the famous corn fence, but it was on the other side of the bus and I didn't get a picture.
Then on another day, we got on the St. Charles line streetcar and rode to the end of the line through the Garden District, and then rode back to Lee Circle and got off and went to the D-Day Museum
The Garden District runs from Magazine Street to St. Charles Avenue and from Jackson Avenue to Louisiana Avenue. I have so many photos of the area - especially along St. Charles Avenue, that I've set up a separate page for them. This is purported to be one of the largest collections of historic mansions in the south.
Ride all day for one fare, see the magnificent architecture, get off, walk around, go to a coffee shop, ride some more. Hopefully, some day, New Orleans will be again the way it was. It's not a place that can be kept down.
As a huge Anne Rice fan, seeing the home where she wrote about the Mayfair Witches and Lestat was so exciting to me. I had goose bumps as I admired this enormous house. Sad that she no longer lives there, and even sadder that her inspiration and love of her life, Stan, died. The tour guide told stories of Anne and Stan that brought the house back to life, at least in my imagination.