Definitely a highlight of our trip. Fun and informative!
Our driver was great. He had lived through the hurricane and shared his experiences with us. That was a first for us and we appreciated it. The tour was so interesting. It was our second tour in two years and this one was excellent. I would recommend taking the tour at the beginning of the vacation so you can see things to go back and visit.
Had a awesome time! I think everyone needs to check out this tour if there in New Orleans :)
My wife and I took the Grand tour which included Laura and Oak Alley Plantations and a boat tour of the bayous with an experienced hunter, trapper. It was a great counterpoint to the city tour the day before because it gave us a better understanding of life then and now in southern Louisiana.
The Laura Plantation was a surprise because it was not the grand colonnaded structure of Tara in "Gone With the Wind". It is an example of a creole plantation with a surrounding veranda on the second story living quarters. There were only four rooms. A very workman like living quarters for owners who only occasionally visited. Oak Alley was the "movie" type of plantation with three stories of living space and majestic columns at the entrance, It got its name from the two rows of 300 year old oak trees which frame the entrance from the river levee. As might be expected this plantation has been used in a number of feature films.
An included lunch was served to the rear of Oak Alley and was very good. The tour guide at Oak Alley was dressed in period costume and with pal skin and black hair done in falling curls, she looked as if she stepped out of one of the photos of former residents.
Slave quarters at the rear of the main buildings were replicas since the originals had long since decayed. The stark difference in living conditions was evident. The tour was informative and varied. The Laura folks could learn from the Oak Alley folks, though, because Oak Alley offered an experience while the Laura tour was almost perfunctory.
In the afternoon, we went to a small town on a major bayou where we were met by a lifelong resident and alligator hunter, Roland Torres. He was the real deal. No airs, just a good ole boy giving us city folk a taste of his world. We went in a covered bayou boat with Roland as our pilot and raconteur. He interspersed information with stories and lore. We were totally entertained and informed.
This was an excellent experience that I would recommend to anyone.
Awesome tour. Both plantations were marvellous with awesome local guides. The gumbo was supa yummy, the yummiest gumbo I've had in New Orleans. The swamp was alright, a bit disappointed that I didn't get the chance to see alligators but it was due to the cold weather.Beautiful swamp.
It was great. A good driver/ guide and a good guide for the swamp ride.
We loved it our guide was wonderful, he had a Very pleasant speaking voice and was easy to listen to and was very knowledgeable. Having the two different plantations gave a great perspective. Our Swamp tour guide was also an absolute delight. Everything ran on schedule was well thought out and was exactly what we expected. It was great to get out of the craziness for a day and see more than just the quarter. Also very grateful to be in a van not a bus with a sound system for the guide. Good job
Learned what a fascinating city New Orleans is. Tour guide, Dillon, was excellent!
We were picked up promptly at 8:00 from our hotel by Dylan. He was a local who had grown up in New Orleans. He was informative, funny, and had great energy all throughout the day.
We drove about an hour outside of the city to see the first plantation Laura. Our guide at Laura was Rose, if you can make sure you had her as your guide, she is phenomenal, lots of energy and mostly very passionate about her job. She had a great way of telling the story of the Laura plantation and kept us entertained and informed. I love how the preservation society had kept as much as they could about the plantation authentic. We had a historical and emotional journey I will never forget.
Next was lunch at Oak Alley, we were in for a surprise! This was the best meal we had in New Orleans, the most authentic and homemade. Our meal began with a fresh salad, iced tea, and homemade bread. We then were served a small bowl of gumbo followed by a plate of rice with jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée. Lastly we were given a choice of either bread pudding or buttermilk pie for dessert. Everything was delicious and eaten eagerly.
Our next plantation was Oak Alley, well known for it's movie and TV appearances like "Interview with a Vampire". It was a different plantation experience, not as detailed in the slave life as Laura was, more about the family that lived there and how they lived. We were given a full tour and then invited to purchase mint julep and walk around the grounds. It was beautiful and peaceful.
Our next stop was the Swamp tour with Mr Torres. He was quite a character, grew up in Cajun country on the Bayou that he now takes tourists on. He had an amazing knowledge of survival in the bayou and probably could do his own TV show! We actually saw alligators, snakes, turtles, and nutria! We had a couple from Montreal and he was able to speak fluent French to them explaining everything in both languages.
Overall I would recommend this tour it was a life experience!
The Laura Creole plantation was the best part of the trip. A plantation owned and managed by a woman. It was not the traditional southern plantation. Oak Alley is the traditional plantation and a beautiful property. Mr Torres has interesting stories about life in the swamp as you cruise through the swamp. We saw alligators within seconds of leaving the dock. Our tour guide Muriel was wonderful. She was extremely helpful. It is an all day tour but well worth it since the swamp and plantations are both in the same area outside of New Orleans.
This tour was one of the highlights of our trip. The van ride to the swamp was great- we were picked up at the hotel right on time. Our driver Dylan knew so much about New Orleans and told us about the history of the area and also shared such great stories about himself. It's nice to have access to a local who can give great tips about where else to go in the city and to give insight about what it's like to live and work in New Orleans. Once we got to the Swamp, we were swiftly led to a boat and the trip began. It was so exciting--the boats can really move through the swamp lanes. We got to hold a baby alligator and we also saw five of them in the wild. Our boat pilot Allen was such a skilled driver...even at high speeds we all felt safe. It's amazing what he knew about all of the birds and plants and alligators. He took the time to stop in several places to let us get the feel for the swamp and to hear him tell his Cajun tales! Very interesting and great fun! Dress warmly! Dylan had raincoats to lend to us which really helped cut the wind.
The boat ride and tour were enjoyable but unfortunately we did not see much wildlife because of the time of year and weather we were having. Were very happy they postponed for one day as the first day was raining, windy and only 30 degrees F. Tour guide did a good job trying to entertain us and the hotel pick up and drop off were very well organized.
It was a great tour with well informed guides and the driver. Might be good to note that alligators and other animal hybernate in the winter, so you won't see much wildlife, except birds in the swamp. Still interesting and entertaining with the guide!
We had Joseph as our guide and we thought he was very well informed about the sights of New Orleans. Because he was a native to the area and a Katrina survivor, we felt his personal experiences were very interesting and touching. The only problem we had was the bouncing around in the back of the van due to the very bumpy roads. We would recommend this tour.
Favorite tour; Enjoyed seeing and learning about both plantations;
But the swamp boat tour - not so much; was chilly and apparently in winter no alligators (hibernate in the cold)
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