New Orleans, Louisiana
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!
New Orleans, Louisiana
We walked from our hotel to the Gray Lines tour gazebo and began our Isle of Orleans tour. Our guide, Katrell, was from New Orleans and very knowledgeable about the history of the city. He began by pointing out historical sights and explaining who owned them and their importance. He also pointed out points of interest, places to eat and legends. We also visited the 9th ward and areas affected by Katrina. He explained the use of the outer city walls and levys and how they were used to defend the city in case of another hurricane or other water disaster. We also toured a cemetery briefly, which is beautiful and eerie! We had a quick stop for beignets and coffee at City Park, which was amazing and lovely for a family outing on it's own.
Our last stop was The Canal lighthouse. Although beautiful and newly restored, I felt that it wasn't as interesting as the rest of the tour. Some of the information given during the lighthouse tour was informative and good about the history of the area and the need to conserve the lake and surrounding water. But I was more interested in the city and the different cultures and societies brought up in New Orleans than about the lighthouse.
Overall I think it's a great tour, you get to see the different sides of this eclectic city, the European French, Spanish, Creole, American and everything in between. I highly recommend it to anyone that doesn't know the history of this rich city and wants to tour it with a great guide.
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