Unlike the War of 1812, New Orleans did not see major fighting during the American Civil War. Yet, the city was the largest in the South. It was a commercial, shipping and manufacturing center without equal in Dixie. The Union coveted the city, and sent major army and naval units to complete this task. In April 1862, the city fell after the Union navy ran passed the guns at Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip. The city was occupied for the rest of the war; only once did Confederate forces come close to recapturing it.
New Orleans has a variety of Civil War sites. This Self-Guided New Orleans Civil War Tour will offer tourists in the French Quarter a look into the various buildings and dramatic moments that can be easily visited by anyone sticking to the Vieux Carre.
One reason the French decided to settle New Orleans was the nearby Bayou St. John, a sluggish outlet of nearby Lake Pontchartrain. The waterway skirted the relative high ground of the Esplanade Ridge, which stretched down toward the city. Here in this area the first French settlers established a camp. Here is where the French first staked their claim. Today, the area is quiet and relatively overlooked, but offers some wonderful sights off the beaten path. Begin the tour by heading down Esplanade Avenue away from the French Quarter.
Originally a plantation home, this house was designed in 1861 for A. B. Charpentier. Esplanade Avenue became the Creole answer to the lush homes on St. Charles Avenue, right down to the prevalence of Oak trees. This home is odd in that it combines Creole and American architecture, drawing from the Americans, with a center hallway and large porch, but sticking with Creole style windows. Although Americans and Creoles were rivals, after the Civil War the two groups started to intermarry. Today the home operates as Ashton’s Bed & Breakfast, one of the highest rated establishments of this kind in New Orleans. Read more »
Bounded by Elysian Fields and Esplanade Avenue, the Faubourg Marigny is one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods. Originally it was a prosperous plantation, and much the old French colonial buildings were constructed from cypress trees cut to clear the land. The plantation later specialized in brick laying.
The owner in 1805 was Bernard de Marigny. He decided to chop up his plantation into lots that he sold at a good price. While the Americans moved into present day Central Business District and Garden District, refugees from Europe and Haiti gravitated to the Faubourg Marigny. Here they built a unique culture that is still visible today in the neighborhood’s architecture and music scene.
This post is an introduction to the great plantations near New Orleans, how you could get there with your own car, and a review of the tour operators that can bring you there in comfort. Learn about the people who lived in the plantations of Louisiana, and there is no better option than to hop on Highway 90 and drive through the sugar cane fields back in time. You may also be interested in our comparison of New Orleans swamp tours.
This post is a self-guided Hurricane Katrina Tour. Many people who visit New Orleans are interested in visiting areas that were affected by Hurricane Katrina, which stormed through in 2005 and to see the revitalization that has taken place since. We have set up this self-guided tour so that you can use your car or bike to visit. Total time should be 2-3 hours by car and 5 hours by bike. Be sure to check out our full list of self guided New Orleans tours.
This post is a guide to the French Quarter in New Orleans that provides a neighborhood map, tips on restaurants and nightlife as well as a self-guided tour which highlights the top 25 things to do in the French Quarter. This map and guide serve as a great companion to our guided tour of the French Quarter as well as our ghost, food and cocktail tours (all in the FQ).
In this section, we provide you with access to several maps of the French Quarter that cover food, drink, attractions and hotels. To begin with, we have our self-guided tour map, which takes you to all the important sites of the French Quarter. You can skip straight to the self-guided tour. You can enlarge the map and you could download it to your smartphone to use offline.
Travel insurance is often the last thing you have on your mind when planning your next trip for just yourself, with your family or with friends. We look forward to a well-earned and long-desired vacation and we know deep down, however, that travelling brings about the unexpected (mostly in good ways). For the hopefully rare bad case scenarios, where you need to cancel a trip due to hazardous weather, sickness, the death of a family member, or any accidents during your trip, stolen or lost luggage/passports/wallets, and even worse injury or death of a travel mate, you want to be covered. Instead of overthinking the many things that might happen, travel insurance can help to put your mind at ease for the many what-ifs, so you can get back to planning and enjoying the fun things about your next trip. So, is travel insurance worth it?
This post is a review of Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans, with info on tickets, tours and online review analysis. Oak Alley Plantation is often thought of as the most iconic plantation is Louisiana. With its massive, 300 year old Live Oak trees, well-preserved mansion, and close proximity to New Orleans, Oak Alley has become a must-do for many travelers to the Big Easy. Be sure to read our post that compares Oak Alley with other plantations near New Orleans.
Pro Tip: Admission to this plantation is included in the New Orleans Power Pass! Get free admission to over 26 attractions around New Orleans, and skip the lines with the Power Pass.
Oak Alley Plantation is located approximately 1 hour west by car from New Orleans in Vacherie, LA. We recommend using this link for a map and directions to Oak Ally Plantation. There is no public transportation to Oak Alley. Guests without a car must either rent one or go with a tour company. Expect to pay around $80 for the trip, which includes transportation and the cost of admission to the plantation.
Hours and Availability
The plantation is open everyday except New Year’s Day, Mardi Gras Tuesday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Tours of the house run on the hour and 1/2 hour daily.
Oak Alley Plantation currently has a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor. A very small percentage of reviews for this historic location are negative, indicating that most visitors absolutely love exploring the grounds. As a matter of fact, some guests felt that it was quite easy to spend several hours discovering Oak Alley. Thousands of positive comments recommend a visit to this estate. By and large, couples were the most likely to enjoy their trip.
The incredible Live Oaks that welcome guests to the mansion and give the property its name were planted between 1725-1750, though why they were planted and by whom remains a mystery.
Valcour Aime, a prominent sugarcane farmer, purchased the land in 1830 and established a community of enslaved people to care for the plantation. A few years later Aime traded the plantation with his brother-in-law Jacques Telesphore Roman who would eventually build the mansion that sits on the property today. The mansion was completed in 1837 and was built entirely by slave labor.
There was a large enslaved community that lived on the property throughout the antebellum period. One of the most famous enslaved men to reside there was Antoine, who gained great recognition for grafting “paper shell” pecan trees.
The Roman family continued to live at Oak Alley until just after the Civil War, when it was sold at auction due to the high cost of maintaining it. The plantation was not damaged during the war, but quickly fell in disrepair. Oak Alley relied heavily on slave labor, and with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, it became impossible for the plantation to continue operating as it originally did.
In 1925, Andrew Stewart purchased the property as a gift for his wife Josephine. Together, the Stewarts initiated a restoration project that would span the rest of their lives. In 1966, a few years before her death and decades after her husband’s, Josephine established a non-profit foundation to preserve the home and 25 acres of the grounds. Josephine Stewart passed away in 1972. As the longest resident of Oak Alley and in honor of her memory, all the clocks in the mansion are stopped at 7:30, the time of Josephine’s death. Both she and her husband are buried on the property. In 1978 Oak Alley became officially designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The Mansion – Tours of the mansion run every half hour and are included in the cost of admission. Guides dress up in antebellum clothing and take groups through the many different rooms of the home, all the while sharing stories of how the property developed, why it eventually declined, and where it stands today.
A majority of guests who visit the mansion are very impressed with their experience. Several reviewers enjoyed both the beauty and the history behind this building, making sure to take several pictures during their trip. There are very few negative reviews, and none of them indicated any serious problems with the tour. Couples were the most likely to enjoy this guided walk around the house.
Live Oaks – The row of (nearly) 300 year old live oak tree is what differentiates Oak Alley from other southern plantations. The mansion’s balcony offers a great view and photo opportunity, though nothing emphasizes the true magnitude of the trees like a picture of someone standing next to one of them!
Several guests visit Oak Alley just to see the beautiful trees. Reviewers claim that this plantation features oak trees larger than cars! Some visitors felt that the pictures of this location simply didn’t do it justice. Even customers who didn’t enjoy their visit were taken aback by the size and grandeur of these Oaks. Couples, families and those who brought a friend for the trip were most likely to leave a positive remark about the foliage.
Slavery at Oak Alley Exhibit – One of the newer exhibits on the property, “Slavery at Oak Alley” features 6 reconstructed cottages that tell the story of the enslaved people who resided at the plantation. This tour includes a lot of live performances re-enacting life on the plantation for slaves.
Although this journey may not be for everyone, most visitors feel that it is important to experience. A few guests were disappointed with the level of detail that they put into this interpretation of the plantation lifestyle, but this wasn’t a common complaint. In fact, an overwhelming majority of reviews for this exhibit are absolutely stellar. Couples were the most likely to appreciate this tour.
Reviews of Oak Alley Plantation
Reviews for these tours are generally very favorable. Although they have received some negative comments, most visitors have a wonderful time exploring Oak Alley Plantation with the help of a tour guide. Several guests indicated that their docent was very knowledgeable, providing a lot of valuable information about the mansion and its history. Customers were most likely to leave a glowing review after taking one of these plantation tours with either their family, friends or significant others.
In addition to tours offered at the plantation, there are also a few companies that offer day trips to Oak Alley. These trips typically last for approximately 5-6 hours, giving you plenty of time to explore the grounds. This is a perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to avoid driving to and from the area, allowing them to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Ticket prices typically fall in the $60 range, which is fairly reasonable for a half-day outing. For more information, check out our post covering New Orleans Plantation Tours.
Gray Line Tours – This trip is offered daily at 12 PM and runs for about 5 hours in total (including travel time). Gray Line has very good reviews in New Orleans, and most guests who took this particular tour were very impressed. Tickets are $63 for adults and $31 for children.
Cajun Encounters – This company offers a slightly longer trip at 5 ½ hours in length. Unlike their competitors, this tour is offered twice daily at both 8:30 AM and 11:45 AM. Although they have received some negative reviews, it’s worth noting that they do provide more than one outing per day. Tickets are $62 for adults and $49 for children.
Cajun Pride Tours – Much like their competition, this company also provides daily tours to Oak Alley Plantation. This trip departs at 12:30 PM and runs for between 5-6 hours. Unlike Gray Line, Cajun Pride offers hotel pick-up for their customers. This very highly rated tour is $59 for adults and $40 for children.
As with most antebellum plantations of the South, Oak Alley is rumored to be home to some spiritual activity. Of course there is great debate as to how much truth is behind these tales, but a few of the more well supported stories include:
A woman who very much resembles Mrs. Stewart, the last private owner of the property, has been seen looking out the window of the mansion’s lavender room after dark.
The sound of a horse-drawn carriage and the whirl of dust being kicked up by some sort of presence, both of which were unaccompanied by a material explanation.
A candlestick that flew across the room in front of a tour guide and 35 guests.
July is very warm and humid in New Orleans with frequent shower and thunderstorm activity. The daily high temperatures tend to be in the lower 90s f (32-33C) with the early morning lows mostly in the mid to upper 70s f (24-26C). You can expect about 20 or 21 days this month to reach highs at or above 90f (32C). In the past, New Orleans has seen temperature extremes during July from a low of 60f (15.6C) to a high of 101f (38.3C).
Sunny or at least partly sunny skies occur on about 14 days this month so there are still many good days to see what this city has to offer. Showers and thunderstorms are fairly frequent, but often brief, with some rain falling, on average, on about 14 days this month but with significant rainfalls of 1/2 inch (13mm) or more occurring only on about 4 days.
What to wear in New Orleans in July
The weather this month is very warm and humid so dress light for summer and with the risk for frequent showers you should bring your umbrella or a plastic poncho. Don’t forget a good pair of walking shoes or sandals to see all the sights, rain or shine.
This post is a review of the National World War II Museum, one of the most popular and most satisfying experience one can have during a visit to New Orleans. But don’t just take our word for it — the Museum is ranked the #1 activity to do in New Orleans on TripAdvisor. Nearly 15,000 people have reviewed the Museum which has a 5-star rating. The Museum’s impressive five-building campus is located outside of the French Quarter, inside the Warehouse District. Because it is a popular attraction and requires a minimum of 2-3 hours to have a satisfying visit, we have created this guide to help you organize your visit in advance.
You may be wondering what does the museum have to offer that earns it such consistently high ratings. The Museum is more than just a place to look at objects. It is a venue in which visitors are metaphorically transported to another time and place, where they can virtually experience the challenges faced by the nations who fought in World War II. Immersive and interactive exhibits bring you into the emotional world of the people who lived through WWII, who fought overseas or who remained on the Home Front. It is a museum like no other and you need not be a military buff to find a visit rewarding.