I could have spent about two more
days months just walking around the French Quarter admiring the houses and snapping far too many photos. I actually tripped multiple times while we were there because I wasn’t looking where I was going, embarrassing.
Jackson Square is kind of the heart of the French Quarter, with a big statue of old General J on his horse right in the middle. The big church behind the square is St Louis Cathedral, it dates back to the 1700s but the current structure is from 1850.
The inside is remarkably quiet, especially given there is usually a string of loud jazz musicians blowing their instruments right outside the doors.
It’s also quite pretty.
The church burned down in the 1788 fire that destroyed a lot of the city. In 1909 a dynamite bomb was let off inside the church, blowing out the windows and damaging art.
Artists sell their work along the back fence of the church’s garden.
Are you ready for a few thousand house visuals?
Love the colourful facades.
On the other side of Jackson Square (not the church side) is a road, then Cafe du monde where you get those amazing beignets and behind that is the Mississippi River.
We watched the Natchez steamboat take off for its sunset stroll.
And admired the pink sky.
City Park is outside the French Quarter and well worth a visit. There is modern art sculpture garden that is really cool, especially if you prefer to be outdoors.
To get there we walked from our hostel in Mid City along Bayou Saint John. (a bayou is a marshy outlet of a lake or a river). The area is very old and very pretty.
Next to the bayou is an 18th century Creole colonial country home called Pitot House.
It was built in 1790 and named after the first ‘American’ mayor of the house, James Pitot (who was actually French).
Eventually we made it to City Park (after I chose and re-chose my future house).
It’s modern art at its finest.
On our final morning we took a tour of Saint Louis Cemetery 1. It’s one of the cemeteries with the famous above ground crypts created because of New Orleans’ shallow water table (dig 4 feet down and you hit water, not great for burying bodies!).
When I was little I remember my sister telling me about a place were they don’t bury the bodies and I freaked out! Well this is the place. It’s been around since 1789.
Generations of families enter the vaults when they die. A body must be left untouched for a year and a day before the vault can be opened, so it can get tricky if there is more than one death within a year.
After a year all that’s left is ash (it gets pretty hot in there!), so there is plenty of room for everyone.
The vaults are in various states, some crumbling and others immaculate. There was a problem with vandalism so the Roman Catholic Diocese of New Orleans closed the cemetery to the general public. You can only go with a tour group now.
This pyramid vault belongs to actor Nicholas Cage.
If you’re a fan of Easy Rider you might recognise this:
Peter Fonda sat in the statue’s lap during the acid trip scene.
It’s estimated that 100,000 people are ‘buried’ in Saint Louis 1.
It’s well worth the trip. We went with Free Tours By Foot, the kind of tour where you pay what you want at the end. We also did their French Quarter tour and it was also excellent.
One tour I don’t recommend is the New Orleans ghost tour. I wish I could remember which company we went with! I’ve tried Google but there are a million of them. We were just so underwhelmed, it cost $25 and it was ‘the only tour to go inside a haunted building’ which was a room above a restaurant. Lame.
Wow that was a long post! I just loved New Orleans. Put it on the top of your list if you haven’t been!