In a city with so many names, I was excited to delve right in! On our first full day, we stepped out onto the streets of the French Quarter to see some of the beautiful Easter decorations still hanging around. Although the area is called the French Quarter from its origins, most of the architecture and housing that is so beautifully seen today was built during under Spanish influence and rule.
With such a beautiful morning, we decided to walk our way down from Royal Street to Canal and catch a trolley. It was bright, early and refreshing morning walk along the boutiques of Royal Street that woke me up and got me ready for the day! (Edit: I realize I say “we” a lot, and I promise it’s not a “royal-we”–I really don’t think that highly of myself. 🙂 I’m actually traveling with my mother a la Gilmore Girl style!)
Hopping onto the St. Charles trolley from Canal and Carondelet, we headed toward the Garden District. The trolleys are such a wonderful and adorable way of getting around and it reminded me a bit of the Stan Francisco cable cars. However, as all San Franciscans know, you avoid cable cars like a disease because of the number of tourists and the fact that cable cars only hit the touristy parts of the town. But the New Orleans trolley went the whole way to Garden District, where we stepped off at St. Charles and Jackson. We had a tour but scheduled it an hour later because we wanted to look around and enjoy the scenery.
The houses here are so beautiful and have so much character to them. We didn’t want to bother people living in the houses, so we tried to make it quick and quiet. As an avid reader, I was so excited to stop by the Anne Rice House on First Street to take a quick picture. Also known as the Brevard House or Rosegate for its cast-iron fence, it has an interesting history as the inspiration for Rice’s Mayfield Manor in her novel, The Witching Hour. It was built in 1857 for Albert Hamilton Brevard. We even picked up a nifty bag and a signed copy of Beauty’s Kingdom by Anne Rice from the Garden District Book Shop at the Rink. The Rink, which was once the location of the South’s first-ever roller-skating rink (hence the name), houses a collection of adorable shops and boutiques!
We also stopped by the gorgeous Buckner Mansion, which was seen as the setting of Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies on season three of American Horror Story: Coven. According to one of the locals, mansion was built in 1856 and houses three ballrooms!
When planning our trip, I tried to make a decision between which cemetery to tour. Ultimately, I picked Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 for 1) the shade of the trees that people mentioned does make it easier in the heat of Louisiana, 2) it was easier on our route and 3) The Originals were here! So eventually we made our way to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 for our tour with Save Our Cemeteries. What a surprise when we learned that our tour guide, Val, was actually from the Bay Area where we were from! Decked out in college merchandise, he was even an alum of the same college my parents attended as well! Having in lived in New Orleans’ Garden District for years now, he and his wife gave tours for SOC, a great organization that puts part of their funds toward trying to preserve these beautiful resting places. The cemetery was amazing! It might be a bit morbid and dark, but it has so much great history and we learned so much about the funeral practices, the emblems above the tombs and some of the inspiration for Rice’s Prince Lestat’s hideaway!
After our tour, we considered taking the walk down Magazine Street with the boutiques and shops, but we weren’t really up for shopping and wanted to see more! So we hopped back onto the trolley and headed to the Warehouse District!