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New Orleans walking tours..?

Old Jul 15th, 2003, 04:36 PM
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New Orleans walking tours..?

I was wondering if any Fodorites had attended any of the myriad New Orleans walking tours that are available? I was wondering who the more reputable or reliable tour providers are. I am interested in any aspect of the city's culture. I began looking at the ghost tours which sound really intesting, but some of the sites visited are pretty corny! Any help or info would help
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 03:35 PM
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Over the last couple of years, I have done the French Quarter, Garden District, cemetary, and haunted walking tours, all with Historic New Orleans Walking tours (www.tourneworleans.com). I highly recommend them--interesting guides, high-quality information, and nobody dresses up like vampires!
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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I've been to NO lots of times but haven't ever taken a tour. But I HAVE read and heard that the NO Ghost Tour is a joke. Highly theatrical, etc., etc. I'd avoid it like the plague.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 07:34 PM
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New Orleans is easily walkable on your own, especially with a tour guide, such as Access or Eyewitness.

Better bet is a small bus tour, such as Tours by Isabelle.

Problem with the walking tours is that you must plan your entire day around them, there's more standing about than walking, and the weather is generally quite miserable.
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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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We did an evening tour through Haunted History Tours. It was dramatic storytelling, but nothing too cheesy like staged ghosts or anything. It was kind of fun. Our guide was hilarious (though clearly he meant to be quite serious) and my husband and I have had many laughs about the tour since.

We did a wonderful swamp boat tour outside the city. If you are considering a swamp boat, I would highly highly recommend you do a small fan boat. I know there are big boats that fit a lot of people for less $$, but spending the extra money for the fan boat/smaller group is well worth it. We had 6 people on our boat plus the guide. He grew up in the area and had so much first hand info; and flying through the bayou on one of those boats is an experience itself - not to mention being practically nose to nose with the gators!!!

Lisa
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Old Jul 21st, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Another vote for Historic New Orleans Walking Tour Co. We took the cemetery/Voodoo tour and it was quite interesting. It was a day time tour which met at a small cafe on Royal. We walked through the Quarter to the church near St Louis cemetery, through the cemetery, Louis Armstrong Park, to a voodoo temple, and then back to the cafe. It took about 2 hours and our guide was great - she gave us lots of information, told us some legends and tall tails, and answered questions. We did the morning tour which took about 2 hours.

Next time we are in NO, we will definitely take another walking tour with this company.

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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 10:44 PM
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I've done the Haunted History Tour twice (three years apart). I'm really not that interested in ghosts but I thoroughly enjoyed the tour as the history component is very strong. It was fascinating - the guide obviously held strong beliefs about the supernatural but was not in your face about it, and was not short on knowledge about the area. And no-one was dressed up as vampires.
Another walk was through the courtyard gardens (with a short trip into Cemetary #1). This was also very worthwhile with an entertaining and knowledeageble guide. I recommend that you include these in your plans. BTW I made no advanced plans for either, I just picked up the information about both tours once in town.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 10:46 PM
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Oops - you'd think I'd be able to spell knowledgeable! (blush)
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 08:37 AM
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Lisa,

Where can I find a tour company that does the swamp tour on a small fan boat?
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 09:12 AM
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I think the city's park service (or some similar group) offers free walking tours of the FQ on certain days of the week. Reviews are mixed, depending upon the guide you happen to get.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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In your opinion, are the Historic Walking Tours okay for people of all fitness levels? I am going to New Orleans in October and my friends want me to coordinate a tour. I don't know if some of them have knee problems or can walk for 2 hours.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 12:41 PM
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Melissa - When we took a walking tour with the Historic New Orleans Walking Tour Co, the guide walked with a cane because SHE had a knee problem. The tour takes 2 hours, but it isn't 2 hours of walking. It was walk a few blocks, stop and talk for awhile, walk a half a block, stop and talk - you get the idea. There were places to sit along the way too.

gma803 - I remember coming across a tour company that does airboat swamp tours while researching for my trip. I don't remember the name, but I found it on a Yahoo! search. We opted not to do an airboat tour because although it looked fun, we were interested in seeing some wildlife and the airboats are so noisy that the animals take off long before you get near them.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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When we were in NOLA, we did two walking tours.

1) We wanted a cemetary tour and found one that sounded good done by the Voodoo Museum. This also included a part of the tour dedicated to voodoo in NOLA (natch). Our guide was a web-footed (no I'm not kidding) old guy named Madge who was facinated by the cemtart and loved it himself. This made the tour much better and he even showed us where he was going to be buried. It was raining torrents (up to my ankles in the streets), but it was still one of the most enjoyable things we did while in New Orleans.

2) Since we're national Park junkies and needed the stamp for our National Park passport, we did the free tour from the National Park Service (Prob. the one the poster mentions above) It was good, but a little tiring b/c people kep "joining" the tour as we walked along and the ranger had to keep explaining what she was doing.
There was a lengthy and heated thread not too long ago about these "free" tours (they're not really free...we all pay for them on April 15th) Do a search and you'll find it.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 01:02 PM
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From the National Park Service....

French Quarter Visitor Center: The history and cultural diversity of Louisiana's Mississippi Delta region are presented in an overview of the region. Located at 419 Decatur Street in the French Quarter. Call (504) 589-2636 for further information. The center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed December 25th and Mardi Gras.

Ranger-guided Interpretive Programs:

9:30 a.m. History of New Orleans walking tour : This tour through the French Quarter involves one mile of walking and provides an overview of the historical events and the ethnic and cultural diversity that have combined to create present-day New Orleans, unique among American cities. Relive the history of New Orleans from its humble beginnings as a small outpost of French rule in the North American wilderness. 25-person limit, first-come, first-served. Passes limited to one per person, must be picked up in person on the day of the tour.

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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Last week I took the Friends of the Cablido walking tour. Our guide was really outstanding. He focused on architecture and history and was very knowledgeable of the area. It was a two hour tour and included "free" tickets to two other locations - the 1850 house and Madame John's Legacy that you could visit at a later time. I did both immediately after the tour. I think the ticket cost was $10 or $12. Well worth the cost.
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