One of the most beautiful neighborhoods of New Orleans is the Garden District - any self-respecting travel guide will advertise it as a must-see!
Think shiny white Southern mansions with traditional front porches, surrounded by well-cared for lawns. There used to be plantations in this area but throughout the 19th century the land was sold off to wealthy Americans who then built and settled here.
And how do you get there? By means of another tourist attraction: the New Orleans street cars. From Canal Street catch any of the iconic dark green "St Charles" trams. Buy your ticket on board, take a seat and enjoy the ride past the famous WWII museum and into the leafy suburbs.
Hop off at Charles and Washington and you're right in the middle of the Garden District. Grab a coffee at Still Perkin' and start wandering.
Also down here is the Lafayette Cemetery #1 which is famous for its elaborate tombs. Considering that the city is built on swamp land anything buried in the ground will sooner or later float back up again. To prevent that they simply built the cemeteries here above ground.
Catch another tram back downtown to get a feeling for a completely different part of the city.
The Garden District is one of the more affluent, higher built neighborhoods which escaped Katrina's force almost unscathed. But if you walk anywhere north of the French Quarter you can still see cracked roads and some abandoned houses that may have been left behind after the hurricane destroyed major parts of New Orleans. It's been almost 12 years but some of the scars Katrina left behind are still visible.
The state of Louisiana changed hands several times, had people from many different cultural backgrounds settle here and especially New Orleans played an important role in slave rights back in the day. If you are interested in local history then consider visiting one of the plantations-turned-museum outside the city to learn more about that period.
For a quick history fix head back down to Decatur and check out Jackson Square.
From the slightly elevated look-out spot at the Washington Artillery Park you overlook Jackson Square and you get a great view of the St Louis Cathedral. To its left is the Cabildo, which used to be the seat of the colonial government and is now (together with the Presbytere on the right) home to the Louisiana State Museum.
And of course it wouldn't be a proper visit to New Orleans without a walk through Armstrong Park!
So that was the last part of my New Orleans city adventure... I hope you enjoyed the pictures!
There will be another post in the near future about where we stayed, what yummie plant-based foods we found & some other useful bits of information about the Big Easy! :)