If you’ve been following my New Orleans posts then you’ll know all about the food adventures I went on with the US Chief Chowzters. Like I had mentioned before, I arrived in the evening and checked into the Hyatt Regency located in the central business district. This is a good location if you’re looking for something not right within the tourist area, as it is only a quick taxi ride to the French Quarter (for under $10) and there is access to street cars across the street.
One of the Chowzters moved into the French Quarter to Le Marais, a little boutique hotel along Conti, just around the corner from St Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, across the street from Cafe du Monde. Its art deco interior is really modern and chic.
Make sure to go inside the cathedral, it won’t take too long. Marvel at the intricacies of the architecture and the stained glass window panes.
On the weekends, it is a great experience to walk along Decatur. Horses with carriages align the street waiting to take you on a ride around town. Or, browse the street artists’ wares lining the pavement — no photos allowed though, so don’t pull out your camera here.
I suggest you lunch at Commander’s Palace (or if you are not), then, pick up a copy of the self-guided tour around the Garden District at the reception area and head on across the street for a walk at Lafayette Cemetery No 1. Make sure you do not arrive too late because the gates close at 2.30pm on weekdays and at noon on Saturdays.
Located between Washington, Sixth, Prytania, and Coliseum streets. It is the oldest of the seven municipal, city-operated cemeteries and is non-segregated, non-denominational. We started at the entrance across the street from Commander’s Palace — Washington — and segued between the rows until a headstone caught our eye. Then, we pause. In the cemetery, there are almost 500 wall vaults on Washington Avenue which have been sealed. Only a few of the plaques are engraved.
However, some of the most famous residents of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 are fictional, especially those created by Anne Rice, in her novels. In fact, as we make our way back out to the street and weave our way to the mansions in the Garden District, we pass by several houses previously inhabited by Anne Rice.
One of the houses which most will be familiar with is the one where they filmed The Curious Life of Benjamin Button.
The walk takes about two hours, but really depends on how much time you pause at each one. I suggest going with others. There are guided tours you can join for a fee and these guides will have a more detailed run down of the history — if you want to do that.
For me, the little map provided by Commander’s Palace was enough to enjoy a leisurely afternoon walk after a meal.