New Orleans’ Garden District and Why You Need it in Your Life-
My first time visiting New Orleans was when I was 20 years old in the middle of a national tour with only one day to experience and enjoy it as much as I could, and I did. I immediately immersed myself in the culture and fell madly in love, as if I just discovered who I was and what I truly loved. Typically when people think of New Orleans they think barbaric college kids, mardi gras beads, or a rundown urban ghetto… which in a sense is dead on if you have tunnel vision, but there is SO much more to this city.
The Garden District/Uptown area is my absolute favorite neighborhood of anywhere I have ever been. The area was originally developed between 1832 and 1900 and is
considered one of the best-preserved collections of historic Southern mansions in the United States. What initially took my breath away was the architecture. I have always had a profound love for opulent, mid-1800′s architecture including Greek Revival, Colonial, and Victorian styles such as Italianate, and Queen Anne, but had never seen them so vast in person. The second showstopper was how the foliage abounds far and wide; from the tree lined streets, to the lush gardens nearly every home possessed. It is positively one of the most visually appealing places in the United States.
Below I have comprised a list of 10 places you MUST enjoy during your next visit to New Orleans in order of how they appear above. Enjoy:
1. The Wedding Cake House
This ostentatious Victorian, Georgian revival mansion is one of the most prominent and recognizable historical residences along St. Charles Ave. Can you imagine an entire neighborhood of these?
Built in 1896-Located at 5809 St. Charles Ave.
2. The Carroll-Crawford House
The elegant, but dark Italianate design with the fine cast-iron double galleries will always remind me of the first time I saw this type of architecture… Disneyland’s Haunted House; it was surreal.
Built in 1869-Located at 1315 First Street.
3. St. Charles Street Car
You can hop on at several locations along St Charles and Carrollton and jump off at the French Quarter On Carondelet/Canal St. or vice versa AND it’s only $3 for a day pass.
4. Lafayette Cemetery
Known for its old, often crumbling, and occasionally open, above ground tombs, Lafayette is easily one of the most fascinating cemeteries you will ever visit. Although St. Louis Cemetery is generally the first sought after by tourists due to it’s location in the French Quarter and the graves of more celebrities, Lafayette is much more serene and picturesque cemetery that you could probably spend hours in.
Established in 1833-Located at: 2010 Washington Ave.
Tips: There are gates on each of the roads around the cemetery, but only the Washington and Sixth St are unlocked. Also, there is an awesome coffee shop across the street called Still Perkin’.
5. Blue Phoenix
This is a wonderful place to acquire metaphysical and new age supplies including: herbs, oils, incense, amulets, cool candles, crystals, voodoo dolls and other spiritual supplies.
Located at: 4304 Magazine St.
An Uptown sweet boutique that features an assortment of handcrafted, luscious chocolates, fresh gelato, one-of-a-kind pastry masterpieces and super-premium coffees.
Located at: 3025 Magazine St.
7. Audubon Park
This is a beautiful Uptown park that borders both the Mississippi River and St. Charles Ave. with a great set of walking/bike paths and plenty of benches near the lake, under the overgrown, live oak trees, also adjacent to the Audubon Zoo.
Located at: 6500 Magazine St.
8. Commander’s Palace
You will find this place at the top of every “Where to Eat in New Orleans” list. Located just across the street from the Lafayette Cemetery, this large, but intimate Victorian house is the perfect place to get some of the best Southern food New Orleans has to offer.
Located at: 1403 Washington Ave. Established in 1880
9. Dos Jefes Cigar Bar
If you’re interested in a more relaxed, but entertaining place to enjoy your evening, Dos Jefes features live jazz with great top shelf liquor and there is never a cover charge.
Located at: 5535 Tchoupitoulas St.
10. Hubbard Mansion B&B
This is an exquisite family owned business located in the heart of the Garden District that offers five exquisitely furnished suites in the Main House, and two executive apartments. The beautiful rooms recall the grandeur of 19th century New Orleans. The St Charles Street Car stops right out front for a convenient, quick ride to the French Quarter.
Located at: 3535 St. Charles Ave.