New Orleans’ Garden District

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Garden District New Orleans

The French Quarter might get all the fame in New Orleans, but at some point, you need a break from the constant music and crowds and good times rolling.

The perfect spot? The Garden District.

I’ve always loved driving around and looking at beautiful houses, seeing where people live and thinking about the choices the architects made. Even when I was a teenager (and gas was a mere $1.45 a gallon), I would spend whole afternoons driving around the ritzy neighborhoods in the surrounding towns, checking out the enormous, ornate homes. Sometimes I’d be with my friends, but most of the time I was on my own, cranking up the music and enjoying my own company.

Perhaps this was the origin of my life as a solo traveler — these long drives through nearby neighborhoods, nothing to do, just exploring.

Turns out that New Orleans is a fantastic place for solo travel.

Garden District New Orleans

I’ve wanted to come to New Orleans for years, and I’ve always planned on exploring the Garden District and seeing some of these houses for myself — as jaw-dropping as their New England counterparts, but infused with sweet, sweet Southern charm and flowers that bloom as early as February.

Here it is: the Garden District in all its glory.

Lafayette Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery is the perfect place to start — it’s in the heart of the Garden District and it’s a perfectly fascinating place to walk around. The cemetery was founded in 1833 as a final resting place for “The Americans” (meaning people of Irish, German, and British descent as opposed to the local French, Spanish and Creole communities) and today is home to some of the most ornate mausoleums in the city.

Lafayette Cemetery
Lafayette Cemetery
Lafayette Cemetery
Lafayette Cemetery

After checking out the graves, move on to the streets. The best thing to do in the Garden District is to simply wander and photograph anything that catches your fancy.

Garden District New Orleans
Garden District New Orleans
Garden District New Orleans
Garden District New Orleans

But rather than having a completely unplanned wander, I recommend taking in First Street, where you’ll find some of the most famous houses in the Garden District and all of New Orleans.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Garden District New Orleans

Joseph Carroll House (1315 First Street)

Joseph Carroll House was my favorite house in New Orleans — not only is it gorgeous, it’s PINK! It also has a bright pink carriage house around the corner.

Joseph Carroll loved to throw parties. One of his good friends and frequent party guests was Mark Twain. Could you imagine sitting on one of those balconies, sipping a mint julep and listening to Mark Twain riff about anything at all? (Put that on the time travel bucket list.)

Garden District New Orleans

Brevard House (1239 First Street)

Brevard House is home to the Garden District’s most famous resident: Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire and many other books, quite a few of them set in New Orleans. While she left New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and sold the house to a private buyer in 2010, Brevard House is still known in the local community as “Anne’s house.”

Garden District New Orleans

Payne-Strachan House (1134 First Street)

Payne-Strachan House has one macabre claim to fame: Jefferson Davis, once president of the Confederacy, died while visiting his friend Judge Charles Fenner here in 1889.

See the blue ceilings? This is a popular design attribute in the Garden District. Most believed it kept insects from nesting in the wood; others believe a blue ceiling wards off evil spirits. And in one of the most haunted cities in America, you do everything you can to keep the spirits at peace.

More on New Orleans:

Best Time to Visit New Orleans

Solo Female Travel in New Orleans: Is it Safe?

What to Eat in New Orleans

In New Orleans, the Sweet Art of Stillness

Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans

See all New Orleans postsΒ here.

Essential Info: The Garden District is located between St. Charles Ave., Jackson St., Magazine St. and Toledano St. The best way to get there is to take the St. Charles Ave. streetcar from edge of the French Quarter, the Central Business District, or Uptown.

If you’re visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras, however, St. Charles Ave. is the main parade route and the streetcar will not be running. The best way to get there is to take a cab or, if you’re up for it, walk (approximately 40 minutes from the French Quarter). Double-check parade times because you won’t be able to cross the street!

Like many cemeteries in the South, Lafayette Cemetery isn’t open 24/7: its hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM-2:30 PM and Saturday, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM.

If you’re hungry, the Magazine Po-Boy and Sandwich Shop (2368 Magazine St.) is around the corner from the famous houses listed here and serves up good, cheap sandwiches. I enjoyed my fried oyster po’ boy.

The #SouthUSA campaign is brought to you by Country Inns and Suites by Carlson and Holiday Autos. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Which Garden District house is your favorite?

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34 thoughts on “New Orleans’ Garden District”

  1. I love that everything is in bloom.
    I have been dreaming of an American South vacation – to include New Orleans, Charlestown and Savannah. Never had the time while I lived in the US; now I tend to go somewhere I can fly direct from Moscow (to wit: I’m in Florida at the moment). So I am enjoying this region through you πŸ™‚

  2. I’m heading to NOLA for the first time this week. I’m glad I saw this post to help me ground an itinerary to the Garden District. Your pics from NOLA in general were all awesome!

  3. I just can’t get over the porches in southern towns. I wrote a post about them once — inspired by those ornate first-and-second-story porches in Charleston (much like these). There’s a house near mine, overlooking the incredible James River, with a sprawling second-story porch and no one is ever out there. I want to ask them if I can rent their porch for parties and coffee in the mornings. Would that be weird? πŸ˜‰

  4. I love looking at buildings, especially, houses when I travel and imagining what it’s like to live there. I think maybe it’s just me being nosey (I used to do this a lot when I’d be caravanning with my parents too as a teenager – we’d go for walks in the evenings and be able to see in other people’s windows, see the layout of their vans and do a bit of from-afar critiquing!) but maybe I just like the idea of looking into a bit of people’s lives.

    Ok, yeah, so I’m nosy.

    But anyway, these pictures are lovely Kate and it definitely makes me want to head to New Orleans πŸ™‚

  5. Agh, this all looks so gorgeous! Reminds me a bit of The Battery in Charleston, where the Calhoun House and all the other pretty southern mansions are. If you happened to befriend any handsome, smart, funny, wealthy bachelors who live in a house like any of the ones in your photos while in New Orleans, you know where to send him.

  6. This is the best I have read on Adventurous Kate. Really felt like walking through New Orleans District. I love the way you talked about the houses.

  7. Simply stunning. I love the charms of Charleston and Savannah – New Orleans still eludes me. Your deep South road trip is an inspiration!

  8. I think I would adore the Garden District – it looks so lovely! All your pictures are beautiful, but that first photo of Lafayette Cemetery is really stunning.

  9. Hi Kate! Thanks for your reply regarding New Orleans!! Unfortunately I had to cancel my trip….but the good news is I already had Peru and Brazil planned for November so can’t complain!

    Love your posts though! You inspired me to start blogging!!

  10. I’ll take them all Kate. πŸ™‚
    The buildings look magnificent with all the 18th and 19th century French architecture. In Germany this year, we were introduced to “American Horror Story” which is set in New Orleans. The main characters are located right here in the Garden District of the French Quarter.
    Oh yes. I remember those iron railings and Lafayette Cemetery rather well…..!

  11. Wow, this is fantastic! I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans, but I have to admit most of my attention – likemany people I think – has been focused on the French Quarter and Mardi Gras! I knew of course there would be other places to see but I never really looked into them much because of my focus on the obvious, this has given me a lot of incentive! Thanks! Amazing photos too!

  12. Beautiful! I’ve been dying to go to NOLA for years. The flower district looks gorgeous. I love those huge southern style houses. Looks like a great place to get lost πŸ™‚

  13. New on your block and love it! Dreaming about traveling the world as well, you’re a great inspiration.

    Your pictures are wonderful, what camera do you use and do you edit each one before posting it?

  14. I loved visiting the Garden District as a break from the French Quarter. The ornate houses are so unique to the region! I also loved dining and shopping along Magazine street. Such a livable neighborhood!

  15. It’s nice to see your travels in the US Kate. Personally, I have travel more outside than inside my own country. New Orleans is one of the places I am dying to see… Looks amazing! But I can’t help but feel I should save exploring the states when I’m older, married and have an RV to travel around in. It just seems to be the way to do it. I’ll “live” in the US through your pics until then. hehe.

  16. Gah! I’m so bummed I missed out on the Garden District! When in New Orleans I spent all of my time around the French Quarter, which I love. Stunning houses!

  17. Such a fascinating peak into how the other half lives! I love exploring residential streets, especially in London. Although I usually start thinking about the cost of living on one of the streets and suddenly find myself scurrying away!

  18. These pictures are gorgeous, I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. When I think of the place the first thing that comes to my mind is the music and the festivities held over there. But through this blog, you’ve shown that New Orleans offer so much more, a completely different side than what we normally perceive. The architecture and the history is breath taking. The buildings and houses hold so many stories. Thank you for sharing.

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