[twitter]At the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans this week, I took every opportunity available to dive into the wonderful French Quarter for some exploring. There are many different French Quarter Tours you can take, some with groups, some on your own, here’s 4 ways I explored the area. On Day 1 I did a walking tour with the wonderful Mary LaCoste. The retired school teacher may be 80 years old, but she is full of spark, excitement and is proud to share the stories of her home. She lives just a few blocks from Jackson Square and stayed in her home during Hurricane Katrina. When the flood started, she left, but she’s a hearty soul who offers an entertaining look at the historic French Quarter.
She took us down Royal Street to Jackson Square and then back on Decatur telling us the stories about how the city changed from French to Spanish to American. We sought beautiful wrought iron balconies, signs for haunted apartments, and the quirky blue dog from George Rodrigue.
The next morning I saddled up with Crescent City Bike Tours to go for an hour ride. New Orleans is shaped like a dish, the center of the city is lower than the edges, and it is a flat easy ride along the streets.
This time we went down to the Mississippi River, rode along the boardwalk, before turning in to tour the French Quarter.
The next French Quarter tour happened when I went wandering down Bourbon Street with some attendees from Dad 2.0. There was a parade going on despite being a month away from Mardi Gras. It was a few hundred men and women in their 60s dressed like pharaohs following a flat bed truck blasting Def Leppard‘s Pour Some Sugar On Me. It was hilarious. The street was packed, everyone was drunk, and smiling, and it was, a parade.
The next morning I got up early for a run. I’d trace back down the riverfront in New Orleans, back into the French Quarter, and finally another tour of Bourbon Street. This time it was street cleaners on parade as they moved to clean up the remains of the previous night’s party. There were empty grenade shooters, broken bottles, and reams of beads lying in the gutter. While many were broken, I picked up a few that were discarded and in tact to bring home to the kids.
As in any major city, there are places you go and places you don’t in New Orleans. Hooking up with any of these French Quarter tours, be it a walking tour, or getting advice from your concierge to plot a running route, or taking a bike tour of the city is a great way to get your bearings, see the sights, and explore a wonderfully historic place.