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Monthly Archives: February 2016

New Orleans news from Royal Carriages Tours

Discover the French Quarter through the eyes of our tourism team. Our guides, mule groomers, tour sales reservationists, and everyone in between are a family who takes pride in our culture and giving back to the community. Check back often to get the latest in our New Orleans news!

Learn all about Royal Carriages Street Sweep Program

Posted by Nancy on February 15, 2016

Did you know that the diaper bags that the mules wear today were originally designed by a lovely lady by the name of Miss Violet Lauga in the 1960s? Violet was happily married to the founder of Royal Carriages, Clem Laura. She and her husband traced out the pattern on her kitchen table. This same pattern is still hand-sewn and worn by all Royal Carriage mules.  

When worn properly, equine diaper bags catch more than 90% of all waste...manure...poop...whatever you want to call it! 
Occasionally accidental "road apples" hit the ground. Royal Carriages averages 20-26 working mules each day, in addition to working mules from the other companies and New Orleans Police Department Mounted Patrol....that can be a lot of accidental manure! City law requires each carriage mule to wear a diaper bag, and City Officials regularly perform surprise inspections to make sure the diaper bags are in proper working order.
 
Did you know The City of New Orleans requires each carriage company to remove the manure from the French Quarter on scheduled days? Since Royal Carriages is the largest carriage company, we are responsible for cleaning more days out of any other company.

At Royal Carriages, we 
believe in being good neighbors and we love seeing (and smelling) a clean French Quarter. Which is why the Royal Carriage Street Sweep is actively on the hunt, searching for manure to sweep up. The Royal Carriages Street Sweep consists of a battery operated golf cart, equipped with a shovel, broom, and assortment of cleaning products to help neutralize and mask the odors. 
 

Did you know Royal Carriages also provides complimentary odor neutralizers to help freshen the air in front of any French Quarter business or residence? If you would like to receive a package, contact our business office at (504) 943-8820  and we will deliver it to your door.  
 
If you are a French Quarter business owner or resident that needs EMERGENCY POOP REMOVAL, we've got you covered! Follow the chart below, and call in your request to the company scheduled. If the waste isn't removed in a timely manner, comments can be made during regular business hours to The City of New Orleans at (504) 658-7176.

Royal Carriages will make the extra effort to clean up even if it isn't our scheduled day.  

If you are a resident or a business owner in the French Quarter or Marigny and have found this information to be helpful, please forward this on to your neighbors!

Together, we'll all work towards cleaner streets! 

Nancy's Story: How I Became A French Quarter Carriage Driver

Posted by Nancy on February 08, 2016

In my early 20s, I left behind a good job, friends, and family in rural Louisiana for a life in The Big Easy. Never living in a city, I was completely unprepared for such change. Constantly struggling to find enough work to pay rent like most, I found myself slinging drinks on at a jazz club on Bourbon Street. Working late nights in a crowded and smoky environment for months on end was enough to drive for me to find something different. 

For years, I had wanted to become a licensed city tour guide, but the application process and tests through City Hall were discouraging. I wanted formal education to prepare me and within a few months, I graduated from the Friends of the Cabildo Tour Guide Class and began working as a professional city tour guide. Walking groups of 25+ visitors throughout the French Quarter  for 2-hours at a time was not as much fun as it seemed and neither was giving tours on a tour bus. Once again, I found myself struggling financially and still searching for a rewarding experience. 

Through Friends of the Cabildo, I met an older man with a big smile named Mick. After expressing my concerns to him, he told me that I needed to work as a carriage driver for Royal Carriages. I never considered driving carriages or working with “poor overworked horses” and my own stubborn ignorance didn’t think highly of the carriage industry. He laughed and said, “If you see anything you don’t like, then don’t do it.”

Before applying to Royal Carriages to work as a carriage driver, I researched the carriage industry. I wanted to know everything that I could about what I was about to do. I learned that the horses were not horses at all, but mules, and that Royal Carriages has been in business since 1941! My confidence in the industry grew, and I looked forward to my job interviews with Royal Carriages. I even came across a vintage brooch of a horse-drawn carriage at a local thrift shop, felt that fate was working its magic, and wore it as good luck to the interview. 


Nancy is pictured with Queenie

Most carriage drivers agree that it is the best job in the city. We have the opportunity to spend our days working with hard-working and hard-loving mules that are well cared for, and provide visitors with the best tour experience possible. Our mule-drawn carriages enhance the beauty of the French Quarter, and the initial encounter that people have with a carriage mule can be unforgettable. Artists have painted works of art of my mule and me, and our photo has been taken by countless strangers. Those types of things don’t happen when you are a walking tour guide or a bus tour guide. 


Original Artwork by New Orleans Artist Wayne Griffin 

Over the years, I have become somewhat of a carriage mule-advocate. Whenever someone discovers that I work as a carriage driver, they have a ton of questions. They are always surprised and delighted to hear my response. I show them pictures of the carriage mule that I work with on my cell phone and speak of it as if it were my child. They are reassured knowing that people like me truly do fall in love with their working partners. 

When you're a newbie, your mule teaches you a lot. One of the most important things I've learned is that life is like a stubborn mule. You can try to be in control, but you’re not. I do my best to just work with it. I believe that fate can be a series of unfortunate events that lead you to a worthwhile experience. In this case, it leads me to loving mules and appreciating those who work with equines in various industries. I'm one of those "mule-crazy" people now. 

Bravo to Royal Carriages for employing such a fantastic tour guide with a passion for the city of New Orleans. Mark had so many great stories of the French quarter as well as the St. Louis cemetery it was fun and very informative. He has a great sense of humor and actually knows his history. Very enjoyable and would highly recommend a visit to Jackson Square for the hour long tour.

Gale & Cindy R., Wisconsin, USA

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