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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!

Travel Tips: How to Celebrate the First Day of Mardi Gras Carnival in New Orleans

Posted by Website Admin on January 06, 2017

2016 was such a wonderful year for Royal Carriages. Together, the entire team at Royal Carriages really accomplished a lot of wonderful firsts throughout the year. We like to thank you for your contributions throughout the year and we look forward to a wonderful New Year!

Today, even though it’s raining in New Orleans, we are happy to celebrate the beginning of our Mardi Gras Carnival season by parading and eating king cake. Mardi Gras season always begins on January 6th of each year and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent. The first parades are supposed to roll tonight, but rain has interfered, and a few are postponed. The first parades of the season are always that of Phorty Phunny Phellows and Joan of Arc.

Phorty Phunny Phellows Streetcar Parade


Phorty Phunny Phellows, a streetcar filled with costumed revelers, has paraded down St. Charles Avenue since 1878. At this time, the Krewe of Rex was only six years old, making Phorty Phunny Phellows one of the oldest carnival traditions in New Orleans. If you are visiting our city and love hijinks and satirical mockery, then you should make plans to attend the nonsense on January 6. Click here to learn more about Phorty Phunny Phellows and see the parade route.

Joan of Arc French Quarter Parade

The gilded bronze statue of Saint Jeanne d’Arc, a symbol of our French cultural heritage, was a gift from France in 1972. The statue is an exact replica of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan located at Place des Pyramides, Paris. For nine years, the Krewe of Jeanne d’Arc honors and celebrates the story of the “Maid of Orleans” and our French heritage with a whimsical and artistic walking parade throughout the French Quarter. This medieval-styled parade is set in the 1400s and features elaborate costumes, traditional music, horses, jugglers, knights, stilt walkers, giant puppets, king cake, and unique handmade throws. Our favorite location to view the parade is in front of St. Louis Cathedral. The parade is concluded with a King Cake Party at the Statue! Click here to learn more about the parade or see the parade route. 

King Cake

 

One of the wonderful traditions of Mardi Gras, and probably the most delicious, is the King Cake.  King Cake parties are held throughout the Mardi Gras season in offices, classrooms, and homes throughout the city. Like the Biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement to the tradition, as each person waits to see in which slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who "finds" the baby will be rewarded with "good luck" and crowned King of the party, that person is also responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering. The cake itself is made from twisted strands of cinnamon dough, frosted and sprinkled with purple, green and gold colored sugar. Most people throughout Louisiana like King Cakes that have the added fillings in various flavors such as cream cheese, strawberry, bavarian cream, raspberry, cherry, or praline. One of the unique flavor combinations is that of the Zulu King Cake, which has chocolate frosting and coconut filling and honors the legendary Zulu parade on Mardi Gras day.

A Message from Royal Carriages

We look forward to celebrating Mardi Gras with you in addition to providing you with the most authentic New Orleans experience. Throughout the Carnival Season in New Orleans, expect to learn added history of our Mardi Gras parades, costumes, traditions, and more on your mule-drawn carriage tour.  

Throughout the carnival season, our mule-drawn carriages will continue to provide visitors the most authentic way to tour the city, but we will be closed for business beginning February 23, 2017 and won't reopen for business on March 1, 2017. Furthermore, mule-drawn carriage tours of the Garden District will be suspended from February 12, 2017 until March 2, 2017. 

Happy New Year and Happy King's Day from everyone at Royal Carriages!

 

Daddy's Place PC : Mumma 💋 Epic Strt of 2k17 🎀

A photo posted by 💖Harshita Panchbhai ..! 🎀 (@______harshi_____) on

What's the big deal with cemeteries in New Orleans?

Posted by Website Admin on December 13, 2016

“The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here.” - Bob Dylan

What makes a graveyard attract more than a hundred thousand visitors each year? In New Orleans, most will say “The Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau”. It’s true that the legend of a powerful and influential voodoo priestess has enchanted spectators since her death in 1881.

Top rate cemetery tours in New Orleans show visitors Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen's family tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1 

Tall tails were weaved by locals and visitors resulting in a tradition that encouraged visitors to leave their mark behind in the form of XXX on the tomb in exchange for a wish granted. With more than thirty years of graffiti, the tomb of Marie Laveau finally received a much-deserved restoration in 2014.

St. Louis Cemetery #1 isn’t the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. The original graveyard was located two blocks away in the French Quarter and is now home to condos and a swimming pool. Unlike the original St. Peter's Cemetery, St. Louis Cemetery #1 was established in Spanish Colonial Rule and built in a swamp, resulting in strange above-ground tombs that resemble “Cities of the Dead”. Above-ground burials are efficient since each tomb can be used countless times.
 

Top rated on Trip Advisor, Bare Bones Walking Tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans shows visitors Nicolas Cage's pyramid tomb

Beside a renowned voodoo priestess, who else is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1?

  • In 2010, actor Nicolas Cage purchased a lot of land in the cemetery and commissioned a pyramid-shaped tomb to be built as his future final resting place
  • The plaintiff from the landmark 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision on civil rights
  • A womanizing gambling political millionaire who’d challenge anyone to a duel
  • An architect who allegedly became one of Jean Lafitte's pirates
  • Earliest World Champion of Chess
  • Chief of the Golden Star Hunters and President of the Mardi Gras Indian Council
  • The Governors Wives who both died of Yellow Fever
  • The first mayor of New Orleans also doubled as a wealthy pioneer of the sugar industry
  • New Orleans first African-American mayor

Recent changes to St. Louis Cemetery #1 require that all guest must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide working for a tour company registered and approved through the Archdiocese of New Orleans. While this may seem strange, supervision and education by a licensed guide have reduced the amount of desecration by tourists and vandals to the sacred burial ground over the past few years. The money paid to the Archdiocese by each tour company also pays for full-time security at St. Louis Cemetery #1. 

Join us as we walk amongst the orphaned and abandoned tombs, the disrepair, and decay. The architecture and symbolism found throughout the cemetery are utterly fascinating. Did you know that a flame or candle can represent the spirit?


 

Royal Carriages provides the most affordable tour of St. Louis #1. Our 1-hour Bare Bones Walking Tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1 is only priced at $15 per person. While other tour companies have tour groups of up to 25 participants, we believe in providing smaller group experience. Often times our groups are no larger than 10 participants total. 

Click here to buy tickets for an upcoming tour. 

Enjoy Royal Carriages Bare Bones Guide to St. Louis Cemetery #1

Royal Carriages Bare Bones Walking Tour of New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery #1 Fact Sheet

10 Reasons Why Mules are like 1500lb Toddlers

Posted by Website Admin on December 06, 2016

 New Orleans French Quarter Carriage Mule Stables Royal Carriages

10 Reasons Why Mules Are Like 1500lbToddlers

  1. Oversize fears of everyday objects. A plastic bag blowing down the street or a discarded couch on the sidewalk can send a mule into a full-on panic tantrum. A few words of encouragement usual helps us get past the scary plastic bag. 
  2. Speaking of tantrums, if you think that a spoiled toddler in the checkout line can create a lot of drama, just wait till you see a mule demanding a treat with every trick at his disposal. 
  3. Dirty diapers. We're talking ten pounds of wet stinking mule poo in a single dump sometimes! It's our job as carriage drivers to keep the diapers empty. 
  4. Hating baths. (To be fair some mules -- like some toddlers -- love baths.)
  5. Needing routine. Even minor changes to a route can sometimes be stressful. 
  6. All-around stubbornness, which is also a sign of their intelligence. 
  7. Testing limits. 
  8. Putting every disgusting thing they can find in their mouths.
  9. Rough/mean play. Ever wonder where the expression "horseplay" comes from? 
  10. BUT... at their best they can be incredibly sweet and affectionate. 

 

When I started driving the carriage four and a half years ago, a colleague said to me, "Working with a mule is like working with a 1,500 pound 3-year-old." Four and a half years later I'm still discovering how true it is. 

Written by Mark Orfila 

Veteran Carriage Driver & Tour Guide at Royal Carriages. 

James, our carriage driver and knowledgeable guide, entertained us and educated us about the rich history of New Orleans, the French Quarter, and the many mysterious residents who still roam the streets and buildings of New Orleans. What a great evening experience!

Eileen, California, USA

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