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Category Archives: Travel Tips

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 ๐Ÿ’‹ Epic Strt of 2k17 ๐ŸŽ€

A photo posted by ๐Ÿ’–Harshita Panchbhai ..! ๐ŸŽ€ (@______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

Travel Tips: Family Fun in New Orleans

Posted by Nancy on June 09, 2016

"If a fact-filled wander about town sounds like pure punishment, think again. For children, learning about the past can be fascinating, if the setting is right. Taking in the sights from a carriage is decidedly cool. So is picking out the mule leading your expedition."

It's true! A fantastic article written by Amy Tara Koch for The New York Times features a whole slew of must-dos for families planning to visit New Orleans.

The article, published in The New York Times on June 1, 2016, gave an honorable mention to our hard-working mules and the carriage drivers that love them. 

What a great description of our carriage tours! 

In just 30-minutes, our carriage tour covers more ground and history than a 2-hour walking tour! Each tour discusses history, culture, architecture, and dabbles into the subjects of voodoo, food, music, and more! These mule-drawn excursions are perfect for kids of all ages! 

In addition to recommending a mule-drawn carriage tour of the French Quarter with Royal Carriages, the article also suggests phenomenal New Orleans traditions such as beignets at Cafe DuMonde, an overstuffed po'boy at Johnny's, dancing and dining at Three Muses on Frenchmen, and more.

For fun culinary experience the whole family can enjoy, we agree with the selections of Dat Dog, Sucre`, and Jacque-Imo's Cafe for fun atmosphere and flavorful dishes that even the pickiest of eaters can enjoy! 

The New York Times also suggested that New Orleans is considered one of the Top 5 Family Vacation Alternatives to Disney World! 

Click here to read the article: The New York Times "New Orleans is a Party for Families"

Travel Tips: Christmas in New Orleans

Posted by Nancy on November 10, 2015

We are so excited that you'll be joining us for one of the most happiest times of the year! The City of New Orleans is beautiful throughout the holiday season. These are a few things to consider for your trip.

Weather! Our winters are typically warmer than most, but nonetheless, our drivers are always prepared with blankets on hand to keep you warm on your ride. Please check the weather conditions in advance and dress appropriately. You won't regret bringing the extra layer. Trust us when we say you can leave the shorts and sandals at home. Think about bringing a comfortable pair of waterproof shoes with you on your travels. 

Hot Toddy! Warm cocktails heat up the evening! Visitors love taking advantage of walking through the streets with their cocktails. You can always have it "to-go", as long as you aren't walking the streets with glass containers. Hot Buttered Rum is a delicious treat, but so are Hot Toddies, Irish Coffees, or ...Barengjager Honey Liqueur with hot water and extra lemons to help soothe your throat. Think about bringing a canister with you to keep your cocktails hot!! Drinking Hot Buttered Rum out of styrofoam isn't classy, but most of all...it's not the best for the environment. 

Gumbo! Mmm....the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold winter night. Try a cup (or bowl) of gumbo at each restaurant you visit so you can taste the difference. Don't let me be the one to tell you who has the best tasting gumbo in town, I want you to decide for yourself. Remember, just like cocktails...you can get a bowl of gumbo to go, which helps warm your belly as your walk to your destinations. My favorite is always the Chicken & Sausage Gumbo when offered! 

Carriage! Throughout the holiday seasons, the doorways and the balconies will be dressed in their holiday splendor and twinkling lights add to the ambiance of your nighttime carriage ride. Royal Carriages have helped many families create a fantastic holiday memories year after year with nighttime carriages rides throughout the French Quarter enjoying the holiday adornment. The neighborhood begins to hang decorations towards the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, and they tend to hang with pride until January 1st. If you will be traveling to New Orleans during this time, please keep in mind that is extremely important to reserve your carriage in advance! 

Royal Carriages presents Christmas Carre`: The New Orleans Christmas Carriage Tour

Create a mule-drawn memory this holiday season with Royal Carriages. Let our Christmas carriages bring your family on a mule-drawn adventure, complete with a fully narrated introduction to the elaborate history, architectural landmarks, and also features the magical holiday displays throughout the historic French Quarter. Each licensed tour guide customizes the tour to suit your family’s interests. 

...and Free! Sometimes the best things on vacation are FREE! For family-friendly events are sure to please, visit the Convention Visitor Bureau's website, Follow Your Joy. There are lots of wonderful concerts and holiday events for families to enjoy!

We hired the carriage to drive that Father of the Bride and the Bride to the wedding venue. What an arrival! The guest were all taking photos. It was a nice way for the two of them to chill before the big event. The driver took them on a nice little tour of NOLA before the wedding. It was worth every dime. Thanks, Royal Carriages.

Tina J. of Maryland, USA

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