Take the Streetcar to the Audubon Zoo and tour the Garden District.

T

he Saint Charles Streetcar Line has been running for over 150 years.  You don’t want to miss out on a ride on the oldest continuously operating streetcar.  But where to go and what to do?

We were staying at the Roosevelt New Orleans, so it was easy for us to pick it up at Stop #256 – Canal and Carondelet.  The Regional Transit Authority has a wonderful website and app that make getting around very easy with reliable schedules that show you the moving streetcars locations and wait times.

The Saint Charles line features vintage streetcars that pass through the Central Business District, the Garden District and Uptown.  You’ll pass antebellum mansions, Loyola and Tulane Universities, and Audubon Park.

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Garden District New Orleans

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.

John James Audubon
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Audubon Park

You can wait for the shuttle that will take you to the Zoo entrance but if you are up for the walk, it is an enjoyable one.  After passing the Gumbel fountain, it doesn’t matter if you go right or left, you will find a playground shortly along your path.

If you go to the right, you will pass the Crepe Myrtle Grove and wind along the oak-lined jogging path.

If you go the left, you’ll be able to pass the 1884 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition Entrance gate, the Hunt Street bridge, the Olmstead Lake (Lagoon), and the World War I Monument Gardens.

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Audubon Playground
Audubon Park

 

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Audubon Zoo

Get the Zoo Scoop before you go to know when Sea Lions are training or to be ready for various animal encounters and feeding sessions.

Besides the beautiful crafted environment at the zoo, my favorite don’t miss exhibits are:

Bambu Village – an Asian discovery trail

Monkey Hill – climb to the top

Louisiana Swamp – highlights Cajun culture

Jaguar Jungle – a dig site, nocturnal house, and a Mayan Village play area

And of course,

Audubon Aviary – 30+ species of beautiful birds in free flight

Cool Zoo– We didn’t get to experience it but if you’re there at the right time (summer or early fall), it looks like a great option!

It’s always nice to know how much lunch might cost you before you go: Lunch Options

 

You may be wiped out after the zoo but if not, hop on the shuttle to take you back to the St. Charles Streetcar and head back towards the Garden District.

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Washington Ave Entrance

Garden District

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Lafayette Cemetery 

Keep in mind that you need to return to the streetcar and then take it back down St. Charles to Washington Ave. in enough time to walk around by the 3pm closing time. (Yeah, we goofed that part up.)  Always double check the hours.

Some notable tombs inside:

  • Judge Ferguson of Plessy VS Ferguson case
  • Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Secret Society Tomb
  • Jefferson Fire Company #22 Tomb
  • New Orleans Home for the Incurables Tomb

For a free walking tour guide of the cemetery, see Free Tours By Foot

 

If you’ve never visited a cemetery before, you might wonder why or what to even do at one.  Here’s some things you could do while being mindful and respectful of the resting place:

  • Meditate – it’s usually a very peaceful environment.
  • Reflect on your own mortality or the loss of loved ones
  • Lay flowers at a grave or several graves just because.
  • Plant a flag by the headstone
  • Lay pebbles artistically by a grave – shape of a heart or flag, something nice.
  • If you’re looking for a certain grave, try to find it first on findagrave.com
  • Photography – you could create a picture scavenger hunt.  Find something that represents or is a sculpted: woman, cross, bird, child, soldier, your favorite, etc.
  • Headstone scavenger hunt: tallest, largest, earliest dated, most recent, group memorial, war veterans, longest name, specific time period, matches a popular street or community name in the area.
  • Before you do any headstone rubbings, always check to see if it’s allowed first.

My favorite thing to do is always just to walk and talk.

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Notable places to wander by: (click map for detailed instructions) Remember that many of these are private homes and we should always use discretion as to not disturb the owners or occupants the same as we would want to be treated by guests around our own homes.

  • Commander’s Palace

1403 Washington Ave

Head down Washington Ave to Commander’s Palace, an iconic landmark and winner of seven James Beard Foundation Awards.  On the menu, you might find Turtle Soup, Molasses Glazed Texas Quail, and Creole Bread Pudding Souffle as the Classic Creole Luncheon.  But there’s also fit options like Chilled Cantaloupe Soup and Chili-Lime Gulf Fish. Or just take a picture and keep moving…

  • Musson-Bell House

1331 Third St

1850’s Greek Revival home commissioned by the maternal uncle of Edgar Degas

  • Walter Grinnan Robinson House

1415 Third St

Built in 1859

  • Along Coliseum St, you will pass by Sandra Bullock’s house
  • Brevard House

1239 First St

1859 “transitional” (Greek Rivival & Italianate) home once owned by Anne Rice, author of Interview with a Vampire

  • Caroll-Crawford House

1315 First St –

Built in 1869, another example of Italianate features.

  • Morris-Israel House

1331 First St

Also called the House of VooDoo Ritual, this house is the center of spooky tales and whispers of hauntings.

  • The Seven Sisters

2329 Coliseum St

Row of Shotgun style houses

  • Pritchard-Pigot House

1407 First St,

Greek Revival

  • Briggs-Staub House

2605 Prytania St

Gothic Revival

  • You’ll also pass the Women’s Opera Guild Home and another Anne Rice home.
  • Colonel Short’s Villa

1448 Fourth St,

The Cornstalk Mansion

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Books for Kids About Architecture

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jennybhatia
Guest

New Orleans is one of my favorite places to visit. I remember taking the street car down to this restaurant as you turned the corner. Boy it was greasy, but one of the best burgers, ever. Your images are stunning. Makes me want to go back.

How We Find Happy
Guest
How We Find Happy

Can’t wait to visit New Orleans one day!! Love all the historic buildings. Beautiful pictures!

AlekZD
Guest

Excellent post! I like the Google Map and your photography. And you’re absolutely right about the Garden District; it often gets overlooked by people who just know about the French Quarter. Which, the French Quarter is nice! But so is the Garden District and other parts of Mid-City.