Last year’s optional tours sold out early, and this year’s selection is just as exciting and popular. Register early so you won’t miss your chance to participate. Optional tours run Sunday, October 8 through Tuesday, October 10.
Experience the beauty and serenity of one of the wildest swamps and natural areas in North America on an Airboat Ride into the vast interior of this mysterious ecosystem. Flourishing with Cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, wild flowers and multitudes of indigenous aquatic plants, the swamp opens a path to the heart of Louisiana.
Kick it up a notch as you zip through this vast marshland on your airboat as it skims the water’s surface and discover a sanctuary for all forms of southern fauna. Magnificent egrets and Great Blue Herons burst into flight, and turtles dive watery depths. Your Cajun guide will stop along the way to explain the dynamic ecosystem, which supports many types of aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal life. Come face to face with furry beavers, muskrats, nutria and the undisputable king of the swamp… the American Alligator. Just as much of New Orleans is culturally different and unique, so are its natural habitats.
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $100 | ADV: $110 | ONS: $125
Forget about the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter and experience another kind of “wildlife”. Enter the land of swamps and marshes, home to hundreds of species of unique and interesting animals while discovering the land that gave birth to Cajun culture and cuisine.
Boarding a specially designed pontoon boat, this excursion starts on a bayou… local parlance for a small rivulet or stream. Gnarled and twisted cypress stumps and branches lushly draped with Spanish moss line the banks of this waterway. On this meandering cruise, the captain, a native of the region, provides an interesting and entertaining narrative of the history of this massive swampland.
Catch a glimpse of any number of animals that inhabit the area: bald eagles, alligators, blue herons, snappin’ turtles and water snakes – the list goes on. You will even get a peek at an authentic Cajun “trapper’s shack” nestled in this beautiful swampland. For a truly fun and fantastic visit outside of the city, visit Louisiana’s other wildlife!
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $90 | ADV: $100| ONS: $115
Do more than just watch and eat… chop, dice, steam and cook a variety of traditional dishes including Gumbo, Andouille Jambalaya and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. The chef will entertain you with interesting patter about life in New Orleans as you learn the secrets behind preparing Creole delicacies - the world famous cuisine that combines the finest elements of French and Spanish cooking with rich indigenous seafood, spices and produce.
Hands-On Cooking Class sample menu:
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp - Plump Shrimp combined with butter, Garlic and Black Pepper
Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo - Delicious Roux, Chicken & Sausage combined with Seasonings
Crawfish Etouffee or Shrimp Etouffee - Delicious Dark Roux, Tender Crawfish or Shrimp, Seasonings and Vegetables Served over White Rice
Traditional Bread Pudding - French Bread, Eggs, Milk, Sugar and Raisins served with Rum Sauce
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $195 | ADV: $205 | ONS: $220
Dixieland jazz, Tabasco sauce, A Streetcar Named Desire, blackened anything…these are a few of the wonderful things that the Big Easy has to offer. But it is the “spirits” of the city that make it truly famous.
It is believed the first cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in New Orleans by Antoine Amedee Peychaud. Peychaud invented his bitters in Santo Domingo and brought the recipe to New Orleans with him. He opened a drugstore called Pharmacie Peychaud on Royal Street. Friends gathered frequently to sample his drinks served in a coquetier which is the French word for an egg cup. The mispronunciation of cocquetier resulted in the word “cocktail.” He used Sazerac, Cognac, Absinthe, sugar and his bitters in the recipe. The drink later became known as the Sazerac Cocktail. Today you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Sazerac.
You will walk through the French Quarter and discover how the famous "spirits" of New Orleans evolved in this unique city. From the creation of the Sazerac and Pimm’s Cup to the Hurricane and the Hand Grenade, you’ll enjoy a view of New Orleans history through our legendary bars and restaurants, two essential ingredients of New Orleans’ culture. Our bartenders might even show you how to mix a drink or two!
The Cocktail Tour mixes classic stories of New Orleans taverns and restaurants with facts about the unique concoctions made famous here.
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $80 | ADV: $90 | ONS: $105
Religion is an integral part of the culture and history of New Orleans. On this tour, you will delve into the religious culture and spirit of Louisiana by visiting its most famous churches and cemeteries. It is here that you will admire great architecture, exquisite wood, stained glass and stone, and learn about the “Cities of the Dead.”
Explore the city’s most unique cemetery, St. Louis No. 1. Unlike other cities, all tombs are above-ground here and were frequently designed by famous architects. You’ll visit the tombs of both the famous and infamous like Paul Morphy, the world chess champion, and Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the oldest church still standing in the city. The building was built in 1826 and was originally used as burial grounds for the fallen victims of yellow fever. Now, this is the official chapel of the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments.
Next, take a brief tour of the Garden District and visit the old Lafayette Cemetery. Established in 1833, Lafayette Cemetery No.1 is a non-segregated, non-denominational cemetery. Perhaps the most famous residents are fictional. The tomb for the Mayfair witches, created by Anne Rice, in The Witching Hour, fits a combination of the Lafayette and Jefferson fireman tombs. Lafayette Cemetery has been featured in many films including Double Jeopardy, Dracula and Interview with a Vampire.
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $70 | ADV: $80 | ONS: $95
How can we sum up New Orleans cuisine in one dish? Creole Gumbo? Andouille Jambalaya? Soft-Shelled Crabs? Barbecued Shrimp? Black-Eyed Peas? Crawfish? Beignets? Pralines? What’s the difference between Cajun cooking and Creole cooking? And what is a roux?
The only way to learn to recreate the magic that is New Orleans cuisine in your own kitchen is to watch a professional chef perform. Our expert chef will whet your appetite for Creole Cooking – the world famous cuisine that combines the finest elements of French and Spanish cooking with rich indigenous seafood, spices, and produce. Different New Orleans specialties will be demonstrated and you’ll get to sample some of these delicacies after the lesson. This is one class you don’t want to skip!!
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $80 | ADV: $90 | ONS: $105
New Orleans has a dark and juicy past that is delicious to discover. This Port City took up the roguish and sensual customs of both the Spanish and the French and then added on incredible local legends. The unforgettable cast of characters includes eccentric outlaws, pirates, saints, sinners and famous Voodoo Queens.
Starting the stroll at Royal Street in the heart of the Quarter, great tidbits are tied to visual settings of where the action happened. The authentic history is replete with stories: Pirate Jean Lafitte becomes the warrior hero who helps defeat the British in the Battle of Orleans. Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau is a regular at the Catholic Mass and is an advisor to the genteel Creole power crowd. Governors and visitors consorted in the famous red light districts where pretty babies, great musicians, and cocktail swingers made New Orleans famous for its ability to live it up (or down) and party. Seeing these scandal-filled special spots gives all an added appreciation of this City of a thousand stories of nights that never witness sleep.
The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans! Located in the heart of the French Quarter, facing the historic French Market, Tujague's has retained its reputation for providing an unforgettable dining experience in the original Creole tradition. Tujague's has been a favorite for 150 years, entertaining and satisfying the appetites of delightfully robust patrons to the French Quarter. The original Creole tradition of hand selecting fresh produce purchased daily from the open French Quarter market also continues today, ensuring cuisine of the finest possible quality.
Tour Registration Fee: EB: $105 | ADV: $115 | ONS: $130