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Points Of Interest

Point #1
The Rink/Garden District Bookshop

1429 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.26
  • Attraction : Unique Shops

Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of the Garden District. We’re glad you could join us! I’m Aaron, your guide (but I also respond to professional history nerd). This is the part of the tour where I fit in my shameless plug for our websites – (www.historicamerica.org & www.ucplaces.com – and I invite you to use #historicamericatours on social media while traveling alongside us today. Now that you’ve arrived - let’s get you oriented. The small shopping center at 2727 Prytania Street is known as The Rink. You should be able to easily locate it from where you’re now situated. The building itself was once a roller rink (hence the name) and today contains a number of unique shops here in the heart of the Garden District. At the conclusion of our tour, you’ll end up back in this area, and we encourage you to return to The Rink and visit the various sellers. Make sure to peruse the Garden District Bookshop - a personal favorite of ours because we love a good read about local history. Speaking of local history, this would be a good spot to give you an overview of the neighborhood we’re about to tour together. When most people think of New Orleans neighborhoods they think of the French Quarter which dates all the way back to 1718 and is downriver from where we are, in the downtown area of New Orleans. The Garden District (where you now stand) dates back more recently to 1833 and is found upriver; roughly 3 miles southwest of the French Quarter in the uptown region of the city. The Garden District was once part of an entirely different city from New Orleans – a city known as Lafayette. It was born because wealthy, Anglophone Protestants who flooded into the region following the Louisiana Purchase chose to separate themselves from the Francophone, Catholic Creoles who dominated New Orleans’ French Quarter. This neighborhood was their enclave. At first it was sparsely populated and dominated by large mansions with only a few houses per block. The land around each house was developed by the owners into garden space - that’s how the name “Garden District” came to be. As the years wore on, however, these large parcels of land were subdivided into smaller plots and more housing was built during the Victorian era as the city of New Orleans grew to encompass Lafayette. Now both neighborhoods are in the same city. But the quaint, tree-lined Garden District still feels a world apart from the manic bustle of the French Quarter. Here you’ll also see more people walking around with bottles of kombucha and cups of gourmet coffee as opposed to open containers of alcohol. Our walk today will take you on a journey through this neighborhood to uncover the gorgeous houses, colorful personalities and fascinating history that make this neighborhood a destination unto itself. Let’s begin by walking northeast along Prytania Street to the next intersection.

Point #2
Colonel Short's Villa

2624 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.05
  • Attraction : Historic house

You’re now at the intersection of 4th Street & Prytania Street. We’re interested in the home on the southwest corner of the intersection, the one with the distinctively carved iron fence and prominent second story balconies which face the road. This fabulous mansion is known as Colonel Short’s Villa and it’s the first point of interest on our journey today. The home was built in 1859 for Robert Short – a native of Kentucky who (along with his wife) relocated to this custom built New Orleans dream house shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Although the house is marvelous to behold, its most distinctive feature is the ornate iron fence. Look closely and you'll be able to identify its intricate motif of morning glories and cornstalks. It was long said that the fence design was the work of Mrs. Short, who was originally raised in Iowa and missed the cornfields of her native state; she had the fence built as a tangible memory of her girlhood. A more contemporary explanation is that the fence was the most expensive item in the building catalog, and the Shorts simply wanted to flaunt their wealth. Whatever the case maybe, shortly after they moved in, the war came, prompting Robert Short to return to Kentucky and join the Confederate Army, while his wife remained inside their New Orleans home. While he was away, New Orleans fell to Union forces and the Short home was seized by federal soldiers. Colonel Short was classified as an “absent rebel” which entitled the blue troopers to evict his wife and utilize the house as they saw fit. Given the grandeur of the home, it was first occupied by newly elected Federal Governor of Louisiana - Michael Hahn. It next became the residence of Union army commander Nathaniel P. Banks, who was a former governor of Massachusetts and Speaker of the US House of Representatives before becoming one of the so called ‘political generals’ of the Civil War (these were men appointed to military posts because of their political connections as opposed to military skill). Here at the house, Banks and his family held lavish wartime dinner parties for the benefit of their fellow union officers & their families. At one such event, Mrs. Banks played the role of the "Goddess of Liberty" surrounded by decorations symbolizing all the states of the reunited country. In 1865, the house was returned to Colonel Short, who returned with his wife and lived here until his death in 1890. Generations later, the villa underwent a lavish interior renovation and made its triumphant return in 2015 as the most expensive house in the New Orleans real estate market with a price tag of $6.5 million - at that time, a record for local house listings. Not a bad pile of bricks huh? Our stroll continues northeast along Prytania street toward our next stop. As you walk, take a moment to notice the lovely building diagonally opposite the Short Villa on the north side of the intersection. This is the Sully Mansion (look closely and you’ll see a sign on the large, wrap around porch). It’s named for architect Thomas Sully and today stands as one of the city's best Bed & Breakfast locations. In the home’s earlier days, influential Life magazine photographer Charles Bennett Moore lived here and established himself as visual chronicler of the Civil Rights era. His photos spurred the movement for equality under the law by capturing provocative images of protests, demonstrations and police brutality. A one time boxer, Moore said of his behind-the-lens career shift, “I don’t wanna fight with my fists - I wanna fight with my camera.” I’ll meet you down the road.

Point #3
Briggs-Staub House

2607 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.13
  • Attraction : Historic House

Outside of this tour, The Last House on the Left is the title of a well known Wes Craven horror movie. Inside this tour, it’s the physical location of our next stop – the Briggs Staub House — which is the last house on the left end of the block at 2605 Prytania Street. You should be able to identify it by the address number and gothic revival architectural style typified by pointed arches and lancet windows. The house is named for its second owner, Charles Briggs. The initial owner, Cuthbert Bullit, was a local gambler who built the house but reportedly could not pay the architect & workmen for their services after he lost his fortune … gambling. Charles Briggs, a London insurance company executive, swept in to purchase the house which would come to bear his name. The mansion is unique among the homes of the Garden District because it is the only one built in a Gothic Revival style; this is due to the fact that (as we previously mentioned) this area was heavily Protestant during the 1800s, and Gothic architecture reminded the locals of Europe’s Catholic Cathedrals (which they found distasteful) Roman Catholicism (which they found suspect) and the nearby Catholic Creole population (whom they disliked). It’s fair to assume that the house raised more than a few eyebrows when it was first built. If the design of the home wasn’t daring enough, after Briggs moved in, he did not keep enslaved labor to serve the household; he instead hired newly immigrated Irish Catholic servants and freed men of color to attend him. He even went so far as to build an adjacent servant’s quarters for the paid staff which matched the aesthetic of the original home – and don’t think this wasn’t a topic of conversation at the neighborhood protestant, proslavery, potluck dinners. Let’s keep walking through the intersection along Prytania Street and I’ll tell you a bit more about how this street got its name. The city planner who laid out the design for this neighborhood was Monsieur Barthelemy Lafon. On this street Lafon’s original plan called for the construction of a military school modeled after the famed Prytanee Nacionale Militaire in France. Although the school was never built, the name stuck and that’s how we got Prytania Street today. Though the study of war is fascinating, the next house on our route is concerned instead with the arts. At the end of this block on the right hand side, you’ll find the Women’s Opera Guild home - distinguishable by its octagonal turret and large lawn decorated with a statue of Madame Butterfly. Once you’ve got a good view, stop and I’ll tell you more. Although the house has changed hands several times in its history, the last private citizens to own the property were Mr. & Mrs. Seebold – patrons of the New Orleans art scene who purchased the home in 1944. By 1965 the couple had passed on and left no heir. Yet before her departure, Nettie Seebold penned a handwritten will which left the home and all its contents to the Women’s Opera Guild with the stipulation that none of the home’s lavish antique furnishings and decor would be removed. And so it was. Next question. What’s the Women’s Opera Guild? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a New Orleans ladies association which promotes and fosters an understanding of opera, and cooperates with the city through fundraising and opera advocacy (the advocacy, of course, primarily relies upon spontaneous outbursts of impassioned Italian singers and their stories of love, loss & death – actually that’s just my personal vision of how it should happen). Anyway, the home has plenty of stories to tell. It was designed by William Freret Jr., who also built the Department of Treasury Building in Washington, DC, and recently, it was used as a filming location for the Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained during which time the street was closed down, and tons of dirt was hauled in to recreate the 19th century roads. A protip for you. If you’ve timed it right, tours of the interior are offered on Mondays – between 10am and 4 pm. All you need to do is push the front doorbell and inquire. No reservations needed but it is $15 a ticket. If you go inside, look for the portrait of former house owner Nettie Seebold – it’s said visitors often feel an otherworldly presence when confronted with her image; that of Nettie of herself, welcoming you to the home. Let’s keep moving along Prytania Street now until we reach the intersection of Prytania & 1st Streets.

Point #4
Toby's Corner

2400 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.04
  • Attraction : Historic House

Our next place of interest is found at the intersection of Prytania & 4th Streets behind the white picket fence. This home, known as Toby’s Corner, can be a bit difficult to get a full view of because of the heavy vegetation that surrounds it – but that’s no worry. Just find a gap in the trees to catch a glimpse of the house beyond and I’ll tell you the story. Built in 1838 this is the oldest house in the Garden District and first belonged to Thomas Toby, a Philadelphia businessman. Following Toby’s death in 1849, the house was eventually sold to Thomas Smithfield Dugan, whose daughter, Marie Louise Dugan Westfeldt, inherited it in 1907. Ever since then, Toby’s Corner has been in the possession of the Westfeldt family. The floors of the home are made with original brick from Philadelphia and the home’s interior remains among the most opulent in the Garden District – and certainly among the most historic. Each generation of the Westfeldt family has made alterations to the home. My favorite alteration has become a story handed down in Westfeldt family lore; a story known as General Pershing’s Folly. Upon learning that the WWI Supreme Commander & American General John “Black Jack” Pershing – the highest ranking officer in United States history – was supposed to stay in the house during an upcoming visit to New Orleans, the Westfeldt family panicked. The home had no lavish bathrooms. So the family went all out and built the most opulent bathroom imaginable off the house and connected it through a bedroom. However, Pershing never showed up. The bathroom remains, however, and is decorated with the initials of all the Westfeldt family children along with the family crest. And just remember, if you plan on building the most opulent bathroom imaginable, make sure you’re flush with cash. Let’s move on. We now leave Prytania Street behind and make a right on 1st Street. Walk south to reach our next stop.

Point #5
The Manning House

1423 First St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.10
  • Attraction : Famous House

As you walk south along 1st street, keep an eye out for number 1420 on the right hand side of the roadway. You’ll be able to distinguish it by the large lawn and plaque on the fence directly beside the front gate. The plaque reads ‘D’Arcy Manning House’, because this house was built by the D’Arcy family in the 1840s and was later purchased by NFL quarterback Archie Manning in 1982 toward the tail end of his football career. The home is owned by the Manning family to this day. Archie Manning was the New Orleans Saints’ signal caller for 11 years. Although Archie never had a winning season with the Saints and never made the playoffs, he did win the hearts of New Orleans sports fans and remains a beloved figure in the community. To modern NFL followers, Archie Manning is best known as the patriarch of the Manning football dynasty – he and his wife Olivia raised their sons Cooper (the eldest) Peyton (the middle) and Eli (the younger) here at this house. Originally, however, Archie envisioned that he would raise the boys back in his home state of Mississippi once his playing days wound down – both of them worried about raising children in the big city. Archie said, "Mardi Gras, the drinking, the partying — that scared me. I really thought I'd be through playing and we'd be back in Mississippi before I had to deal with that and the kids. But I played a little longer and when I did stop, nobody wanted to move to Mississippi. Everybody wanted to stay here." All the boys attended Newman – a local private school – where they excelled at academics and football. Sadly, a spinal condition sidelined Cooper’s potential career as a wide receiver, but (as you probably know) Peyton & Eli developed into top flight QB’s. Known as the “First Family of Quarterbacks” , brothers Peyton & Eli Manning are the first sibling quarterback duo in history to win Super Bowl Titles with each collecting two championship rings. In this family, good quarterback play is in the genes you see. It should be noted, however, that one of Peyton’s Super Bowl losses came at the hands of the Drew Brees led New Orleans Saints. If you stood in front of this house during the 1980s you may well have seen the Manning Boys suddenly appear in the yard – with Peyton sometimes running sprints all the boys tossing the football around. Eli was known to complain that Peyton fired the ball too hard and made his hands hurt. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise because Peyton was always one to take his pursuits seriously. One of Archie’s favorite memories is when Peyton was cast as a Spanish dancer named ‘Miguel’ in a highschool play. "We have video of it," Archie said in a magazine interview. "It's just like he did everything else. He attacked it. What was the movie with Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman")? That's what it reminds you of. He flat did the tango. He had on black pants, yellow shirt, red cummerbund. They did the play three or four times for parents and students. He was really into it." We’ll keep using our feet as well as we continue along 1st street to our next stop.

Point #6
Rosegate/The Brevard-Mahat-Rice House

1313 First St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.07
  • Attraction : Historic Houses

You’re now approaching the intersection of Chestnut & First Streets. Pause here just before the intersection so I can introduce you to the prominent landmarks. Look immediately to your left and take in the massive pink house with the two story iron gallery facade. This is the Carroll-Crawford House – one of the most beautiful homes in the Garden District if not the entire city of New Orleans. Built shortly after the Civil War for cotton merchant Joseph Carroll, this 3,000 square foot Italianate house of stuccoed brick combines many of the architectural features that were so popular in the antebellum South. Notice the intricate iron work with arched shades at the top highlighting the similarly arched windows behind; the prominent molding of windows and doors; the roofline with its large dentils and central tablet. Yup – if you held a casting call for antique southern homes, the Carroll-Crawford house certainly looks the part. The original owner, Joseph Carroll was known for throwing lavish parties at the house which attracted celebrities of great renown, including the artist Edgar Degas and towering literary figure Mark Twain who was a family friend. Speaking of famous authors, resume walking along 1st Street until you reach the Chestnut Street intersection. Parallel to the Carroll-Crawford house on the opposite side of Chestnut you’ll find (arguably) the most famous literary home in the city at 1239 First Street. Constructed in 1857 for another New Orleans merchant (Albert Hamilton Brevard) the two story Brevard-Rice House is distinguishable by its Greek Revival architectural style and the pair of massive oak trees fronting the home on First Street. You’ll also be drawn to the stately columns which adorn the exterior. If you position yourself to view the home straight on, you’ll notice that the columns are Ionic at the ground level and Corinthian on the second story. The house isn’t considered a Greek Revival for nothing. The home is alternatively known as Rosegate because of the rosette pattern woven through its iron fence. Take a closer look and see for yourself. The home’s literary connection was established in 1989 when it was purchased by famed American novelist Anne Rice and her poet/artist husband Stan Rice. The couple lived here for over two decades until Stan passed away in 2002 after which time Anne sold the house in 2004. Inside the home, Anne Rice wrote some of her most famous novels including Memnoch the Devil, Violin, & Pandora. Here she also oversaw the adaptation process as two of her prominent works were developed into major Hollywood films – Interview with the Vampire & Queen of the Damned. During her lifetime, Rice achieved a level of notoriety which few modern authors can match. Her smash hits in the realm of horror, vampire fiction, and Christian humanism add up to more than 100 million books sold. Moreover, as the Bronte Sisters are identified with England or Hemingway is tethered to Spain, so Anne Rice is forever linked to New Orleans — and although she passed away in 2021, her legacy lives on. She was born and raised here in town and although she left for a time, Rice ultimately returned to purchase this house as her career ascended to new heights. She later said, “In the spring of 1988, I returned to New Orleans, and as soon as I smelled the air, I knew I was home. It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses around our old courtyard. I walked the streets, savoring that long lost perfume.” Several of her novels take place here in the Big Easy, and this very house serves as the initial stage for her widely read Mayfair Witch Trilogy. Rosegate is the ancestral home of the accursed Mayfair clan and their generations of witches. We’ll meet them again later. Let’s keep walking along 1st street to our next stop.

Point #7
The Payne-Strachan House

1201 First St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.12
  • Attraction : Historic House

Pause here at the intersection of First & Camp Streets to find the Payne Strachan House. It’s the one on the southeast corner of the intersection with the two story, columned balcony directly facing First Street at address number 1134. Once you’ve located the house, position yourself for a good view. You may notice beside the entrance gate a stone slab (which at the time of this tour recording) has been covered with a box marked with the home’s address number. The slab identifies this home as the place where Confederate President Jefferson Davis died on December 6th, 1889. The slab further refers to Davis as a “Christian Chieftain” and “Truly Great American”. It was placed here in 1930 and covered in 2020 as conflicted feelings over the legacy of Confederate historical figures and Confederate symbolism underwent a generational shift. The home has tremendous historical significance and more than its fair share of stories to tell – but the passing of Davis ranks first among them. Prior to the Civil War, Jefferson Davis was an American army veteran and former United States Secretary of War as well as a preeminent Congressman & Senator from his home state of MIssissippi. His prewar political prominence, fierce advocacy for states rights and staunch support for slavery aligned him with the South during the secession crisis and ultimately resulted in his elevation to Presidency of the Confederate States of America. Once the war was lost, Davis was imprisoned and eventually pardoned. He lived out his twilight years writing works of history and autobiography in an attempt to justify his controversial career. He retired to Louisiana and was traveling through the New Orleans area when he fell ill with an acute case of bronchitis complicated by malaria. His attending physician deemed him unfit for travel and – as the owners were family friends – the octogenarian Davis was brought here to the Payne house for treatment and rest. He remained here for a fortnight – bedridden but stable. He then took a turn for the worse. While clutching the hand of his wife, Varina, Jefferson Davis died at 12:45 a.m. on Friday, December 6, 1889, at the age of 81, and in the presence of several friends. Davis’ body was then brought to New Orleans’ City Hall and his casket put on display – draped with a Confederate flag and adorned with the sword he wore during the Mexican War. His funeral was held shortly thereafter with roughly 200,000 attendees – one of the largest in Southern history. Many states of the old Confederacy requested the honor of receiving Davis’ remains to establish his final resting place. Ultimately, his body was temporarily interred here in New Orleans, before being removed to Richmond, Virginia’s Hollywood Cemetery in 1893 for permanent burial in accordance with his wife’s wishes. And now you know the story. Let’s return to the intersection and walk south along Camp street where our next point of interest awaits.

Point #8
Montgomery-Hero House

Third Floor, 900 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.23
  • Attraction : Historic House

As you walk south on Camp, turn right on to Third Street at the intersection. As you do, note the pink cottage-looking house on the corner, surrounded by an ample yard and set back from the roadway. This is the Montgomery-Hero house. Perhaps more than any other home on this tour, the expansiveness of the Montgomery-Hero house grounds gives you a window into what the early Garden District looked like — a neighborhood of rural atmosphere dotted with ornate homes, each with plentiful space to itself. With its many decorative Victorian elements (ornamental brackets, scallop-edged awnings, gables, and an arch-framed verandah) the house is a glory to behold – like a finely crafted dollhouse only quite a bit larger than what would fit under your Christmas Tree. It was built for local railroad magnate Archibald Montgomery who, upon its completion in 1870, turned around and gifted it to his wife Marie as a symbol, “of his love and affection for her”. For reasons unexplained, Marie sold the home to local businessman Andrew Hero less than a decade later. Maybe she didn't have toy houses. Anyway, the home is currently owned by the fun-loving Costello family who playfully added a ping-pong table to the home’s dining room area when they moved in. Whoever said this house couldn’t be fun! Keep walking along third street to reach our next site.

Point #9
Walter Robinson House

1331 Third St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.12
  • Attraction : Historic House

At this intersection I’d like to show you the Walter Robinson house, which you can find on the northwest corner of the intersection at 1415 3rd Street – the one with the curved, columned portico. This is one of the Garden District’s largest homes at over 10,000 feet and one of the most historic since it was the first home in the neighborhood to have indoor plumbing. This was made possible by the large roof that supported a vat which acted as a water cistern. In this way, gravity created water pressure and a functional plumbing system. Begun in 1857 and completed a decade later, the home was likely designed by prolific New Orleans architect Henry Howard – the same man who designed Colonel Short’s villa (which you’ll remember as the first home on our tour) and the Montgomery Hero-House (which you saw just a moment ago). The original homeowner was yet another pre-civil war cotton merchant (are you sensing a theme here?). This one’s name was Walter Robinson and he built the house for his new wife Emily (a sprightly young thing, twenty years his junior). Tragically, only two years after moving in, Emily died at 31 years old and husband Walter was left to ask, “Where have you gone Mrs. Robinson?”. Soon after his wife’s demise, Walter moved out as the home carried too many sad associations for him. The Robinson house went on to have many different lives – it was subsequently converted into a boarding house and later turned into office space when it was purchased in 1935 by the METLife insurance company for a mere $500. Today, it is once again a private residence. Although the indoor plumbing was the main attraction at the time of its building in the 1860s, modern visitors to the home's interior will gawk at the 16 foot ceilings and massive front hall with a curved staircase perfectly designed for making a grand entrance. In 2019, the house was placed on the market for a cool $9.5 million; quite a jump from what the METLife company paid for it. Maybe you’d like to knock on the front door and put in a cash offer yourself? Once you’re done, head south on Coliseum Street toward our next stop.

Point #10
Commander's Palace

1429 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.05
  • Attraction : Restaurant

The brightly painted aqua & white building ahead of you is a New Orleans culinary landmark known as Commander’s Palace. It’s the location for upscale Creole cuisine nestled within the heart of the Garden District. As the proud owner of seven James Beard Foundation Awards, Commander's Palace is serious about their food and fine dining experience, yet still able to maintain a charming, relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant derives its name from Emile Commander - the man who built a small saloon on this spot in 1893 which, by the year 1900, evolved into a high-end restaurant serving New Orleans best citizens and gourmands from all over the world. There are many reasons why Commander’s Palace has become so well known. Firstly, they’re the inventors of the so-called Jazz Brunch phenomenon - so if you enjoy a little music with your omelet, this is the place to be. Ever heard of a Martini Lunch where you transact business over booze? Commander’s Palace is responsible for popularizing this mid-20th century Mad-Men-esque phenomenon and they maintain the tradition on Wednesdays by offering you 3 martinis for 25 cents a piece with your lunch service. Save room for coffee! This restaurant also launched the careers of famed American chefs Emeril Lagasse, and Paul Prudhomme. Both of these men (and many other excellent chefs) cut-their-teeth under the watchful eye and encouragement of the Brennan family - owners of the palace since 1974. With their particular emphasis on the restaurant's cuisine, the Brennan’s have always prioritized Creole creations reflecting the distinctive mixture of French and afro-caribbean tastes which the region is known for. Seafood, meats, fruits and vegetables – everything is as fresh as it possibly can be. My favorite stories of Commander’s Palace take place during an era when the ownership wasn’t so well behaved. During the Prohibition Era it’s rumored that in order to safeguard their cache of illegal alcohol, the pre-Brennan restaurant owners hid their hooch inside a vacant vault in neighboring Lafayette Cemetery. During the daytime, the banned booze was safely hidden and at night it was unearthed, like one of Anne Rice’s vampires, and ferried into the restaurant where thirsty patrons drank it dry. Speaking of Lafayette Cemetery, turn onto Washington Ave and head toward the graveyard entrance. The end of our tour is nigh!

Point #11
Lafayette Cemetery

1429 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

  • Distance : 0.00
  • Attraction : Cemetery

As we now find ourselves at the entrance to Lafayette Cemetery, I must tell you that we’ve come to the end … of our tour. Thank goodness for us, life will go in – just not for these folks. All kidding aside, I love a good cemetery, and Lafayette Cemetery Number 1 is among the best in the city. They’ve been burying folks here since 1833. It’s one of New Orleans’ stateliest and most storied burial grounds and it contains some of the earliest Irish & German settlers to this area; working class folks buried along high society swells from the Garden District’s finest homes. Inside you’ll find immigrants from over 25 different countries (New Orleans has always been a melting pot – even inside its graveyards). It’s also the oldest, city operated, municipal cemetery in New Orleans and it’s laid out in an interesting cruciform shape over the footprint of an entire city block. In literature, the cemetery is described as the resting place of the Mayfair Witches in the Anne Rice trilogy (I told you we’d mention them again). In real life, the cemetery contains many notable gravesites such as Judge Ferguson of the Plessy vs. Ferguson “separate-but-equal” case as well as the grave of Brigadier General Harry T. Hays who led the Confederate army’s famed 1st Louisiana Brigade during the Civil War. Currently, the still active cemetery has roughly 7,000 burials (and counting). If you wander around you can admire the more than 1,100 tombs – highlights include the Jefferson Fire Co. #22's society tomb with its ornately carved water pump and an intricately carved cast-iron enclosure which again inspired the imagination of Anne Rice in her depiction of Lestat’s tomb in the novel Interview with a Vampire. And if you find yourself creeped out, just remember that family friendly pop stars LeAnn Rimes and New Kids on the Block once filmed music videos here – so how scary can it be? As our tour ends, I want to thank you for taking this historic walk through New Orleans’ Garden District with me today. I encourage you to explore the area more fully as time permits - although after hearing about the delicious food & stiff drinks @ Commander’s Palace, maybe you’d like to grab a bite & a cocktail? Wherever the day leads, I hope the stories from this tour will travel with you. I’m Aaron Killian and this tour has been a joint production of Historic America and UCPlaces. To learn more about our trip planning services, public & private tours and digital content make sure to visit us at www.historicamerica.org and to find more audio tours, go to historicamerica.org and UCPlaces.com.