NOLA & Sightseeing: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud about NOLA again, only this time, it’s about the attractions: what we did, not what we ate. Well, sort of; food might be involved in what we did, too. Despite wracking up lots of steps, even before my half, we didn’t do a lot — because of that half marathon. And because this wasn’t our first time to NOLA, either.

There is more to New Orleans than eating & drinking!

Libby kept us informed, entertained & well fed

Food Tour
Last week I talked about the great time we had with Tastebud Tours and our guide Libby, who is a 10th or so generation NOLA native and has her own tour company, Lucky Bean Tours. So I don’t need to rehash that (but you can read about it here).

If you’re in a new place and you like to eat, I highly recommend a food tour. We’ve done them in Saratoga, NY (close to home); Seattle; NYC; and now NOLA.

You won’t get a sit down meal on a food tour (usually), although you might sit down at several stops — and most of the food might just be a smaller taste — but you won’t walk away hungry, I promise you.

Stacy educated us about houses

Garden District Walking Tour
I had wanted to tour the Garden District, since we hadn’t gotten out there the last time we were in NOLA. We had hoped to hook up with Libby again, but she ended up canceling her tour, so we went with Legendary Walking Tours and our guide Stacy.

Close up of the corn husk fence at this house in the Garden District

If you love old buildings, you will probably really enjoy this tour, although you will only see the outside, no insides. Most likely your guide will point out the homes of some of NOLA’s more famous residents, as Stacy did.

Entrance to Lafayette Cemetery

And then you will end at Lafayette Cemetery — since we hadn’t visited any cemeteries, this was on my to-do list. This bit was interesting; I’d always assumed the vaults were because NOLA is below sea level. Our guide disabused us of this myth.

We learned the real purpose of the vaults

Turns out, the real purpose of the vaults — at least according to our guide — is basically a way to incinerate the occupants. The vaults basically become crematoriums after the occupants inside go through a NOLA summer.

After the tour we spent some time wandering the shops along Magazine Street.

We took the trolley to get out to the Garden District; this is the only day we rode the trolley, and quite frankly, they need a better system. Our hotel was right by a trolley stop, but often the trolleys were full.

Getting back from the Garden District? That was even worse. We had to wait for quite some time, as most of the trolleys were full (a continuing theme all along the ride); it got to the point that I was seriously considering just walking back. Granted, it was a Friday and it was about the time people got off work. There were no Ubers to be had, either.

If you do ride the trolleys, unless you buy a pass — we didn’t need one for just that one trip — you need exact change, which as of 3/17 was $1.25/ride.

Near the Riverwalk

Running on the Riverwalk
The first time I visited NOLA, I wasn’t a runner. Since becoming a runner, I have thought many times about how fun it would be to run along the Riverwalk and the Mississippi River.

Always soothing to be near water

Unfortunately, my reality didn’t match up with my dreams — my advice to you, if you want to do it, is go in the morning. We were there one morning and there were mostly runners, not too many tourists.

I chose to run in the evening . . . it was hot, the Riverwalk is not actually long, and it was very crowded. One of the runners I chatted with after the race told me you can run along the levee there for a long way . . . I didn’t see a way to do that at the time.

Fleur de lis Fountains in the park


Louis Armstrong Park
The race started and ended at this park, so naturally I went there the day after my Riverwalk run for an easy run. The park is very pretty, but also very tiny. I ended up looping (again), and running around a lot of parking lots. When I got back to the hotel, Mr. Judy pointed out the path close to the park that goes on a long way.

I wonder how safe that path is, but it would have been nice to know about it before my run. Some runners did confirm that it is, indeed, a nice place to run.

If you check out this park, be warned that it is also where a lot of homeless people sleep. I never felt unsafe, though, as there were a few other runners there and other people around, too.

The Warehouse/Arts District
While I did a little shopping, and bought my bakery treats, we also stumbled across a glassworkng shop: New Orleans Glassworks & Printmaking Studio. We had a long chat with one of the workers, who had actually worked at Burlington IBM, as did Mr. Judy — although they weren’t there at the same time.

This looks like it could be a fun diversion, something outside the norm, but they weren’t doing classes while we were there. There is a shop with many beautiful items. I have done printmaking, as my degree is in Printing Management, and had also done a glassblowing class in camp one summer.

What we didn’t do
Because we went to the World War II Museum the first time we visited NOLA, we didn’t go back this trip; I do recommend it. I thought the Audobon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium sounded fun, but we never got there, either. MB @ Tutusandtennies went to a cooking class at Crescent City Cooks; that sounded like a lot of fun, only it was the day after the half and we had to switch hotels and I didn’t want to be rushed (the afternoon class that day was full).

In case you missed it:


Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.


When a detector starts chirping . . . velcro dogs

Bandit update
We brought the dogs with us to my parents last weekend. It’s the longest trip they’ve ever shared together in the car; Lola starts getting anxious after about 45 minutes, and Bandit just laid there sleeping as she paced. Lola, BTW, loves the moon roof; it definitely calms her down, and we were able to have it open on the way home.

My parents don’t have a fenced in backyard, and that meant every couple of hours we had to get the dogs from upstairs, take them down the flight of stairs to get out, too, and then walk them.

When we weren’t doing that, we were working on the house, and they were in an upstairs bedroom together. No problems. We also slept in that bedroom, although Bandit was crated as usual; again, no problems.

Even though Lola is not a good traveler in the car, she doesn’t get car sick, and she has been all over New England with us. I could now see traveling with Bandit, too.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

What would you recommend doing in NOLA?

What sort of things do you like to do when you travel to a new place?

What have you wanted to do in your travels, but haven’t done yet?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

16 thoughts on “NOLA & Sightseeing: TOLT

  1. I remember visiting the cemeteries and they were fascinating. Also took some kind of tour of the plantations. Then there was all that action on Bourbon street at night – very entertaining and different. It was a while ago and I would love to go back.

    I like to visit gardens and museums and RUN, of course. Unfortunately, my running started when my traveling (due to a job change) ended. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if we will get a. Vacationn this year, we are spending it on the house😊But it is lovely to visit new places when the opportunity arises!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That is some reason that tour guide gave for vaults. To be used as a public incinerator is creepy. Other than that it seems you had a great time. When my husband & I go to a new place, we like to ride our bikes. It is a great way to see a new city. We also do as much walking too.

    Liked by 1 person

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