75-Minute, Motorized French Quarter History Tour
You will be one of only 4 guests on our 75 minute Motorized French Quarter HIstory Tour, which visits sites in both the Upper and Lower French Quarter. The tour covers over 40 blocks of the Vieux Carre for a total of more than 4 miles. That is something you probably wouldn’t want to do on a walking tour!
If you book four seats on our 9:30 AM tour, we will pick you up at your French Quarter or Central Business District hotel upon request. If you book fewer than four seats on the 9:30 AM tour, or if you book the 11:00 AM tour, we will pick you up in front of the Bourbon Orleans hotel, located at 717 Orleans Steet, between Bourbon and Royal. You are welcome to wait in the hotel lobby until your tour begins. Just look for our vehicle, you can’t miss us. All tours conclude at Jackson Square.
We will display 60 images on your personal hi-def monitor as you enjoy taking in and hearing about French Quarter history. Interesting stories and facts about New Orleans will captivate and entertain you, and the images will help bring New Orleans history to life.
The map below shows the route we follow on your French Quarter History Tour and many of the sites that you will see. For a detailed description of all the sites, presented in order, please scroll below the map.
Motorized French Quarter History Tour Itinerary
French Quarter History Tour Upper French Quarter Destinations:
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Your adventure begins when you board our vehicle in front of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel located at 717 Orleans Street between Bourbon and Royal. The Bourbon Orleans is a significant historic site and a prime example of the importance of the French Period in New Orleans and Louisiana. We’ll explain why it is one of the most interesting buildings in New Orleans as we journey to our next stop.
French Quarter History Tour: The Gardette Le Pretre Mansion
Here, you will view the magnificent Gardette Le Petre Mansion and hear an engaging introduction to New Orleans folklore.
French Quarter History Tour: J.B. Debois House
On the next block, you will see the balcony of the J.B. Debois House. It is one of the finest examples of hand forged wrought iron craftsmanship in the French Quarter. This building dates back more than 200 years.
French Quarter History Tour: The Mississippi River
From the J.B. Debois House, we will journey to the Mississippi River. At the river, you will be invited to exit the vehicle and take a 100-foot stroll to see the “Mighty Mississip'” up close. It is so important to New Orleans and Louisiana life and history, and some real surprises about it will be revealed to you!
French Quarter History Tour: Bienville Place
Following our visit to the river, we’ll motor to see Bienville Place. The monument here celebrates the three hundred years since the founding of New Orleans by the French in 1718. You’ll hear fascinating stories of French explorers and colonists who transformed the “mud hole” they found into today’s beautiful “Crescent City.” You’ll also learn why Bienville chose this exact location to build New Orleans.
French Quarter History Tour Lower French Quarter Destinations:
The sites we visit in the Lower French Quarter during your French Quarter Motorized tour are a celebration of the Spanish and early American periods of New Orleans history. We tell unbelievable tales of Scandals, Heroes, Pirates, Traitors, and Spies!
French Quarter History Tour: Madame John’s Legacy
While journeying from Bienville Place to Madame John’s Legacy, you will hear the fascinating story of how Spain came to control New Orleans. Madame John’s is the perfect place to connect the dots between the French, Spanish, and early American periods. It is also the only surviving French Colonial Raised Cottage in the French Quarter. Renato Beluche, who manned an artillery battery alongside Dominique Youx at the Battle of New Orleans, was born in the original home.
French Quarter History Tour: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
From Madame John’s, you’ll journey to this famous building that dates between 1773 and 1781. There are many legends about where the Pirates Laffite spent their time in New Orleans. This bar is home to one of them. Were Pierre and Jean Laffite owners of a smithy? Most historians think not, and the spelling of their last name offers a clue as to why! Nonetheless, this is a perfect setting for you to learn more about the Laffites and the Battle of New Orleans.
French Quarter History Tour: Old Ursuline Convent
Following our stop at Lafitte’s Black Smith Bar, you will continue on your tour to The Old Ursuline Convent. It is the oldest French Colonial building in the Mississippi Valley. It became home to the Ursuline Nuns who arrived in New Orleans in 1727. They have a very long and rich history in New Orleans, and you will be fascinated by their stories. Their good works included educating the local people (both wealthy and poor) and caring for the sick and needy. The Ursuline Nuns even played a “divine” role at the Battle of New Orleans,” and you’ll learn how and why!
French Quarter History Tour: Beauregard-Keyes House
Across the street from the Ursuline Convent is the Beauregard-Keyes House. It was built in 1826 and became home to many prominent New Orleanians. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Confederate general most famous for firing the first shot at Fort Sumter. Frances Parkinson Keyes was a famous, prolific author who wrote over 50 books, many of them while living in the home.
French Quarter History Tour: Traitors and Spies!
On our journey to our next stop, the Old US mint, we will tell you about how New Orleans became a hotbed of traitors and Spies following the acquistion of Louisiana by the Americans in 1803. Although hard to believe, the stories we will tell you are true!
French Quarter History Tour: The Old US Mint
Next, you will stop at the Old US Mint, built by President Andrew Jackson in 1838. It is one of the sturdiest buildings in New Orleans. It’s site, Fort St. Charles, is also where two events occurred that changed New Orleans forever, and both involved executions. The first happened at the beginning of the Spanish Domination and the second occurred when Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862. You will discover what happened and why.
French Quarter History Tour: The LaLaurie Mansion
After stopping at the Old US Mint, you will continue your tour to the LaLaurie Mansion. Here you will learn about the power of storytelling in New Orleans. Madame LaLaurie built the home in 1832. She lived there with her physician husband, their children, and slaves. One night in 1834 a fire broke out in the kitchen, and when people responded, they found unspeakable horrors. You will learn about how newspapers, books, television shows, and movies have built upon and sensationalized their stories. As a result, it has become almost impossible to separate fact from fiction and reality from fantasy, and retellings of the events by local ghost tour experts grow ever more exaggerated and grotesque.
French Quarter History Tour: Site of the first US District Court in the Louisiana Territory
A little further down Royal Street is the site of the first US District Court in the Louisiana Territory, the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Judge Dominic Augustin Hall presided, and his courtroom was the scene of an event that remains significant to this day. You will learn about the prologue and aftermath of General Andrew Jackson being fined $1000 for contempt of court shortly after The Battle of New Orleans!
French Quarter History Tour: Cornstalk Hotel
Next door to the Andrew Jackson Hotel, you will see the Cornstalk Hotel. It features one of two identical whimsical cast iron fences in New Orleans. Made by Wood & Perot in Philadelphia in 1858, they delight guests and visitors from around the world. You can see the other one at the former home of Colonel Robert Henry Short in the Garden District. While Colonel Short purportedly claimed to have “commissioned” it for his wife who pined for the cornfields of Iowa, both examples apparently came from a catalog.
French Quarter History Tour: Jackson Square
Your tour will end at Jackson Square, one of the most important and exciting historical travel destinations in the United States!