A walking tour through the French Quarter of New Orleans with a local guide sounded like a good way to see the area and hear interesting stories. Our group met in front of a café on Bourbon Street at 5 p.m. To say it was hot and humid was an understatement. However, I was ready for the heat because I had a personal fan, one with a battery. (I actually had a second fan to use as a back up in case the first one stopped working.) I also had a bottle of water that had been cold at one time but was now lukewarm.
After our guide met us, he was very careful to keep us in the shade and he urged us to get more water if we needed it. I suppose it wouldn’t do to have anyone in his group fainting. (Note: no one did.)
The first thing the guide asked was, “Does anyone know why this is called Bourbon Street?” As people stood silent, looked the other way, and/or cleared their throats, I said, “Is it because the French royal family was the House of Bourbon?” “Correct,” said the guide, and I was happy that I paid attention in French class in school.
We walked down street after street of beautiful buildings, resplendent with wrought iron railings. The guide said that some of the rails were original but most had been replaced over the years. He showed us areas where trees had fallen during Hurricane Katrina, but fortunately had fallen away from the buildings. Because of that the structures were intact.
Our guide spoke proudly about how people have returned to New Orleans and that the city has lots of visitors. This must be true, because wherever we went it was crowded with tourists. We ended up in Jackson Square, where some of the vendors had paintings leaning up against the wrought iron fence. This was my last impression of Jackson Square, and I still remember it. So when you’re in New Orleans, be sure to visit the French Quarter with a local guide, a bottle of cold water and at least one portable fan.