Welcome to the Esplanade Ridge, home to the Faubourg St. John, romantically referred to as the Creole Garden District. Beginning at the upper boundary of the musical Faubourg Tremé, the Faubourg St. John harbors a history and lore just as lush and enticing. The history of Esplanade Ridge begins in 1708, a full decade before Bienville founded the city of New Orleans. The faubourg grew from those proud French roots and is often hailed as the Creole response to the American incursion following the Louisiana Purchase.
From the elegant architecture to the Free People of Color Museum to the bustling Ponce de Leon Triangle to the quiet elegance of the “Sanctuary of Angels” built on the grounds of a one time leper colony, the Creole Garden District will enter your dreams and have you singing a few lines of Hoagy Carmichael’s “If you've never seen a quaint old Southern city, Just think of New… think of New Orleans. It will remind you of old fashioned lace, while a glass of wine will greet your smiling face.” So, how about it? Won’t you join me for a leisurely stroll through this Creole Garden District.
A video trailer for the walk, which includes some of the sights you'll see, can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/264607675
Degas House, Free People of Color Museum, Liuzza's by the Track, Ponce de Leon Triangle, Café Degas, the Luling Mansion, St. Louis #3 Cemetery, Bayou St. John, Fortier Park
At 2035 Esplanade Avenue, about a half-mile from the edge of the French Quarter on Rampart Street. If you are driving, parking is available all along Esplanade Avenue.
Places to stop along the way:
By all means, enjoy the shade of the hundred-year-old oak trees inside Fortier Park at the end of the route. And don't miss a chance to pop inside the Fair Grinds Coffee Shop for a delicious hot or cold drink. The neighborhood vibe in this funky coffee shop will show you why this neighborhood is so popular with locals and local "newbees." St. Louis Cemetery #3 is a walk through history. Finally, be sure to stop by Le Musée de Free People of Color, a historic home that is one of the country’s few attractions dedicated exclusively to preserving the culture and vibrant history of free people of color.
Best time of day:
Daylight hours afford the best views of the exquisite architecture, and the St. Louis Cemetery #3 is open for visits from 8:00 am until 4:30pm. The route is lined with shade trees for most of the way, so the walk or bike ride is nearly always pleasant!
Wear sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Old New Orleans sidewalks always require careful walking.
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