Touring Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District of New Orleans

Plus tips for traveling with children

When planning our trip to New Orleans, I was most excited to read about Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District.  The architecture of antebellum homes coupled with one of the city’s oldest cemeteries made my traveling heart giddy!

Lafayette Cemetery New Orleans

Lafayette Cemetery New Orleans

(Some background: When I was a young girl my dad started selling monuments (i.e. tombstones).  On our travels, we went through just about EVERY CEMETERY known to man.  While this was an annoying chore as a kid, it’s turned into a love for cemeteries and the history that can be found by visiting them.)

Lafayette Cemetery is no exception! I learned so many new things from our tour guide, Val, from Save Our Cemeteries. For instance- At one time, Lafayette Cemetery was the only non-denominational cemetery in New Orleans.  It was actually illegal to be anything BUT Catholic in New Orleans until the US purchased Louisiana through the Louisiana Purchase!


One thing that is striking about this cemetery is the large family tombs.  Unlike most mausoleums in our area that hold 2 adults, over 75% of the tombs in Lafayette Cemetery are family or societal tombs.  Val explained that when a new person needs to be added to the tomb, the remains inside the last coffin are removed and bagged and then the recently deceased’s coffin is placed in a tomb.  Hearing this was a little morbid, but because the cemetery is so old, this only needs to be done once or twice a year.

Our Lafayette Cemetery tour took just over an hour, and while you are free to roam the cemetery without a guide, I’m so glad we were being led by someone who knew all the history.  Also, Save Our Cemeteries is a non-profit organization and Val was able to point out some of the restorations that happen because of visitors (like us) paying for volunteer-led tours.Lafayette Cemetery New Orleans

Before & after touring Lafayette Cemetery, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the Garden District.  The Garden District was once part of a Livaudais Plantation.  Originally the lots were more spacious and surrounded by gardens, however as the city grew, homeowners sold off extra parcels.   This area has been used in many Hollywood movies, and is now home to movie stars such as Nicholas Cage and Sandra Bullock  (I was looking, but never spotted them. Ha!)

We took the the Saint Charles streetcar to get from the French Quarter to the Garden District.  All day streetcar passes are only $3/per person so for $15 our family was set!  New Orleans gets props for having affordable, kid-friendly public transportation.

You can get a self-guided walking map HERE.

After our cemetery tour and the subsequent picking out of our retirement home, we headed towards Magazine Street.  Val had tipped us off to the kid-friendly Joey K’s, a restaurant once featured on the Food Network.  We chose sidewalk seating and I appreciated that the children’s menu had things like spaghetti and peanut butter & jelly! I prefer my kids eating these over the ever-present hot dog.

I chose the fried green tomatoes with shrimp and it was the perfect bit of southern cuisine.  I left feeling full and happy.

Joey K's, The Garden District, New Orleans

If you’re kids aren’t having a post-lunch meltdown,  take some time to peruse the unique stores on Magazine Street.  I saw many that I would have liked to visit if we’d had more time.  Instead, we chose to weave through the shaded streets of the Garden District homes and find our way back to the streetcar.

The Garden District New Orleans

The Garden District New Orleans

Tips for families:

  1. If you need a take-out option for dinner, we had Magazine Pizza, not once, but TWICE, on our visit. Magazine Pizza’s crust was more like a pretzel bun.  Yummo!  Dinner time with kids is hard and they deliver to hotels!
  2. We took our double umbrella stroller with us and it served it’s purpose, but it was a bit awkward to push through the lafayette cemetery and over some of the older sidewalks in the Garden District. If you have only one child, a jogging-type stroller would be better.
  3. A previous hurricane took out most of the trees in Lafayette Cemetery.  This means there is little to no shade.  Pack lots of sunscreen (I forgot)- or you’ll end up paying $4 for a 1 oz. tube at a convenience store.  i.e. Learn from my mistakes
  4. Pack water. Heat + lots of walking means you’re going to be thirsty.  We refilled the same water bottles each night and kept them in our hotel fridge.  Saves $$ and the environment.
  5. Save Our Cemeteries has tours at 10:30 am and 1 pm.  I’d recommend the 10:30 (this is the one we did).  When we left the cemetery it was as if the Garden District had all the tour buses arrive and it was much busier in the area than it had been on our way in.  Plus, you won’t have the afternoon sun.

Have you been to New Orleans or the Garden District? 

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The Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery- New Orleans
The Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery- New Orleans


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Travel Hacking New Orleans

Flights & 4 nights for 5 people- under $300

Hey!  We just returned from New Orleans and I wanted to share with you how we saved so much money on this trip by travel hacking our accommodation & flights.  We’ve been able to travel more since learning how to better utilize our credit card points.  For more info, start HERE:

Why this Dave Ramsey follower still uses a credit card

Travel Hacking the Canadian Rockies

We flew to New Orleans on Southwest airlines.  The total cost of 5 flights on Southwest would have been $1269.40!  Instead, our total was $56 and some change thanks to using 56,350 points.  You could get this many points by getting the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and then transferring the points to Southwest.  Check out 10xtravel for more info on all things credit cards!

Savings: $1213

For our hotel nights, we wanted to do a plantation tour, but also stay in the city.

Because we were arriving into New Orleans on a Saturday night during Jazz Fest, city hotel rates were really high.  We decided that we’d stay outside of the city for the first night, then drive in on Sunday.

The first night we stayed at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Gonzales, LA.  This was a perfect family-friendly property.  Our room with two double beds and a sofa bed was HUGE, and the free breakfast was sufficient.

The total cost for that night was $112.78.

We had some points left on our Barclaycard Arrival+.  Which allowed us to completely “erase” the purchase.  Barclaycard is offering a 50,000 point sign-up bonus which is good for $500 of travel purchases.

Savings: $112

In New Orleans, we picked our hotel considering what would accommodate our family, but was also not too close to the French Quarter.  I’d read on some blogs that the French Quarter can get a little rowdy at night and little ones (or their big mama, lol) would have a hard time sleeping.

Brian had some Hilton points to burn, so we chose the Hampton Inn by Hilton by the Convention Center.  If we would have paid out of pocket for the Hampton, 3 nights would have cost us just over $694.  This is without 2 nights of valet parking (we were able to park the first night on the street), which would have added an additional $88). Hilton now allows you to redeem an uneven amount of points – i.e. the Hampton was 36k a night and we redeemed 77k to help us save a little more on the last night.

Our final bill at check-out was

3 nights at the Hampton with 2 nights parking FULL PRICE: $782

3 nights at the Hampton with 2 nights parking WITH POINTS: $235

Savings: $547

We also rented a car, but it’s not a necessity when visiting New Orleans so I won’t include it.  Our reason for renting was because we did want to drive out to the plantations, and we needed cost-effective airport transportation.  I’m so glad we did have the car because of all of the flight debacles we had on the return.

Also, when flying on Southwest Airlines, your car seats fly for free!  This is a big money-saver!  We bought car seat bags a couple of years ago from Amazon and this backpack one is our favorite.  Hands-free with kids is a must!

We also just purchased this inflatable booster seat for our oldest.  It worked really well – and we could fit 3 kids across the back of a Ford Escape.

 

(If you weren’t traveling with three small kids you could easily purchase a plantation tour with hotel pick-up plus airport transfers).

So that’s how we did flights for five & 4 nights of hotel for under $300!  Do you travel hack?  Have you been to New Orleans?

While in NOLA: Visit the Garden District & Tour Lafayette Cemetery

** Leah’s disclaimer:  It’s never a good idea to go into debt by using credit cards.  We use them for most of our business/personal expenses and then pay the statement each month.  Don’t play this game if you lack self-control. **

 


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