With Free Tours by Foot, you just tip the guide at the end however much you think the tour is worth. Or in the case of the Food Tour, you buy just the foods that you wish to try and then tip the guide at the end. This sounded like a good economical way for me to try out walking tours in New Orleans.
Garden District Tour with Lafayette Cemetery.
The first tour we tried with them was the Garden District Tour with Lafayette Cemetery. They have a great website with good information on the meeting points, which in this case was the outer corner of Lafayette Cemetery No.1.
We had registered for the Tour in advance online, so once out guide (Renee) had a good idea that all the participants had arrived, she started the tour. We had 16 people on our tour. After a brief overview of the history of New Orleans it’s self, we went on into the Cemetery to continue the tour in there.
Our guide did a good job of explaining the history of this particular cemetery, and why here in New Orleans they have above ground cemeteries. She even told us how the bodies are interred in the tombs, sometime many bodies in one Family tomb. Actually very interesting and not as morbid as you may imagine.
After leaving the cemetery, we crossed over the street and were in the Garden District to tour that pretty part of town. But be aware, the sidewalks are very uneven where the trees have broken it up, so you really have to watch where you are walking in this part of town.
As we strolled the leafy, Southern Live Oak lined streets of the Garden District, Renee pointed out many of the beautiful homes.
She was full of information, history of the homes, who lived there etc. Quite a few of them are owned by famous people, among others, we saw homes belonging to Sandra Bullock, The Manning family, and John Goodman. As much as I enjoyed the wonderful and varied homes, I also really enjoyed all the gorgeous Southern Live Oak trees that lined many of the streets. They’re wide swooping boughs covered in green ferns are just so majestic!
The Tour lasted about 2 hours and we finished up back by the Lafayette Cemetery. Renee concluded the tour, we all payed/tipped her, and went on our way.
French Quarter Food Tour.
The Second Tour I did on another day with Free Tours by Foot, was a French Quarter Food Tour, which met at the entrance arch to the French Market.
Our guide was Daniel and the tour started off in the French Market. He gave us a list of about 6 different food items that we could purchase right there at the market and try.
The nice thing was that you only had to buy the foods you really wanted to try. I got talking with a lady from Argentina and she was vegetarian, so that ruled a few things out for her. I purchased the Alligator Sausage to try, and she went and got the Crawfish Pie, which she kindly let me try some so I didn’t have to buy my own.
To be honest, there is no way I could have eaten all the food suggested on this tour, particularly as some of it wasn’t sample sized! So sharing some dishes, particularly at the market, is a good idea.
The Alligator Sausage was actually pretty good, though maybe a touch too spicy for my tastes. The Crawfish Pie was alright, but I’m not a huge fan of shellfish, so I wouldn’t have wanted to eat a whole one.
Our list of foods to buy also included a bag of Zappo’s Potato Chips, which were like good Kettle Chips. Boudin Balls I had never heard of, but discovered that they are a type of Cajun sausage meatball that is breaded. These I enjoyed too.
After leaving the market we walked past Cafe du Monde, which I talk more about in my post comparing Beignets. Here we watched briefly at the back window while the staff made the Beignets. Then we moved on to Landry’s Seafood Restaurant where we got to sample Cajun Dirty Rice which was delicious! Our last food stop was at the New Orleans School of Cooking where we got to sample New Orleans Pralines. These were very sweet, I usually love sweet things, but to be honest, these were too sweet for my taste. Basically made of Pecans, sugar, cream, butter and a little vanilla.
Our guide Daniel was great, very knowledgeable and explained really well the history of Creole and Cajun influences on the food in New Orleans. Before the tour ended he showed us a few more well known restaurants, including Brennan’s which I had a reservation for later in my trip. Also, after our tour he even e-mailed us a list of his favourite restaurants in the area for our use and welcomed feedback. Daniel had been such a good guide that I happily tipped him well for the Tour.
After these two experiences with Free Tours by Foot in New Orleans I would definitely recommend using them while in town.
I was there in April, but if you do these tours in the heat of summer, especially make sure you have water and maybe a hat.
Date of visit; April 2019.