Older than the French Quarter, home to more historic houses than the Garden District, and gifted with one of the largest park spaces in the United States, the Bayou St. John area is one of New Orleans’ most beautiful and important neighborhoods.
The bayou itself is the namesake and heart of the area.
A natural waterway formed by the Mississippi, it provided a route for Native American trade and travel for many centuries before European colonization.
Later, it became one of the first footholds of French settlement, then one of the most active shipping routes in the United States.
Its surrounding countryside slowly gave way to streets lined with the impressive homes of the Creole elite, especially Esplanade Avenue.
Near Esplanade’s end lies St. Louis Cemetery #3.
Built to beautify death in the aftermath of a yellow fever epidemic, St. Louis #3 is one of the great showcases of New Orleans’ above-ground burial tradition, with monuments that sometimes rival the homes of the living.
Those tombs honor New Orleanians of many kinds, including the wealthy Creoles who controlled much of 19th-century life, free people of color whose mixed-race birth landed them in a caste largely unknown elsewhere in the U.S., and groups of hopeful immigrants who banded together in both life and death.
Sights and subjects we cover on the St. Louis #3 Cemetery and Bayou St. John Tour:
- The Old Spanish Custom House and the Pitot House, some of the oldest surviving houses in New Orleans
- Bayou St. John
- St. Louis #3 Cemetery and Tombs belonging to:
- Paul Prudhomme, the great Cajun chef
- James Gallier Sr. and Jr., star architects
- Ernest “Dutch” Morial, first black mayor of New Orleans
- Margaret Haughery, one of the first women ever honored with a public monument in the U.S.
- New Orleans City Park and Bayou Metairie
- The New Orleans Museum of Art
Where: Tour starts At Fairgrounds Coffeehouse 3133 Ponce De Leon St. NOLA 70119
Duration: Approximately 2 hours. Approximately 1 mile in length.
Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it's done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone's budget.