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Signature City New Orleans: America's City of History, Culture and Celebration

Program Number: 1475RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/18/2015 - 10/23/2015; 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016; 2/28/2016 - 3/4/2016; 3/13/2016 - 3/18/2016; 3/20/2016 - 3/25/2016; 4/3/2016 - 4/8/2016; 4/10/2016 - 4/15/2016; 4/24/2016 - 4/29/2016; 5/1/2016 - 5/6/2016; 5/8/2016 - 5/13/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/21/2016; 10/23/2016 - 10/28/2016; 10/30/2016 - 11/4/2016; 11/6/2016 - 11/11/2016; 12/4/2016 - 12/9/2016; 12/11/2016 - 12/16/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Price starting at: $878.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

New Orleans beckons with three centuries of history and culture. Become immersed in this rich heritage as expert instructors lead you on an exploration of the city’s architectural styles, literary heroes, political figures, music and food. Learn about festivals that are both self-expression and a celebration of life, from Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest. Take field trips to Lake Pontchartrain, the French Quarter, the Garden District, the Mississippi River, Congo Square and the Treme area. Enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art and the amazing Sculpture Garden.


• Hear a musical performance at the Jazz National Park Museum and venture into the French Quarter to visit the Mardi Gras Museum.
• Admire historic New Orleans homes as you ride along historic St. Charles Avenue and walk into the Garden District.
• Learn the tricks of Cajun and Creole cooking at a popular culinary arts school, complete with recipes for you to take home.

Activity Particulars

Moderate walking up to eight blocks, flat terrain.

You may enjoy a comparable educational program with upgraded accommodations in the heart of the French Quarter, "Signature City New Orleans: An Unforgettable City of Mystery and Intrigue" (#2856) or a more active, small group program, “Out and About in New Orleans: Jazz, Jambalaya and Joie de Vivre” (#21665).

New Orleans

The Crescent City is among the United States' most unique and colorful cities, owing in part to the various heritages and cultures that influenced its growth over the past 300 years, including Cajun, Creole and French, a rich blend apparent in everything from the city’s architecture and cuisine, to its dialects and corner cafés.

Comfortable hotel with outdoor swimming pool six blocks from the French Quarter.
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
  New Orleans, LA 5 nights
 Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The first sounds of jazz were heard in the dance halls on the very blocks surrounding the hotel. Magnificent jazz murals commemorating this historic neighborhood including a 150-foot clarinet mural...New Orleans newest landmark! The hotel, in the heart of downtown, is 6 blocks from the French Quarter. True Southern hospitality will make you feel right at home while still close to all the action. Multi-lingual staff.
  Contact info: 330 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112 USA
phone: 504-581-1600
  Room amenities: Bathtub/Shower Hairdryer Iron/Ironing Board Coffee and Tea Maker Hairdryer Refrigerator Microwave oven Cable / Satellite TV In Room Movies - Pay Per View In Room Movies - Premium Cable Stereo Work Desk w/ Lamp Phone / Fax Speaker Phone Free Local Phone Calls
  Facility amenities: Outdoor Pool Health/Fitness Center On-Site ATM/Cash Machine Business Center (staffed between 8am-5pm) Concierge Services Dry Cleaning Pickup On-site Guest Self Laundry Facilities Ice Machine Newsstand Porter/Bellman Room Service Safes in each room HANDICAPPED ROOMS 6 rooms with roll-in shower with seat that folds down from wall 9 rooms with tubs with grab bars and shower chairs All handicapped rooms are equipped with grab bars in both walk in shower or tubs. All rooms meet ADA requirements for space and height of fixtures.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $139 + tax/some dates higher See pre/post info below
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $139 + tax/some dates higher See pre/post info below
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in: Sunday 3:30 pm. If you arrive earlier you can check in if your room is available. Bellmen will store your luggage until your room is ready. Registration:3:45 pm. Orientation: 4:15-6:00pm. Dinner: 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 11:00 am on Friday after morning lecture. You will be staying at Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
425 Parking Spaces. - Special negotiated daily rate for Road Scholar $15 inclusive (regular rate is $30 plus tax). Covered, indoor garage attached to hotel. Garage is a self-park and lock facility. Bus and RV parking also available for a fee
To Start of Program
  Location:  New Orleans, LA
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  New Orleans, Louis Armstrong International (MSY)
  From End of Program
  Location: New Orleans, LA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Union Passenger Terminal New Orleans


From Train Station




multiple taxis


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5-10 minutes 




1 mile


Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




various taxi companies


Per Person/One Way:


$33 for 2 passenger $14 for each additional passenger
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 Miles



Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
New Orleans Airport Shuttle
phone: 866-596-2699 xTollFree


Per Person/One Way:


$38 round trip per person $20 one way per person. Subject to change by company.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 miles


SHUTTLE WILL PROBABLY MAKE STOPS AT OTHER HOTELS BEFORE ARRIVING AT YOUR HOTEL-PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS. Shuttle will be outside of the baggage pickup area on ground level at airport.

Driving Directions
  Holiday Inn From East 1. Merge onto I-10 west. 2. Follow I-10 west and exit at Canal Street. 3. Turn right on Cleveland Street. 4. Go 7 blocks to the end of Cleveland Street. 5. Turn right on Elk Place. Holiday Inn is located 2 blocks on the left.
  Holiday Inn From West 1. Follow I-10 East 2. Merge onto U S90-W toward the Superdome(it will be on your left-looks like a space ship) 3. Take the Loyola Avenue exit-it will be on your right 4. Veer left as you exit-this will be Earhart Blvd. 5. From Earhart veer to the left onto Loyola Ave- go 3 blocks- you will be at Loyola and Poydras. 6. Cross Poydras and continue straight for 2 more blocks on Loyola-look for the giant clarinet on the side of the building-that will be the Holiday Inn. Turn right into the parking lot.
Elevation Note: Totally flat terrain

Equipment Requirements: No equipment
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
(Sunday, October 18)

Note: Only walking in hotel

 Afternoon: Arrivals. Registration 3:45pm and Orientation at 4:15pm at the hotel. Start off your New Orleans experience with an informative overview of the week to come, and a chance to meet our staff and your fellow Participants.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Introductory lecture on the French Quarter. Your instructor is from New Orleans and loves her city. Learn and be entertained at the same time.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: History Lecture, City Trip, Evening Lecture
(Monday, October 19)

Note: Short walk in park and cemetery (2 blocks) with option to remain on the bus at these stops.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Lecture: History of New Orleans. Begin your day with a walk back into history, from the discovery of the city to present day New Orleans. Your instructor is a native New Orleanian and knows its past and present inside and out.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Interpretive field trip to Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park and its magnificent oak trees, above-ground cemeteries.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening lecture with another interesting New Orleanian
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Literary Lecture, Free Time in French Quarter
(Tuesday, October 20)

Note: some walking in museums or return by bus to hotel.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Lecture: "Authors from and of New Orleans". Hear about local writers past and present who sculpted the fictional and non fictional New Orleans with their pens and typewriters. Get the real scoop on their personal lives: where they gathered, what they ate, what they drank as well as their literary personas-which are often one in the same.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Lecture: New Orleans Music. Learn about New Orleans music, the roots of jazz, its evolution through vintage clips and soundtracks. Local professor and musician explains the many influences that honed music of the city and have spread its influence worldwide. Experience a southern musical history performance sponsored by the Jazz National Park. At your leisure enjoy the Mardi Gras exhibit at the Presbytere to get a feel for our yearly celebration with its customs and costumes that attract international visitors. Also view the Hurricane exhibit in the Presbytere (voucher provided for both). Voucher also provided for Louisiana History museum in the Cabildo. So many possibilities !
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight so that you might enjoy a restaurant of your own choosing. If you have a special restaurant in mind you might want to make advance reservations.
 Evening: You may wish to return to hotel after dinner or stay in French Quarter to explore some of the jazz clubs on your own or just stroll Bourbon Street.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Architecture Lecture, Picnic, Cabildo, Music Performance
(Wednesday, October 21)

Note: Six block walk through the Garden District with your instructor. Can stay on the bus if you choose.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Lecture: Architecture of New Orleans. An introduction to what makes New Orleans diverse. Besides the ethnic diversity of our culture, you will learn how immigrants from the West Indies to Europe brought their architectural influences to the city.
 Lunch: Lunch with more New Orleans specialties.
 Afternoon: On-site Architecture excursion with instructor in the Garden District to get an up close and personal view of the architectural styles and embellishments discussed in morning lecture as you walk through this exclusive section of our city. After the walk, you can return to hotel or enjoy a variety of options on your own--WW2 Museum, Paddlewheel boat, ride the pedestrian ferry, aquarium or flea market.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: Musical surprise at the hotel.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sculpture Garden, Free Time, Cajun & Creole Cooking Class
(Thursday, October 22)

Note: Sculpture Garden and Museum strolling at your pace (benches available).

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: This morning view the spectacular Sculpture Garden in our beautiful City Park. Enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art at your pace. Have the unique experience of learning about the Mardi Gras Indians from an "Indian"(see his incredible costumes)--a cultural pehenomenon in New Orleans. You will hear about the connections to the Black Culture in New Orleans and to the famous early faubourg of New Orleans called Treme.
 Lunch: Lunch at local eatery
 Afternoon: Use vouchers for La. State museums or visit on your own the WW2 Museum, Museum of Southern Art, Natchez Steamboat or attend another great musical lecture/performance at the National Jazz Park or enjoy free time to do more exploring on your own. So many possibilities!
 Dinner: Learn the tricks and techniques of Cajun and Creole cooking at a popular culinary arts school. Recipes will be supplied so that you can bring some New Orleans cuisine "home" with you. Enjoy the great dinner being created for you.
 Evening: Retun to hotel--tired but full of new ideas!
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Huey Long Lecture, Program Concludes
(Friday, October 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Lecture: "Mardi Gras," and "Huey P. Long." Hear about the real Mardi Gras from a native. All of the myths and misconceptions that you have read and heard about will be dispelled after this lecture. The second half of the class is dedicated to Louisiana politics, with a focus on colorful former governor, Huey P. Long - the "Kingfish." You will be amazed at the antics, politics, and incidents that were orchestrated by this powerful, charismatic figure who was revered by his constituents, despised by his political enemies and even his family.
 Lunch: Your program concludes with lunch to go.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
Aquarium of the Americas
Audubon Zoo
Cafe du Monde
Pedestrian Ferry
Flea Market
French Market
Glassworks School
IMAX Theater
Mardi Gras World
Natchez Steamboat
St. Charles Streetcar
Beauregard-Keyes House
Faulkner House
Gallier House
Ursuline Convent,
Louisiana State Museum
Confederate Museum
New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden
St. Louis Cathedral
Voodoo Museum
World War II MUseum
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
House of Blues
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Maison Bourbon
Market Café
Mid City Lanes Rock n Bowl
Mulate's Cajun Dancing
Palm Court Jazz Café
Pat O' Briens'
Preservation Hall
Snug Harbor
Spotted Cat
Contemporary Arts Center
Le Petit Theatre
Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Center
Saenger Theater
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Streetcar Named Desire

Author: Tennessee Williams

Description: Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two characters, Blanche DuBois, a relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class. American playwright Tennessee Williams received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

All the Kings Men

Author: Robert Penn Warren

Description: All the King's Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey ""Kingfish"" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power.

Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole

Description: A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by American novelist John Kennedy Toole, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1980, eleven years after the author's suicide. The book, published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a revealing foreword) and Toole's mother Thelma Toole, quickly became a cult classic, and later a mainstream success. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. It is now considered a canonical work of modern Southern literature, in the USA. The title derives from the epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

Creole New Orleans Race and Americanization

Author: Arthur Hirsch and John Logsdon

Description: This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community.

Life On The Mississippi

Author: Mark Twain

Description: An invaluable companion to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi is Mark Twain's inimitable portrait of 'the great Father of Waters'. Part memoir, part travelogue, it expresses the full range of Twain's literary personality, and remains the most vivid, boisterous and provocative account of the cultural and societal history of the Mississippi Valley, from 'the golden age' of steamboating to the violence wrought by the Civil War.

Rising Tide

Author: John Barry

Description: An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

Why New Orleans Matters

Author: Tom Piazza

Description: In the aftermath of Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. Now what will become of New Orleans in the years ahead? What do this proud, battered city and its people mean to America and the world? Award-winning author and longtime New Orleans resident Tom Piazza illuminates the storied culture and uncertain future of this great and neglected American metropolis by evoking the sensuous rapture of the city that gave us jazz music and Creole cooking; examining its deep undercurrents of corruption, racism, and injustice; and explaining how its people endure and transcend those conditions. And, perhaps most important, he asks us all to consider the spirit of this place and all the things it has shared with the world: its grace and beauty, resilience and soul.

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As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

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