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1475
Louisiana

New Orleans at a Slower Pace: A City of History, Culture and Celebration

Discover artistry and heritage in New Orleans as you explore the city’s historic districts, learn about Cajun cooking and attend a performance at the Jazz National Park Museum.
Rating (5)
Program No. 1475RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,149
Louisiana

New Orleans at a Slower Pace: A City of History, Culture and Celebration

Discover artistry and heritage in New Orleans as you explore the city’s historic districts, learn about Cajun cooking and attend a performance at the Jazz National Park Museum.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,149
Program No. 1475 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,149
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,399

At a Glance

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. Other highlights include the amazing Sculpture Garden in City Park and the world class National World War II Museum.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Moderate walking up to eight blocks, flat terrain.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • 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.

General Notes

You may enjoy a more active program "Signature City New Orleans: City Of Mystery & Intrigue" (#2856) or a more active, small-group program "Jazz, Jambalaya and Joie de Vivre in New Orleans" (#21665); both based in the French Quarter.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Brian Altobello
Brian is a native of New Orleans with a master’s in U.S. History and 29 years of experience teaching at the high school level. He is a U.S. Army veteran and author of two books: “New Orleans Goes to War” and “Into the Shadows Furious,” a narrative on the U.S. invasion of New Georgia Island. Currently, Brian is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Social Studies at Renew Schools, a five-school charter organization in New Orleans. He is married to a travel-writing English teacher.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Brian Altobello
Brian Altobello View biography
Brian is a native of New Orleans with a master’s in U.S. History and 29 years of experience teaching at the high school level. He is a U.S. Army veteran and author of two books: “New Orleans Goes to War” and “Into the Shadows Furious,” a narrative on the U.S. invasion of New Georgia Island. Currently, Brian is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Social Studies at Renew Schools, a five-school charter organization in New Orleans. He is married to a travel-writing English teacher.
Profile Image of Nellie Watson
Nellie Watson View biography
Nellie Watson’s love of architecture was born at an early age, growing up in the unique environment of New Orleans’ old neighborhoods. Studying architecture and design in college, her career began at two architecture firms before establishing her own company — Watson & Withrow, Inc. After working the Louisiana World Exposition in 1984, she founded Watson Models, working on major development projects around the world. Nellie gives workshops on the art of model making and enjoys sharing her love for the local culture and architecture.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Streetcar Named Desire
by Tennessee Williams
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.
Creole New Orleans Race and Americanization
by Arthur Hirsch and John Logsdon
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
by Mark Twain
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.
Why New Orleans Matters
by Tom Piazza
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.
Rising Tide
by John Barry
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.
Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
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.
All the Kings Men
by Robert Penn Warren
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.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
New Orleans, LA
D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Easy walking inside hotel; at your discretion if you’d like to go out.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, check the message board for the location to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where the Orientation session will take place. You’ll receive a welcome packet with your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions.br> As a special bonus, you will have vouchers to use at a popular jazz club as well as the Louisiana State Museum. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, our plentiful dinner buffet includes coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase at the bar.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a guest speaker for an introduction to the French Quarter. We’ll learn about history, culture, traditions, celebrations, people. The entertaining class is taught by a humorist who has lived here all her life. She exudes the “joie de vivre” that makes New Orleanians distinctively memorable.

DAY
2
New Orleans History, City Field Trip, Antics & Incidents
New Orleans, LA
B,L,D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking a few blocks in park and cemetery. Those who prefer may remain on motorcoach at these stops.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes many choices.

Morning: We’ll begin with a lecture on the history of New Orleans, a virtual walk from the founding of the city in 1718 to the present day. Our instructor is a native New Orleanian who knows its past and present inside and out.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll order from a select menu.

Afternoon: We’ll take a field trip via motorcoach with expert commentary for an overview of the city. We’ll make stops at highlights such as Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park with its magnificent oak trees and Sculpture Garden and one of the famed and mysterious above-ground cemeteries where the departed — from pirates to voodoo queens — are interred.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll order from a select menu.

Evening: During a presentation by our educator, we'll learn about antics and incidents involving some of the most famous — and infamous — characters associated with New Orleans.

DAY
3
New Orleans Authors, New Orleans Music
New Orleans, LA
B,L
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking in museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll have a presentation on authors from and of New Orleans, past and present, who wrote about the fictional and non-fictional city. We’ll get the scoop on their personal lives, where they gathered, what they ate and drank, as well as their literary personas — which were often one and the same!

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: A local professor who is also a musician will use vintage clips and soundtracks to introduce the music of New Orleans. We’ll learn about the many cultural influences that have gone into music that spread worldwide, including the roots of Jazz and its evolution. We’ll then go to experience a Southern musical history performance at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Hear local musicians doing what they do best. The remainder of the afternoon is for your personal independent exploration. You’ll have vouchers to explore the Cabildo and Presbytère flanking St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. All were constructed during the Spanish period (1795-1799). The Cabildo was the center of government. The Presbytère, built on the site of what had been the residence of Capuchin monks, was used for commercial purposes. Both are now key components of the Louisiana State Museum. The Cabildo displays artifacts of American history as well as rarities such as Napoleon’s death mask. The Presbytère’s interactive exhibit on Mardi Gras traces our annual celebration from its origins to the present day with an exquisite collection of artifacts and memorabilia. Another exhibit expresses Louisiana’s saga of resilience in the face of disasters.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. If you have something special in mind, we recommend making reservations in advance.

Evening: At leisure. If you’re a music aficionado, there are lots of options. We have provided a voucher for Fritzel’s European Jazz Club, or go on your own to any of the other great choices. You might like to take a stroll along Bourbon Street to see some of the colorful locals and occasionally even more exotic tourists. Or just relax at the hotel. The French Quarter has something to offer for almost every interest and taste.

DAY
4
Architecture Lecture, Cabildo, Music Performance
New Orleans, LA
B,L,D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking 6 blocks through Garden District; broken sidewalks in some places due to tree roots. Those who prefer may remain on motorcoach.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll have an introduction to the architecture and diversity of New Orleans. Architecture is an expression of culture. We’ll learn how different nationalities and ethnicities — such as immigrants from Europe and the West Indies — influenced local architecture and contributed to the “gumbo” of our society.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll order from a select menu.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll set out on a walking field trip with a local architect in the aptly named Garden District, one of the loveliest neighborhoods in the country. It was laid out in 1832 for incoming, well-to-do Americans who were not interested in mingling with native New Orleanians. The feeling was mutual! Grand houses were built on large lots that encouraged the development of beautiful gardens. After the field trip, you can return to the hotel by motorcoach to freshen up and relax, or stay out and explore on your own. There will be a pick up in the French Quarter before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, choose what you like from the extensive dinner buffet.

Evening: We’ll return to the hotel for a musical surprise!

DAY
5
World War II Museum, Cooking Class
New Orleans, LA
B,L,D
Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown Superdome

Activity note: Walking at your own pace through World War II Museum; benches available. Walking in the French Quarter according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Formerly known as the D-Day Museum, the National World War II Museum was founded by eminent historian Dr. Stephen Ambrose, author “Band of Brothers” and other best-sellers. A self directed exploration takes us through three buildings that house exhibits highlighting the role of participants from world leaders to the everyday men and women whose contributions helped to win the war, as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Many items in the vast collection — such as uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, medals, diaries, letters, artwork, photographs, and other mementos — are on display while thousands of records and archives are available to scholars for ongoing research. See the film “Beyond All Boundaries” narrated by Tom Hanks. Through first person accounts and amazing special effects, we’ll take a journey through the war that changed the world.

Lunch: At the National World War II Museum in the American Sector restaurant.

Afternoon: Free Time. You may spend as much time at WW2 Museum as you wish or you may return to the hotel to freshen up or return to the French Quarter for more exploration on your own. You can also use your vouchers to the Cabildo and Mardi Gras section in the Presbytère.

Dinner: At the world renowned New Orleans School of Cooking, an expert local chef will teach us how to cook Creole and Cajun, and explain the difference. We’ll see the preparation of a traditional dish, then have it for dinner. Recipes will be supplied so that you can take some New Orleans cuisine “home” with you.

Evening: Returning to the hotel — tired but full of new ideas! — the remainder of the evening is free. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
All About Mardi Gras, Program Concludes
New Orleans, LA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: For our closing session, we’ll have a presentation on the “real” Mardi Gras by a native New Orleanian who will dispel the myths and misconceptions you’ve read and heard about. We expect to finish by 10:30 a.m. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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