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Louisiana

Signature City New Orleans

Get to know the real New Orleans through full days of excursions to historic landmarks, artists’ haunts and jazz venues. Plus, sample cuisine at the New Orleans School of Cooking!
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 2856RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,679
Louisiana

Signature City New Orleans

Get to know the real New Orleans through full days of excursions to historic landmarks, artists’ haunts and jazz venues. Plus, sample cuisine at the New Orleans School of Cooking!
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,679
Program No. 2856 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 25 - Apr 30, 2021
Starting at
1,679
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,679
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
1,679
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 25 - Apr 30, 2021
Starting at
2,229
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
2,229
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
2,229

At a Glance

With over 300 years of colorful culture under its belt, New Orleans revels in its giddy blend of European refinement and carefree effervescence, a place where virtue and vice are celebrated in equal measure. On this introduction to New Orleans, we’ve planned a full schedule of activities, so you can experience the intoxicating charms of “the Crescent City” that have long fascinated artists, writers, musicians and scholars. Experience live New Orleans jazz, and take field trips inside and outside the French Quarter and Garden District. Get perspectives on architectural and literary landmarks, and enjoy unique culinary adventures as well as the National World War II Museum.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Moderate walking and standing.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • On a bus excursion, see Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, the city’s famed above-ground cemeteries and St. Charles Avenue, including a walk in the Garden District to take in its historic architecture.
  • Delve into the local literary history as you study Tennessee Williams, John Kennedy Toole, William Faulkner and more impressive writers with an expert.
  • Enjoy a cooking demonstration as you dine at the New Orleans School of Cooking.

General Notes

You may enjoy a slower-paced program, "New Orleans at a Slower Pace: A City of History, Culture and Celebration" (#1475), or a more active, Small Group program with more free time "Jazz, Jambalaya and Joie de Vivre in New Orleans" (#21665).
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Doreen Ketchens
Doreen Ketchens is a musician whose primary interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world, through performances and education. As the leader of the jazz band Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, she has been called "Queen Clarinet", "The female Louis Armstrong", and “Lady Louie” by critics who have heard her perform. Her husband, Lawrence, plays the tuba, valve trombone and piano with the group. Doreen's Jazz New Orleans has represented New Orleans around the world, performing in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia and the U.S. They have played for four U.S. presidents, including Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. It is almost impossible to sit through a performance of Doreen's Jazz New Orleans without moving in your seat, shouting, clapping, or tapping your feet — we think you’ll agree!

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

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.
Profile Image of Doreen Ketchens
Doreen Ketchens View biography
Doreen Ketchens is a musician whose primary interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world, through performances and education. As the leader of the jazz band Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, she has been called "Queen Clarinet", "The female Louis Armstrong", and “Lady Louie” by critics who have heard her perform. Her husband, Lawrence, plays the tuba, valve trombone and piano with the group. Doreen's Jazz New Orleans has represented New Orleans around the world, performing in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia and the U.S. They have played for four U.S. presidents, including Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. It is almost impossible to sit through a performance of Doreen's Jazz New Orleans without moving in your seat, shouting, clapping, or tapping your feet — we think you’ll agree!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
4 B 1BR 3 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
New Orleans, Louisiana
D
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Hotel check-in 4:00 p.m. 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: 4:45 p.m. 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. Some field trips will be walking, others via motorcoach. In addition to meals at the historic Monteleone Hotel, we’ll divide into smaller groups (announced during Orientation) to dine around at some of the city’s fine restaurants. Breakfasts will be in the hotel’s Criollo Restaurant, ordered from a select menu. 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 always be happy to offer suggestions. As a special bonus, you will have voucher to use at a popular jazz club and the Louisiana State Museum. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances including weather. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Criollo Restaurant, we’ll have plated and served meals with coffee, tea, water beverage choices included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Live music fills the Carousel Bar & Lounge overlooking Royal Street right inside our historic hotel — a French Quarter landmark since 1886. The Carousel evokes a spirit of fun with the renowned Merry-Go-Round, the city’s only revolving bar. Have a welcome drink on us! Live music continues on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

DAY
2
Intro. to New Orleans, City Field Trip, Sculpture Garden
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Walking 1 block from hotel to bus for field trip; walking 3 blocks from bus for lunch.

Breakfast: Buffet in the hotel.

Morning: In this introduction to New Orleans, we’ll learn about our history and culture, traditions, celebrations, people, and what it means when we say, “It’s a New Orleans thing.” 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.

Lunch: Enjoy delicious New Orleans cuisine at one of the city's top restaurants and order from a select menu. Depending on which group you are in, either Monday or Tuesday will be lunch at local restaurant . The other group will eat out independently and the next day we’ll switch.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach and continue our delightful introduction to New Orleans as our instructor points out significant sites and reveals more about the city’s people, traditions, and unique culture. We’ll have some stops along the way (depending on timing and weather).

Dinner: Those who had lunch on their own today will enjoy delicious New Orleans cuisine at one of the city's top restaurants and order from a select menu. The group that did have lunch today will have dinner on their own tonight. We’ll switch tomorrow night.

Evening: At leisure. Experience nightlife in the French Quarter. If you’re a music aficionado, there are lots of options. We have provided voucher (drink included) for Fritzel’s European Jazz Club.The Quarter has something to offer for almost every interest and taste.

DAY
3
New Orleans Architecture, Garden District, Musical Surprise
New Orleans, Louisiana
B
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Walking 8 blocks in the Garden District.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Following a background presentation by a local expert, we’ll board the motorcoach and become immersed in New Orleans architecture. We’ll learn about various types of iron works, architecture, and historic homes with some stops along the way. We’ll then 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 in this lush setting.

Lunch: .Remember, the group that ate out on their own yesterday will have dinner and others will have lunch independently.

Afternoon: Back at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a musical surprise with some New Orleans grassroots musicians. The grassroots music scene developed after Katrina out of a need for hard hit local musicians to have opportunities for performing and networking.

Dinner: Those who had lunch on their own today will enjoy delicious New Orleans cuisine at one of the city's top restaurants and order from a select menu. The group that did have lunch today will have dinner on their own tonight.

Evening: At leisure. Go out to experience more New Orleans night life, music, and culture. If you haven’t used them yet, your voucher for Fritzel’s is good any night. Or have a relaxed evening at the hotel. The choice is yours.

DAY
4
World War II Museum, Free Time
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Walking at your own pace through World War II Museum; benches available. Walking during free time 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 will 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. We’ll also 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: Lunch buffet back at the hotel. You may stay on your own for lunch at WW2. Musical surprise after the lunch.

Afternoon: Free Time. You may spend as much time at the World War II Museum as you wish. You may return to the French Quarter for more exploration on your own or go back to the hotel to freshen up and relax.

Dinner: We’ll divide into smaller groups (announced during Orientation) to dine around at some of the city’s fine restaurants.

Evening: At leisure. Take this time to experience more of our very special city and what it has to offer.

DAY
5
New Orleans Authors, Cooking School, Free Time, Jazz
New Orleans, Louisiana
B,L,D
Hotel Monteleone

Activity note: Walking 5 blocks from hotel to Cooking School.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by the managing editor of the Tennessee Williams Journal, whose love of writing and New Orleans is evident in her enthusiastic lectures. We’ll learn about some of the famous writers who lived in and wrote about the French Quarter including William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, John Kennedy Toole, and more.

Lunch: 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 lunch. For dessert, we’ll sample the best pralines in town and other surprises!

Afternoon: Free Time. We have provided 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. You might also like to stroll along Royal Street with its antique shops, visit the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, or go for a ride on the paddlewheeler “Natchez” — last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi. There are many opportunities to experience our people, cultures, and celebrations.

Dinner: We’ll dine around at special New Orleans eateries and share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: One more opportunity to enjoy New Orleans Jazz with your voucher if you haven’t used it yet, or on your own wherever you like. Then prepare for check out and departure following our final event in the morning.

DAY
6
Jazz Brunch, Program Concludes
New Orleans, Louisiana
BR

Activity note: Walking 4 blocks to/from restaurant. Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Brunch: At the celebrated Court of Two Sisters, we’ll settle in for a true New Orleans delight, the Jazz brunch. The elaborate buffet offers tasty hot and cold New Orleans favorites from eggs any style to Creole jambalaya, grits and grillades, gumbo, classic desserts, and much more; coffee, tea, water included, other beverages available for purchase. Tap your toes to the music of the restaurant’s resident Jazz trio. Enjoy this final dining and musical experience with a broader and deeper understanding and appreciation of our city, the one and only New Orleans. 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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