New Orleans tours and excursions
New Orleans tours
The bayou is part of the Louisiana charm and a swamp tour is a must. Most are done on the Northshore, on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. Dr Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tours in Slidell probes the Honey Island cypress swamp. A resident naturalist is available to answer wildlife questions about the flora, fauna and various reptiles that frequent the swamp. Or, head 29km (18 miles) south of New Orleans to Barataria Preserve (www.nps.gov/jela/barataria-preserve.htm).Tel: +1 985 641 1769.
New Orleans Paddlewheels operates several boat tours, departing from the Aquarium of the Americas Dock, South Peters Street. The Cajun Queen Riverboat runs 90-minute harbour cruises, while the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler runs a Battlefield Cruise to the spot where Andrew Jackson defeated the British. In the evening, the Creole Queen offers a two-hour dinner and jazz cruise, with or without dinner.
Tel: +1 504 529 4567.
New Orleans excursions
About 200km (130 miles) west along I-10 from New Orleans is Lafayette, the gateway to the Cajun country. The Acadian Cultural Center traces the origins and culture of the Cajun people, who relocated from Nova Scotia, Canada, to the Mississippi Delta in the 18th century, as well as other cultures of the region. There are several attractive Cajun towns and plantations north of Lafayette on the Cajun prairie. The town is also a good base from which to explore the swamps and bayous of the Atchafalaya basin.Tel: +1 337 232 0789.
Oak Alley Plantation
No fewer than 28 ancient oak trees line the entranceway of this stately, pre-war plantation home. When completed in 1839, the Greek revival-styled, 10-room mansion was considered a modest plantation home. The grounds and home are so picturesque, that they have been the setting for scenes from such films as Primary Colors, The Long Hot Summer and Hush… Hush Sweet Charlotte. The site grounds also have a bed and breakfast, gift shop and restaurant. Oak Alley Plantation is open daily 0900-1630 and admission is charged. It's situated 97km (60 miles) east of New Orleans.Tel: +1 225 265 2151.