The vibrant mural stretching across the side of National Art & Hobby’s building serves as a symbol of the creativity-fueling items held inside. The shop’s cozy interior is packed with shelves of fine art materials, craft supplies, and jewelry-making equipment, as well as an extensive collection of glitter, sequins, rhinestones, and feathers often used by local Mardi Gras Indians to decorate their ornate costumes. Owner Nat Ward and a friendly staff stand by to answer customers' questions and shed artistic advice, from product suggestions to thoughts on which nontoxic paste is the tastiest.
The volunteers at Deutsches Haus have worked since 1928 to celebrate German culture and introduce locals to the country’s music, food, language, and history. The chirp of accordions and the crackle of bratwurst on a grill hint at events, including Oktoberfest and Volksfest festivals. Beers from German breweries such as Paulaner and Warsteiner run in straw-hued rivulets from mugs, and vendors dressed in dirndls and lederhosen sell traditional steins. During weekly meetings of the Schlaraffia, a jovial, international fraternity, guests belt out literary and humorous compositions to entertain one another or try to teach robots to laughs.
Given New Orleans' great wealth of stories, it's no surprise that the city itself would certify its master storytellers. This certification, held by every one of French Quarter Phantoms' guides, is put to good use as they lead small groups of travelers through the city’s dark alleys on historically accurate ghost and true-crime tours. The guides' expertly spun, chilling tales earned French Quarter Phantoms the accolade of second-best haunted tour in America from HauntedAmericaTours.com, as well as a certificate of authenticity from Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang.
Formed in 1989, the Louisiana Tour Company started out by organizing Swamp tours narrated by knowledgeable boat captains. Today, the company has grown to offer other excursions such as city Ghost tours on foot, visits to plantations in a van, and Airboat tours of swamp and marshland on the backs of indigenous amphibians. Three-hour New Orleans City and Post-Katrina tours invite sightseers to load up into a minibus to visit city landmarks and areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Winding through the cobblestone streets of various New Orleans neighborhoods, knowledgeable guides lead groups through notoriously haunted and historic spots during 2-hour walking tours. Each tour guide possesses experience with and/or passion for the occult and New Orleans history, and the fleet includes the founder of the New Orleans Paranormal & Occult society, as well as a member of the Louisiana Historical Society. With tours running daily, the meanderings whisk guests past real voodoo altars during the voodoo tour, or into the world of the undead with a vampire tour. Guests can eschew the spooks with a Garden tour or a cemetery tour that focuses on the neighborhoods’ history and inability to sleep with the lights off.
Since 1924, Gray Line Tours has introduced guests to the sights of New Orleans through an eclectic collection of tours, from leisurely walking tours to heart-pounding ghost tours. In addition to taking immersive history or plantation tours, participants can climb aboard an authentic steamboat, which preserves its engine room and original cartoon-mouse captain in a museum-quality exhibit, for a dinner jazz cruise.