The learned guides of Spirit Tours New Orleans escort visitors through the Big Easy's streets, illuminating its rich history of mysticism, culture, and architecture. After examining obscure burial methods in the city's oldest cemetery St. Louis Cemeterey #1, cemetery and voodoo tours turn guest attention to tales of voodoo practitioners, such as Marie Laveau. Spooky-story fans listen intently to tales of slave owners and creoles while wandering through the French Quarter, and strolling film buffs judge how accurately films such as Interview with the Vampire and the critically panned Tuba from the Black Lagoon portrayed their locales. In addition to offering a garden-district tour, which highlights plantation-style mansions and elegant Saint Charles Avenue homesteads, Spirit Tours combines several of its tours into a combo package that covers voodoo, ghost stories, scandals, and bar hopping during one French Quarter jaunt.
Nestled in Audubon Park's rolling, verdant grounds dappled with tall oak trees, Cascade Stables' riding facilities train horse riders and enthusiasts in all levels of the equestrian sport. Seasoned trainers guide private and group lessons through trots and canters around a 60'x140' outdoor riding arena and a 80'x160' covered indoor arena, or through the park's relative wilderness on trail rides, where they may glimpse a wild Robin Hood in its natural habitat. Extended training programs instill riders and their horses with the passion and skills necessary to compete nationally. In addition to its arenas, the facilities boast amenities such as 44 rubber-matted stalls, which cradle horses when not in use, and a trio of air-conditioned tack rooms, where riders can store pet snowmen during lessons.
As dusk descends on an isolated bayou, a horde of zombies emerges from fetid swamp waters—their low moans drifting through the humid night air. They smell flesh. Five hopelessly lost travelers have wandered off-road into their domain, and now they must scramble to escape the approaching onslaught.
This spine-tingling scene hails from one of three harrowing vignettes set against the backdrop of Louisiana’s shadowy swamplands and fog-laced backwoods that make up the titular The Dark Tales of El Diablo—the half-eaten brainchild of independent filmmaker Spencer Lee. Throughout the film, failed horror writer Charlie—played by Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman alum Chad Allen—turns to an unholy muse to revive his middling career, summoning the demon Diablo and forcing him to share the three demented fables. But as Charlie listens to the tales intertwine, he soon discovers Diablo's true intention—to escape into the outside world.
Long celebrated by musicians, artists, and writers, the uniquely magnetic and spooky New Orleans comes to life as New Orleans Spirit Tours’ guides introduce guests to the city’s ghosts, voodoo, and sordid history. The knowledgeable guides—who all boast encounters with the paranormal—usher small groups through locales such as St. Louis #1 cemetery and the French Quarter as they share tales of religion, murder, slavery, piracy, and corruption. Each story is researched to ensure its truthfulness, with guides cutting to the heart of fabled figures such as voodoo queen Marie Laveau while dismissing myths such as the Legend of Curly’s Gold.
“Today was a little weird,” begins one of New Orleans Jogging Tours’ guides in a recent blog entry. “Every time we stopped to talk about the houses in the Garden District, a lizard jumped out!” This rare bahama anole isn’t the only outlandish sight jogging tourists have encountered on the 10-kilometer jaunts. The bouncing periphery of tour routes is frequently peppered with unexpected encounters, such as late-night Bourbon Street revelers or trees costumed with Mardi Gras beads well after Fat Tuesday. All New Orleans natives, the guides are primed to run the routes but keep pace with their charges, even if that means leisurely strolling or cartwheeling through historic areas such as the French Quarter, cemetery, and Garden District. Each section houses morsels of historical and cultural significance, from the St. Louis Cathedral and Civil War Museum to the homes of Sandra Bullock and a former Real World cast. Guides can stow smaller items in a backpack they bring along, but suggest that joggers tow personal backpacks for larger cargo.
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.