Original slave cabins are just one of the historical sites that groups explore during tours of St. Joseph Plantation, a working sugar-cane plantation built in 1830 that shares a fence line with neighboring Oak Alley Plantation. A schoolhouse, a blacksmith's shop, and many other structures reveal the workings of day-to-day life in the 19th century. Relatives of the family that has owned the property for more than 135 years guide many of the tours, peppering excursions with tidbits of history such as details about the childhood of plantation son and famed architect H.H. Richardson.
Devoted to preserving Cajun culture by sharing it with the public, Cajun Pride Tours’ knowledgeable and passionate guides lead groups on tours that explore area swamps, plantations along the Great Mississippi River Road, and the historic districts of New Orleans. They also stroll along city streets in the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Garden District, and areas that display the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina. On boat trips, groups can spot friendly gators while floating through the Manchac Swamp—a protected area that prohibits any hunting, fishing, or tickling of the native wildlife. A short drive past the swamps drops tourists off near the area’s plantations that are notable for their history, architecture, landscaping, and insight into Creole culture.
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.
For the last 20 years, satanic cults, monsters, and the undead have been congregating at The House of Shock to perform unspeakable horrors in the name of Halloween. Envisioned by a crack team of fright experts, including Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, this seasonal haunt has been featured in the Travel Channel's Halloween's Most Extreme, Rolling Stone, Maxim, and Top Haunts magazine's list of the Top 13 Haunts nationwide. The house's exhibits are so scary that they've caused some extreme reactions. Allegedly, one patron's heart stopped beating. After she was resuscitated and rushed to the hospital, it was determined she had technically been dead for a short period.
As a live metal band strikes its first ominous chords, the fright fest kicks off with a nightly horror show of pyrotechnics, death metal, live stunts, and masochists. Adrenaline levels soar as courageous guests tiptoe through the coffins, ornate gravestones, and crumbling mausoleums of an ancient graveyard. The house's professional actors don't just slink by waving chainsaws and body parts—they tear apart bodies and scare the dickens out of guests who brave the interactive horrors of a funeral parlor, a morgue, and a butcher shop's dreadfully rotten cuts of beef. The adventure reaches terrifying new heights in a controversial satanic church, where flickering candles and hellfire cast eerie shadows on demonic worshipers and their torture victims. The onsite Hell's Kitchen churns out thematic eats and adult beverages to help frightened guests regain their senses before they revert to a mental world where the only conflict is over which Teletubby wore it best.
World Coffee keeps caffeine-consumers running smoothly with a saccharine selection of coffee, tea, espresso, latte, cappuccino, and cider drinks. Avant garde guests can break free of stereotypical brews, adding up to two shots of syrup to concoct such heady mixes as the chocolate-covered-cherries latte, seasoned with Ghiradelli chocolate and cherry flavorings. Earthy options include the trail-mix latte—infused with shots of almond, hazelnut, and chocolate— and the sugar-free zebra steamer pays homage to the world's most confusing-looking equine by muddling sugar-free white and milk-chocolate syrups in warm, frothy milk. The shop's free WiFi allows gulpers to send unlimited apology emails to former gym teachers until closing time.
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.