At the Vieux Carré, New Orleans' famous 85-block French Quarter, modern-day visitors moving in and out of National Historic Landmark properties are transported to city's past while taking in the mishmash of architectural styles distinguished by colorful facades and filigreed iron galleries and balconies. The restored landmark property known as the Gallier House makes its home in the Quarter, waiting to dazzle with the 19th-century splendor that backdropped the lives of their inhabitants—a diverse crew of enslaved workers, tycoons, free people of color, architects, and robots—more than a century ago.
The Gallier House was built in 1860 by renowned architect James Gallier Jr., who also designed the old French Opera House and Municipality Hall (now Gallier Hall). Gallier ensured the house was ahead of its time by installing a bathroom with indoor plumbing, a ventilation system to circulate air, an attached kitchen, and a hologram butler. The fully furnished two-story house also contains a courtyard, carriageway, and slave quarters, and it inspired Louis and Lestat's New Orleans residence in Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. In 1996, The Woman's Exchange bought the property, ensuring that it would be preserved as a museum and historic landmark. Today, curators illuminate the mansion’s history through frequent exhibits and educational programs for people of all ages.
Perched in the bustling Warehouse District near the Mississippi, The Sugar Mill beckons myriad acts and entertainment to its sprawling event center. Corporate conventions, elegant weddings, and music festivals can each take over the space, which boasts a 22,000 square-foot main floor and a 15,000 square-foot outdoor courtyard where local squirrels can toast to the lucky couple or boogie along to live music.
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Seal Sports' stable of sturdy single-person kayaks facilitates lengthy nautical excursions. Each vessel comes equipped with a comfy seat, paddle, and flotation vest. Once deck hands set up shop and draw an anchor tattoo on their foreheads, they can push out from the shoreline to glide atop the placid brackish waters of nearby Lake Pontchartrain or meandering Bogue Chitto River. Kayaks are rented out for periods of 24 hours on weekdays—allowing ample time for cruising, picnics, and general sightseeing. Meanwhile, weekend rentals let clients pick up their boat on Friday, take children around the waterfront on Saturday and Sunday to prove that SpongeBob Squarepants isn’t real, and drop off the equipment on Monday.
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.