Slice of New Orleans Past in Greek Revival Home
The St. Charles streetcar has rumbled through New Orleans since 1835, making it one of the world’s oldest street railways. It’s still fitted with mahogany seats and brass ornaments, and simply riding is a peaceful sightseeing tour of the Big Easy—it passes 19th-century mansions as well as Tulane and Loyola Universities. Located just a block from the streetcar’s route in the Lower Garden District, Fairchild House also reflects New Orleans history through its restored Greek Revival structure, built in 1841, and two adjoining homes.
From the street, the bed and breakfast blends so well into its surroundings that you might mistake it for someone’s home—there’s no sign out front, only a wrought-iron gate with a small brass plaque. Behind it, two of the buildings boast neoclassical columns and painted shutters. There’s a courtyard paved with bricks in the back, and live oaks stretch along the entire length of the property in the front, making it one of the best places to read the paper or enjoy a cup of coffee.
Each guest room offers its own style, but several are outfitted with the mantels of former fireplaces. Throughout the buildings, Victorian-style antiques blend with posters of past New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals for a charismatic Big Easy atmosphere. In the morning, innkeepers lay out a breakfast of seasonal fruit, yogurt, cereal, breads, tea, and coffee.
New Orleans’s French Quarter: Let the Good Times Roll
“Stop thinking of New Orleans as the worst-organized city in the United States,” writes author Dan Baum in Nine Lives, his post-Katrina book. “Start thinking of it as the best-organized city in the Caribbean.” Some folks think there is something distinctly foreign about New Orleans, a place where people’s priorities seem inclined toward enjoying life and relishing the moment at hand. Nothing says it better than the town’s unofficial Cajun creed: “Laissez les bons temp rouler,” or “Let the good times roll.”
Historical buildings with intricate wrought-iron balconies line the narrow streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. Here, street musicians often fill the air with jazz music, their trombones and tubas swinging back and forth. Just off the Jackson Square park and near the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the legendary Café Du Monde serves beignets under heaping piles of powdered sugar, as well as cups of iced or steaming café au lait.
And then there’s Bourbon Street, where neon lights advertise frozen cocktails and gaudy strip clubs and crowds gather along 13 city blocks. The nearby Frenchmen Street, just north of the Quarter, provides a slightly less touristy taste of New Orleans nightlife. Some of the city’s most popular live jazz and blues bars dominate this historic two-block district, with each venue hosting world-class musicians nearly every night of the week. Jazz fills the air at the Spotted Cat Music Club, where a sign warns that both drinks and drunks are barred from the piano—but like all rules in New Orleans, it’s one that’s bound to get bent from time to time.