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A city steeped in European traditions and Caribbean influences with nearly three hundred years of history, New Orleans offers a fascinating mix of history and culture in its many distinctive neighborhoods. Get a little something extra from your New Orleans experience by taking one or more of these tours, planned especially for NCSS attendees.

New Orleans City Tour

Thursday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 14, 1:00-4:00PM
Covering nearly 300 years of New Orleans history, culture, architecture and culinary habits, this is a must-see tour. You'll pass through the streets of the French Quarter and Ninth Ward and wind your way through the streets of the historic Garden District. In between you'll travel historic Esplanade Avenue past Creole mansions, where you'll stop for a short cemetery tour at St. Louis #3, home of some of the most elaborate tombs in the city. The tour will also stop in City Park, home of the largest stand of live oak trees in the world.

French Quarter Walking Tour

Thursday, Nov. 12, Friday, Nov. 13, and Saturday, Nov. 14, 12:45-3:00PM
Fee: $45
Experience the architectural charm of the historic French Quarter, the original walled City of New Orleans, whose urban plan was prepared in 1721. Stroll the compact streets of this National Historic Landmark district to learn the difference between a Creole cottage and a shotgun, and a cast-iron gallery and a wrought-iron balcony. See the oldest example of the Second Empire style in the United States, the only French Colonial building in the Mississippi Valley, and the last design of architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Our steps will take us past the Cabildo, designed in 1795 by Gilberto Guillemard, where the Louisiana Purchase transfer took place; Jackson Square with the Pontalba buildings; St. Louis Cathedral; and the Presbytère.

NOTE: Tour price includes a one-way bus transfer from the New Orleans Convention Center to Jackson Square, meeting point for the tour. After the tour, attendees are on their own for their return.

Garden District Walking Tour

Friday, Nov. 13, 1:30-4:00PM
Fee: $40
Enjoy a walk through the elegant Garden District, once part of the plantation owned by Bienville, the founder of New Orleans. Built to rival the architectural splendor of the French Quarter, this historic district is known for its marvelous examples of Greek Revival and Italiantate architecture. You'll see the homes of former Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras, the former residence of author Anne Rice, the house where Jefferson Davis died in 1889, and Toby's Corner, the oldest house in the area (built in 1838). You'll also visit Lafayette Cemetery, one of the Cities of the Dead, and learn about the unusual above-ground burial system.

Drink & Learn Cocktail Tour

Thursday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 14, 5:00-7:00PM
Experience the French Quarter's most famous landmarks while you hear about the people who gave the city its rich character and sip on the drinks that carry their stories. Notable stops along the way include the Pharmacy Museum, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Port of New Orleans. This tour does not stop at any bars, however, the tour includes several cocktails and punches, so you will never have to pull out your wallet to buy a drink!

This tour is limited to 20 people, so reserve your spot now!

NOTE: Attendees are on their own to reach the tour starting point at Vacherie, 827 Toulouse Street in the French Quarter.

New Orleans School of Cooking

Saturday, Nov. 14, 5:30-8:00PM
Learn the basics of Louisiana Cooking in a way you'll never forget. The Creole/Cajun experts at the New Orleans School of Cooking (NOSOC) teach such New Orleans specialties as Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Pralines, and season them with history, trivia and tall tales. This demonstration class includes a three-course meal and a copy of the recipes for you to try at home.

NOTE: Tour price includes a one-way bus transfer from the New Orleans Convention Center to the New Orleans School of Cooking. Attendees are on their own for their return.

Oak Alley and Laura Plantations

Thursday, November 12, 10:30AM-5:30PM

Get two distinct glimpses of Louisiana's past at these two restored plantations, both on the National Register of Historic Places. Oak Alley, a Greek Revival home dating to 1837, gets its name from the 28 live oak trees leading from River Road to the plantation house. The tour is a comprehensive plantation experience conducted by knowledgeable guides in authentic plantation style apparel. It includes a guided tour of the big house, plus time to explore the grounds, including the Slavery at Oak Alley exhibit. Laura Plantation is a restored Louisiana Creole plantation, significant for its early 19th-century Creole-style raised big house and several surviving outbuildings, including six slave cabins. The tour includes guided visits of the big house, sugar plantation homestead, and one of the slave cabins.

The trip to the plantations is approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes. The trip between the plantations is about 10 minutes. Lunch is not included in the price, but time will be provided for lunch at Oak Alley.

New Orleans Music History Tour

Saturday, November 14, 1:45-4:30PM
Experience the storied history of New Orleans music. You'll walk through the French Quarter and hear the stories and see the places that have defined the New Orleans music scene for over 100 years. Musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, George Lewis and Danny Barker will be discussed, as well as famous music venues as Preservation Hall and the Palm Court Jazz Club.

NOTE: Tour price includes a one-way bus transfer from the New Orleans Convention Center to Old U.S. Mint, meeting point for the tour. After the tour, attendees are on their own for their return.

Creole Queen Paddlewheel Cruise

Thursday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 14, 1:30-4:30PM
Fee: $23
Cruise the Mississippi on an iconic paddlewheel boat. You'll view the French Quarter and the Port of New Orleans as the Captain entertains you with a detailed narration of New Orleans landmarks and history, vessel information, and river lore. You'll disembark for 20-30 minutes at the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. You can tour the Chalmette Battlefield and view the Malus-Beauregard House and Chalmette Monument before re-boarding for the return cruise.

NOTE: Attendees are on their own to reach the cruise departure point, 1 Poydras Street.

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