Park Bench Chat

History, Culture, and Urban Renewal in the Big Easy

Join us for an insiders’ tour of the Big Easy as we explore the physical and human geography of New Orleans both past and present. Our first evening we will gather for dinner at The Counting House—a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region.

The next morning we will join Make It Right Foundation Executive Director for a tour of the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Make It Right has endeavors to build affordable, green, storm resistant homes for families living in the neighborhood when the storm hit. Along the way, Jad Daley, our Climate-Smart Cities Director, will illustrate how parks, greenways, walk-bike trails, wetlands, urban forests, and other green features can reduce energy use—and therefore climate-warming carbon emissions—while protecting cities from climate threats like extreme heat and flooding.

Our story follows the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to City Park—where we took a leading role in repairing and revitalizing New Orleans’ much-loved public open space which was heavily damaged by floodwaters. Hear how we are helping to build new parks throughout the city, while touring one of the oldest, the stunning Longue Vue House & Gardens.

From the urban core to the plantations of bygone eras, we’ll head upriver to visit supporter Kevin Kelly’s lovingly restored mansion, Houmas House Plantation and Gardens the crown jewel of Louisiana’s River Road. Once a 300,000-acre sugar plantation, Houmas House reflects the best parts of each period in its rich history alongside the big bend in the Mississippi River.

Our trip would not be complete without a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar, transporting our small group from the Soniat House, our beautiful accommodations located in the quiet residential section of the French Quarter, to the Garden District where we will dine at a private home. We have invited author Julia Reed, to regale us with stories from her book The House on First Street, My New Orleans Story.

$3,308 per person, $600 single supplement

CST #2086409-50