A Free Self-Guided Tour of The Garden District, New Orleans.
Free St Louis Cemetery Walking Tour

Cost: Free
Starting Point: 2368 Magazine Street, Molly’s Rise and Shine
Ending Point: 2627 Coliseum Street, Sandra Bullock’s House
Total Distance: About a mile
Time Required: About an hour or two
Best Time to go: Early in the morning is best to avoid crowds and heat

Getting Here: The historic Saint Charles Streetcar is the most leisurely way to get to The Garden district from The French Quarter.
In the Quarter, you can get to the stop by crossing Canal Street at Bourbon. The street names change on either side of Canal Street, and Bourbon Street becomes Carondolet.
The price is $1.25 per ride, or $3 for a 1-Day Pass which can be purchased from the driver. You must have cash and exact change.

A Brief introduction to The Garden District
What is the Garden District Known for?

The Garden District is known for elegance and refinery; charming Victorian, Italianate, and Greek Revival mansions and oak-lined streets are Garden District staples.

Most of what is now The Garden District was originally part of the Livaudais plantation in 1832. The town of Lafayette was established in 1833, separate from the Creole city of New Orleans. In 1852 Lafayette was annexed into New Orleans as its Tenth Ward.

Today, The Garden District’s vibe is southern, suburban opulence with historic landmarks, celebrity homes and massive oak trees mixed in.

Step back in time with us as we explore the best architecture, history, and legends of The Garden District, with famous food stops along the way.

Map of the Self-Guided Garden District Walking Tour
But First, we Brunch! Molly's Rise and Shine 2368 Magazine
Free garden district tour

Molly’s Rise and Shine 2368 Magazine is a quirky and delicious Garden District Staple. This is a great spot to grab some breakfast and coffee before your tour. Pro tip: Virgin Bloody Mary’s pair perfectly with everything on the menu.

Molly’s Rise and Shine is closed Tuesday and Wednesday).

Free French Quarter Walking Tours
1. The “Jefferson Davis” House (1134 First Street)
Free Garden District Tour

Officially called the Payne-Strachan House, this mansion was built in 1849 by Jacob Payne. Jefferson Davis, once the President of the Confederate States of America, died in the house on December 6th, 1889.

Continue down First, away from Magazine Street.

2. The Anne Rice House (Brevard- Rice House, 1239 First Street):
Free Garden District Tour

This beautiful Greek Revival dates to 1857, when it was constructed for Albert Brevard by James Calrow and Charles Pride. It is said that Mr. Brevard never left the home- he died there only 2 years after its completion and is known to still haunt the halls.

In 1989 Anne Rice purchased the house and would go on to write The Mayfair Witches series there, featuring the Brevard House as the ancestral home of the Mayfair witches.

Today, the plaque outside the mansion proclaims the official name to be The Brevard-Rice House, but it’s more commonly referred to as “The Anne Rice House.”

Continue down First, next door, across the street is the next stop:

Carroll-Crawford House (1315 First Street):
Garden District
Garden District Walking Tours

Built in 1869 for Joseph Carroll by Samuel Jamison, this pink, 3 story Italian stunner is one of the most unique mansions in the Garden District. Joseph Carroll was known for throwing fancy (and often raunchy) parties, with important guests such as Mark Twain. Think about it: Mark Twain partied in this mansion, and maybe even found inspiration in its walls!

Two doors down at 1331 First street is the Morris-Israel House built by the same architect in 1867. Check out the similarities! NBA player Zion Williams just bought this house for his mother. Find out more about Where the Rich and Famous live in New Orleans.

The next intersection should be First and Coliseum Street. Take a right down Coliseum, the next stop will be on your left .

4. The Seven Sisters 2329 Coliseum Street
Free Garden District Walking Tour

The legend goes: A man had 7 daughters and built these houses for them as wedding presents, to keep them close.

The actual story is less romantic- Henry Hall modeled the houses after the work of famed architect Henry Howard around 1868. His goal was to appeal to those on a modest income that were interested in The Garden District.

The 7 sisters (there are 8 total buildings) are “shotgun” houses, so called because of their layout- you could theoretically fire a gun through the front door and the bullet would go right out the back.

Shotgun houses are a trademark of New Orleans architecture, and these are the only examples of shotgun houses in The Garden District.

Continue down Coliseum two blocks to Jackson, Take a left on Jackson.

5. Buckner Mansion 1410 Jackson Street:
Free Garden district walking tour

This mansion was seen on Season 3 of American Horror Story: Coven and again on Season 8 of American Horror Story: Apocalypse. Today, Buckner Mansion is one of the most photographed homes in all New Orleans.

Built in 1856 by Henry Sullivan Buckner, Buckner mansion was the Soule Business School until 1983 and is now used as a private residence and occasional posh filming location.

While you can’t formally tour the home, AHS fans will recognize plenty of filming locations from the outside. Remember to take photos respectfully, as the house is occupied.

If your on Jackson facing the Buckner Mansion, Prytania Street is to your right. Take a left on Prytania and walk a block, just past Phillips Street.

6. Louise S. McGehee School | Bradish Johnson House 2343 Prytania Street:
Free Garden District Tour

This French-style mansion was built in 1872 for Bradish Johnson by James Feret, but has served as the private all-girls school, The Louise S. McGehee School since 1929. The school has expanded to include many other buildings on the block, but The Bradish Johnson House remains an icon of McGehee School history.

Toby’s corner is across the street.

7. Toby’s Corner (2340 Prytania Street):
Free Garden District Tour

This is the oldest house in The Garden District. Thomas Toby built this Greek Revival masterpiece in 1838 but sadly lost the home to foreclosure in 1858. Soon after, Thomas Dugan purchased the property for his daughter and it’s still in his family to this day.

Continue down Prytania, past First. On your left is:

8. Women’s Opera Guild (2504 Prytania Street):
Garden District Tour

This magnificent mansion was built in 1859 for merchant Edward Davis. It was purchased in 1944 by the Seebold Family who then willed it to Women’s Opera Guild upon their deaths in 1965.
The mansion has appeared in several big Hollywood films including Elsa & Peter as well as Django Unchained. Today the Women’s Opera Guild mansion is available to rent for weddings and social events.
Guided tours are available seasonally-check out The Guild’s Facebook page.

Continue down Prytania.

9. Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel (2523 Prytania Street):
Garden district Free Tour

This Greek Revival mansion was built in 1852 for Joseph Maddox, owner of The New Orleans Daily Crescent.

In 1925 the Redemptorist Fathers converted the mansion into a Catholic Chapel. This is how the building got its trademark iron pavilion and Virgin Mary Statue, with its “Our Mother of Perpetual Help” dedication from which it is named. Sadly, these were recently removed by the currently owners.

Anne Rice converted The Chapel back into a home in 1996 and it inspired the setting for her book Violin.

Actor Nicolas Cage owned the home from 2005 until 2009, before it was infamously placed into foreclosure. Today, the mansion is a private residence.

10. Briggs-Staub House (2605 Prytania Street):
Free Garden District Walking Tour

Charles Briggs had this Gothic Cottage built in 1849 and today 2605 Prytania Street is still considered the only Gothic-style home in the Garden District.

Even though the cottage isn’t nearly as massive as the neighboring homes, the contrast is part of what gives the Briggs-Staub House it’s charm. The cottage was also one of the first in the Garden District to have indentured servants and free men of color as workers instead of slaves.

11. Sully Mansion (2631 Prytania Street):
Free Garden District Tour

Designed by Thomas Sully in 1890 for the Rainey Family, 2631 Prytania is the best preserved of the few remaining houses designed by Sully. This three-story Queen Anne-style mansion is currently a Bed and Breakfast.

Across the street on First is the next stop.

12. Colonel Short’s Villa 1448 Fourth Street:
Garden District: Home to the rich and Famous

This Italianate styled home was designed by architect Henry Howard for Colonel Robert Short in 1859. During the Civil War the house was seized by Federal troops and in 1864 the villa was used by Michael Hahn, the Governor of Louisiana. General Nathaniel P. Banks then occupied the home- it wasn’t until the end of the war that the property was released to the Colonel, in 1865. Colonel Short lived here until his death in 1890.

This property is best known for its easily recognizable cornstalk fence and is sometimes referred to as ‘the cornstalk house.’ One explanation for the eye-catching design was that Colonel Short’s wife was homesick for the Iowa cornfields where she had grown up. Another says that she simply ordered the most expensive fence available at the time.

It was bought by Paul McCarthy’s Manager Scott Rogers in 2018 find out more about where the rich and famous live in New Orleans. Scott Rogers did extensive work on the property, including adding a pool.

13. Still ‘Perkin: coffee + bathroom break and Garden District Books (2727 Prytania Street):
Free Garden District Walking Tour

The Rink is a repurposed roller skating rink originally called Crescent City Skating Rink built in the late 19th century. It was converted to shops in the 1970s. It houses The Garden District Book Shop and Still ‘Perkin.

At the time of this writing, The Rink is currently under construction but ‘Still Perkin is still waiting to serve as your drink and bathroom stop. This is the perfect stop to order a Café Au Lait and grab a pastry or other small snack.

The Garden District Book Shop is known to be a favorite of New Orleans author Anne Rice and has hosted many book signings for her. This is one of the best places in the entire world to get signed Anne Rice books, originals and other rare artifacts such as photos of the famed mock funeral she staged to promote her book Memnoch the Devil.

Besides Anne Rice, you’ll find a selection of Louisiana-specific books, and rare titles from local authors that is unbeatable. If you’re souvenir shopping for any history buffs, this is your spot.

Take a left on Washington.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (1427 Washington Street):

Lafayette Cemetery #1 is closed for renovations but you can look through the gate.

Free Garden District Tour

Lafayette No.1 is the unofficial ‘most filmed cemetery in New Orleans.’

Named after the city of Lafayette, which would later become The Garden District this cemetery has been active since 1833. There lies an estimated 7,000 people buried at the cemetery.

Some of the most notable people resting in Lafayette Cemetery No.1 include:

• Judge Ferguson of the Plessy vs. Ferguson “separate-but-equal” case.
• Several historic volunteer firemen organizations, now extinct.
• Mayfair Witches- in Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches series, the tomb for the witches in The Witching Hour, looks like the Lafayette fireman tombs.

Layfette Cemetery No. 1 is currently closed for renovations, but one of New Orleans oldest cemeteries, St. Louis No. 3 (1853) is open for exploring. Check out our free Tour of St. Louis No. 3. Daily at 1pm If you’re pressed for time and can’t make our in-person tour, check out our free self-guided cemetery tour.

14. Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Avenue):
Garden District Free Walking Tour
Opened in 1880. Commander's Palace has been a New Orleans landmark and something The Garden District has been known for.

Aside from its title as one of the Garden District’s most haunted locations, the food at Commander’s Palace is famous for a reason and has won a variety of awards. Two of N.O.L.A.’s most famous chefs, Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, have gotten their start here.

Commander’s Palace was first established as a saloon in 1893 by the original owner, Emile Commander. Today, the restaurant is a Garden District icon known for its southern charm, award-winning Creole cuisine and the fun-looking, bright blue, Victorian masterpiece that houses it. Inside, the style is traditional fine dining, and the dress code is strictly enforced.

Take a left down Coliseum.

15. Benjamin Button House - Nolan House 2705 Coliseum Street:
Free Garden District Walking Tour

Built in 1832, this handsome house is best known for its appearance in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The 8,000 square foot cottage has been owned by three generations of the Nolan family.

The movie, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was filmed almost entirely in New Orleans. The Nolan house served as the nursing home where Queenie, the resident manager played by Taraji P. Henson, raises Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt.

Nearly every room in the house was used for the movie and many scenes are instantly recognizable on the house’s porch, front steps, and interior.

16. John Goodman’s House | Joseph Merrick Jones House (425 Coliseum Street):
Free Garden District Walking Tour

The house is named for lawyer Joseph Merrick Jones, who’s law firm still stands today as one of Louisiana’s largest.

Actor John Goodman has resided here since 2005, after he purchased the home from Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor. Goodman is known for his role in the post-Katrina HBO series Treme and for his role as Dan Conner on the hit TV show, Roseanne.

Walk down Coliseum to Third and look to your left to see the next stop.

17. Walter Grinnan Robinson House (1415 Third Street):
Garden District Free walking tour

This is one of The Garden District’s largest estates at around 12,000 square feet. Built in 1859 as the masterpiece of one of New Orleans’ most famous architects, Henry Howard, this 2-story home is best recognized by its wraparound porches on both of its floors, and its distinctive curved sides. The Walter-Grinnan Robinson House was one of the first homes in New Orleans to feature running water. It is currently the home of Mickey Loomis, the General Manager of The New Orleans Saints.

18. Eustis-Bullock House | Sandra Bullock’s House 2627 Coliseum St:
Free Garden District Walking Tour

This charming Swiss Chalet was built in 1867 by William Freret for James Eustis. This is one of only three houses of this style in the entire city of New Orleans. Perhaps because this style of architecture is not so practical in such a hot and humid climate. As of 2009, this is Chalet has served as actress Sandra Bullock’s home.

Free French Quarter Walking Tours
Dinner recomendations

Joey K’s on 3001 Magazine Street specializes in New Orleans style comfort food, like red beans and rice, jambalaya, and po’boys.

Parasol’s 2533 Constance St, is perfect for a more relaxed, New Orleans style bar atmosphere, with great food (the roast beef po’boy receives especially high praise).

Also in The Garden District:

• House of Broel (2220 Saint Charles Avenue):
This handsomely columned mansion is unique in that it was built in two different periods- Antebellum and High Victorian. Another unique feature is that, unlike most of the other mansions in The Garden District, you can tour this one.

The Broel family has also dedicated the second floor of the home to The House of Broel’s Dollhouse Museum, a collection of antique dollhouses, model mansions, period figures and décor.

• Ghost Manor (2502 Magazine Street):
During the last two weekends in October, you can visit Ghost Manor, a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian House on 2502 Magazine Street.

The display is free to the public and easily viewed from the sidewalk. The show is made up of more than a dozen different scenes, with Halloween themed characters, all perfectly timed to music. Ghost Manor is a labor of love, gifted by the owners of the home who spend countless hours designing the performances each year.

Free Garden District Walking Tour
What is The Garden District Known For?
What is The Garden District Known For?

Want to learn more about the Garden District?

Would you like to learn where to Rich and Famous live in the Garden District? Or . Or perhaps more about the history of The Garden District or what the Garden District is Know for?

Or you can book tour for a more in depth look at The Garden District’s history and culture.

What is The Garden District Known For?
What is The Garden District Known For?

What Nola Tour Guy is About:

Nola Tour Guy is a collective of passionate guides, both men and women, who are experts in the history of New Orleans. Our goals are to give tours that are intellectually stimulating, historically accurate and FUN. We only offer walking tours because we believe that walking is the best way to see a city and learn about it and at a price everyone can afford. Nola Tour Guy offers no novelty tours only the real history brought to life by our passionate guides. Join us, you won’t be disappointed..

Garden District Walking Tour