Uptown and Garden District Tour
The Garden District and Uptown New Orleans are filled with graceful mansions and raised cottages surrounded by magnolias and sprawling oaks. This lovely area, with its lush landscaping and extravagant gardens dotted with statuary and fountains, is an excellent place to tour by bike.
Be prepared for traffic and blind corners on some of the streets. Most of the streets are wide enough for a bike and a car. It’s best to do this tour on Saturday or Sunday, as traffic will be much lighter on those days. You can begin the tour at beautiful Audubon Park, then take a leisurely ride through some of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in the country. Keep a map and guidebook handy, and make frequent stops, particularly in the Garden District, to enjoy the incredible historic architecture.
Start: Gate at Audubon Park at the 6400 block of St. Charles Avenue.
This 400-acre park was named for the great naturalist and painter, John James Audubon, who did some of his best work in Louisiana. The park offers a golf course, the Audubon Zoo, tennis courts, a miniature train which tours a part of the grounds, horses and bicycles for hire and picnic tables as well as a jogging path. At the rear of the park, you can cycle up the levee to a public pavilion with a view of the river.
Across St. Charles from the park are two universities, side by side: Tulane University and Loyola University. Tulane began in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana and is the oldest college of commerce in the U.S. In 1840, the Jesuit order established the College of the Immaculate Conception in downtown New Orleans. In 1904, an academy and college were opened on the present site, as Loyola College. In 1911, Loyola College and the college of the Immaculate Conception merged to form Loyola University. Today this is the South’s largest catholic university.
5100 block of St. Charles: the Milton H. Latter Memorial Library. In 1907 it was erected as the home of silent screen star Marguerite Clark.
4521 St. Charles Avenue: Academy of the Sacred Heart. Note the French spelling of the name – “SACRE COEUR” – in the ironwork above the gate. Sacred Heart is one of the city’s oldest existing private schools for girls. It opened in 1889 and is operated by the Sacred Heart nuns.
2.5 Right on Washington. You are entering the area known as the Garden District.
2.7 Left at Commander's Palace (Coliseum). Lafayette Cemetery is across from Commander's Palace.
2.8 Left on Fourth Street. Look, on your left, for 1448 Fourth Street: Short House. The feature interest here is the picturesque cast-iron cornstalk-and-morning-glory fence. It is one of only two of its kind in the city (the other is located in the Vieux Carré.) The house was constructed in 1859 for Colonel Robert Short of Kentucky. Go one block and turn right on Prytania.
2.8 Right on Prytania. Go one block and turn right on Third Street.
2.9 Right on Third Street. 1415 Third Street, is the Robinson House, one of the largest in the Garden District. This house is believed to have been among the very first in New Orleans to have indoor plumbing.
1331 Third Street is the Musson House. A great favorite for its lacy cast-iron balconies, this house was begun in 1850 for Michel Musson. He was related by marriage to the French Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas.
3.1 Left on Chestnut Street. Go one block and turn left on Second.
3.2 Left on Second. Go one block and turn right on Coliseum.
3.2 Right on Coliseum. Go one block and turn right on First Street.
3.5 Right on First Street.
1331 First Street: The Morris House. Built in 1869, recently restored, this house is a fine example of Garden District Architecture.
1239 First Street: The Brevard House. Another with excellent ironwork, the cast-iron grilles are embellished with a rose pattern. This house was built in 1857 for Albert Hamilton Brevard. Now this is the residence of author Ann Rice.
1134 First Street: The Payne House. Judge Jacob U. Payne built this place in 1849-50. On December 6, 1889, Jefferson Davis – former United States Army Officer, U.S. Senator, Cabinet Member and President of the Confederate States of America – died in this house.
3.4 Left on Magazine. Go one block and turn left on Phillip.
3.5 Left on Phillip Street.
3.9 Left on Prytania. 2343 Prytania Street: The Johnson House. Best known today as the Louise S. McGhee School for Girls, which moved here in 1929. This imposing structure was erected in 1870 for a wealthy young sugar man, Bradish Johnson.
4.0 Left on Washington.
4.1 Right on Chestnut
6.2 Left on Joseph at T and Stop. Take an immediate right on Chestnut.
6.2 Right on Chestnut.
6.6 Left on Henry Clay.
6.7 Right on Camp. Go 1 block and take a left on Calhoun. Go one block and take a right on Magazine.
7.0 Audubon Park. Left to the Audubon Zoo or go right through Audubon Park back to your starting point at the gate on St. Charles Avenue.