by Danielle Coston
Bike tours. Walking tours. History tours. Food tours. Cemetery tours. Swamp tours. Architecture tours. Art tours.
When it comes to ways to explore New Orleans, the options are nearly endless, and there is something for everyone. Of course, in a city with a history as rich and diverse as New Orleans, it is easy to understand why tours are so popular and plentiful.
So whether you are for here a convention, a girl’s trip, a bachelor party, one of the city’s world-renown festivals or weekend get away, do yourself a favor—find some time between enjoying delicious cuisine and partying like rock star to take a tour.
A tour offers the opportunity to delve into the intricacies of what makes this city unique and unforgettable.
Everything there is to love about this city is steeped in a diverse history and overflows with culture. And your appreciation of all of those things will naturally grow when you learn more about this place, those cultures and that history.
Judy Geddes Bajoie, a local scholar and historian who owns and operates Tours by Judy, agrees. Bajoie’s specializes in history tours of New Orleans that include a historical Garden District tour; a three-in-one tour highlighting the French Quarter, free people of color and the case of Plessy v. Ferguson; and the Life after Death Mourning and Cemetery tour.
“In order to truly appreciate and enjoy New Orleans, you have to know the back story,” Bajoie says. “When you understand the history, you will know why the food is so good and why the music is so fantastic. You will enjoy it even more when you understand how our culture came to be.”
Bajoie prides herself on being extensive, thorough and factual.
While the French Quarter dates back to 1718 with the founding of New Orleans, she begins her tour by looking back nearly two centuries earlier to 1540 with Bulbancha—the pre-colonial community that was at the site of what is now New Orleans and home to various Native American nations, including the Chitimacha, Choctaw, Ishak, Tunica, and Natchez, indeginous people who were here long before European settlers arrived.
“If you don’t want the history, you don’t want me,” says Bajoie.
When it comes to picking the right tour, there are plenty of choices. Black-owned tours, attractions and experiences are listed here in the Welcome directory for your convenience. Of course, we have our favorites, and we want to share them.
Taking anyone of these tours guarantees that you will leave New Orleans with something more than a hangover and 15 extra pounds. You will leave with a better understanding of what make New Orleans the best city to visit for fun and culture!
Welcome’s Top Tour Picks:
# 1 Le Musee de f.p.c.
This house museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of free people of color, sharing the story through guided reenactment tours of the house, its art, artifacts and other material culture.
#2 Tours By Judy
A licensed tour guide and
former history teacher, Judy Bajoie
is available for private, personalized
and historical presentations.
#3 Hidden History Tours
With both walking and bus tours available, historian and tour guide Leon Waters presents New Orleans’ history through people, places and events.
# 4 All Bout Dat Tours
Michaela Iverson offers Black Heritage & Jazz tours as well as custom experiences that explore resistance, resilience, and the spirituality of Black life in New Orleans.
# 5 Know NOLA Tours
Historian, photographer and tour guide Malik Bartholomew specializes in Black heritage tours and subjects related to New Orleans’ African diasporic culture.
#6 Gumbo Marie Culture Queen
Dianne “Gumbo Marie” Honore curates authentic Louisiana heritage presentations, tours and events.
For contact information on these and other Black-owned tours and experiences, check out the directory in the back of this guide!