Riding the street car along St Charles Avenue is not only a wonderful way to view the beautiful historic homes that line the avenue, nor is it simply a pleasant trip taken on one of the nation’s only moving historic landmarks. A ride along St Charles Avenue is, in fact, a ride through history. The homes along St Charles Avenue are some of the most elaborate in the entire state of Louisiana. You can see the Wedding Cake mansion, named for its many intricate layers of decorate plaster on the facade; the Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion, built in 1869 for the Confederate officer of the same name; the replica of Gone With the Wind‘s Tara, pictured to the right; and the elegant Columns Hotel, just to name a few. Not only are these homes stunning representations of historic architecture in the South, but they represent an important aspect of history in New Orleans, namely the clash between Creoles and Americans in antebellum Louisiana. Although we find these homes beautiful today, when they were first built the Creoles were appalled and extremely critical. To the Creoles, these ostentatious displays of wealth were proof that the Americans had no class, and to put a garden in front of the house for viewing by the public was every bit as bad as bathing in one’s front yard! As new homes were built between Uptown and the French Quarter the creoles named the area the Garden District, but it was not complementary, although today many consider the Garden District to be one of the most charming parts of the city.
You can see these beautiful homes for yourself and learn more about their history on our New Orleans City and Estate Tour and our New Orleans City and Katrina Tour. Reservation requests can be made on our website or by calling 1-888-223-2093.