Katrina Anniversary Tour, 10 Years After The Storm

Most New Orleanians have personal anecdotes to share when reminded of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. We saw first hand the tragedy and hardship, the power of community during the rebuilding effort, and the way the media portrayed the events that unfolded during the storms' aftermath. Like many of its community members, New Orleans' tourism industry proved resilient to the wrath of Katrina. As one of the earliest residents to return home, Isabelle Cossart, beloved owner of Tours by Isabelle, recounts her Katrina Story in an article on Buzzfeed.  With her and her employees' livelihoods at stake, Isabelle combatted the media's flawed version of Post-Katrina New Orleans with her very own Katrina Disaster Sites Tour, educating outsiders, one van full at a time, exactly what happened to our beautiful city, why, and how it happened. 

All failures serve to teach us a lesson and make us stronger. As Hurricane Sandy reminded us not long ago, Mother Nature does not discriminate.  Some of the world's oldest and wealthiest cities are prone to the same misfortunes of living at or below sea level that we in New Orleans are all too familiar with. Isabelle recognized the opportunity to educate others in the midst of disaster, which was not easy to do. We can only hope that the perspective we provide on our tours can help others' avoid the same misfortunes we have endured.  The Storm was 10 years ago, but its lessons remain relevant. In commemoration of Katrina's 10 year anniversary, we are offering our original 3.5 hour educational Post Katrina Tour through the end of August 2015. The tour will be offered either morning (8:30AM-12:00PM) or afternoon (1:00PM-5:00PM) and the cost is $80/person. (Minimum numbers apply.) Click here to request this tour, or email us at info@toursbyisabelle.com. 

NOLA in the News- 10 Years Post Katrina, University Medical Center Opens

Ten years post Katrina, New Orleanians open the doors of their brand new, state-of-the-art University Medical Center.  On August 1st, 2015, 131 patients were transferred from the LSU Interim Hospital, which served the community since 2006 to their new, permanent home 2 blocks away.  Patients marveled at the cutting edge technology, and feelings of comfort in their upgraded quarters. The newly opened University Medical Center is one of the major components, along with the Biomedical Center and the VA Hospital (opening 2016), that make up the Mid City Medical Corridor. This development area is already quickly becoming an economic engine for the city and it's residents, producing jobs and attracting services and ammenities to Mid City neighborhoods.  Having a 21st century medical teaching facility in the heart of New Orleans has been integral to the recovery of Post Katrina New Orleans. We are seeing young professsionals, entrepreneurs, researchers, and educators flock to the city to take advantage of the resources and opportunities enabled by these development projects.

Is Tourism Helping the Recovery from Hurricane Katrina?

This short film draws attention to an important debate here in New Orleans. Tour companies have been banned from entering the Lower Ninth Ward since 2006! Now on the cusp of Hurricane Katrina's 10th anniversary, we should decide if this is still necessary. Is the ban helping or hindering the recovery efforts in the neighborhood most severely damaged by the storm?

Louisiana is the Weirdest Country in America!

….And we are proud of it!  Some people have called Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) the northernmost port of the Caribbean. It's quite an exotic destination and many things feel more European or Caribbean here because of our history and the cultural influences from all different parts of the world. This hodge podge of weirdness is easily evident in our cuisine. Turtle soup anyone? Come visit New Orleans! It's like going to a foreign country without leaving the US, no need for a passport!

Bravo San Francisco Plantation!

The lovely most opulent plantation home, San Francisco Plantation has been awarded Attraction of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, following its Grand Re-opening this past fall. During the summer of 2014, San Francisco closed its doors to the public as it underwent $1.3 million in renovations.  Money well spent! Now the historic home has partnered with Houmas House, Oak Alley, and Laura Plantations to form the New Orleans Plantation Parade. Thanks to the organization's marketing strategy, the extra-day campaign, visitors to New Orleans and Baton Rouge are incouraged to dedicate one day of their vacation just to visiting the historic farmheads, homes, restaurants, and inns on River Road. 

We are looking forward to seeing the new old and improved San Francisco plantation at this year's spring festival Frisco Fest March 7-8! 

Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening Sunday

We have been getting quite a few concerned tourists calling and wondering if New Orleans will flood due to the swelling of the Mississippi River. We want all of our customers to rest assured that New Orleans is protected from the River waters by a complex water protection system.  One of its impressive structures is called the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This component of our system is designed to release excess River water into Lake Pontchartrain, should the Mississippi rise above the level the levees are designed to handle. It's like a safety net. New Orleanians have been dealing with water control for centuries and in 1931 this Spillway was completed. In the past 85 years, it has only been opened 10 times, the latest being in 2011. The spillway is set to open for the 11th time this Sunday, January 10th. The general public is allowed to view the spillway opening from the Project Office, located at 16302 River Road in Norco, Louisiana. You can also learn more about our water management system on our City and Katrina Tour!