March 24-30, 2014 



This spring join Ed Bearss and a cast of local experts as we explore the exciting city of New Orleans.  Our home for six nights is the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the heart of the French Quarter.



March 24, Monday  (R,D)

Individual arrivals in New Orleans.  Check into the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, our base for the next six nights.  Join staff and fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.   

Overnight at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the heart of the French Quarter.


March 25, Tuesday (L)

We begin our exploration of New Orleans with a walking tour of the French Quarter led by Ed Bearss and a local expert. Then we will visit the Cabildo Museum.  Built on Jackson Square in 1799 as the Spanish government seat in New Orleans, the Cabildo was the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803.  Exhibits trace the history of Louisiana from exploration through Reconstruction. We will end the day with a tour of St. Louis No. 1 Cemetery, the oldest and arguably the prettiest cemetery in New Orleans.


This evening, you may wish to attend a jazz concert at the Old U.S. Mint.


March 26, Wednesday  (L)

Today we will visit two of the most beautiful plantation homes on the Great River Road that runs between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  At Laura, we will learn about daily life of a Creole family on their 18th century plantation.  Then we will tour, perhaps the most photographed plantation in Louisiana, dubbed “Oak Alley” due to its quarter-mile avenue of 28 giant, live oaks leading up to the house.


In Lafayette, the “Cajun Capital,” we will learn about the migration and culture of the Acadians (Cajuns)--their music, story-telling, dance and food. We’ll take a boat ride through a Louisiana cypress swamp and look for alligators, herons, egrets and other wildlife.


March 27, Thursday

This morning, we will cruise down the river on a paddle wheeler, the Creole Queen, to Chalmette, the site of the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815.  Ed Bearss will describe this stunning American victory that was the last armed engagement between the U.S. and Great Britain. The anniversary of the battle was celebrated as a national holiday for many years.


We will learn about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras at a warehouse where Mardi Gras floats have been built for the past 40 years. We’ll see floats, costumes and enjoy a piece of King cake!


March 28, Friday  (L)

Today Ed Bearss will discuss the role of New Orleans in the Civil War.  One of the Union’s major goals was to seize control of the mouth of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy and capture New Orleans. We’ll drive seventy miles south of New Orleans to Fort Jackson. Here we will learn how Confederate-controlled Forts Jackson and St. Phillips fell after a 12-day bombardment by a U.S. Navy fleet commanded by Flag Officer David Farragut.


Return to New Orleans where we’ll have lunch at a cooking school situated in an 1830’s molasses warehouse in the French Quarter. A Cajun/Creole cook will demonstrate how to make New Orleans’ specialties like Jambalaya, Gumbo and Pralines with a side of history and trivia.  End the afternoon with a tour of Confederate Memorial Hall which houses one of the largest collections of Confederate memorabilia in the United States.


March 29, Saturday (D)

This morning, we’ll tour New Orleans and environs to learn about the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. We’ll see the site of the largest levee breach, new building projects including the Musician’s Village by Habitat for Humanity, and learn how levees, pumping stations and flood gates are an integral part of existence for this city below sea level.


We will spend the afternoon at the superb National World War II Museum. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum focuses on the American Experience of WWII.


We’ll toast our sojourn in NOLA at tonight’s farewell dinner.


March 30, Sunday   Individual departures from New Orleans.


Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, Edwin C. Bearss is an author, lecturer and America's foremost battlefield guide.  Ed's encyclopedic knowledge and unflagging energy is legendary; Ed brings history alive like no other.  Two of his recent books are Fields of Honor and Receding Tide:  Vicksburg and Gettysburg – The Campaigns that Changed the Civil War.

* Service of an Historian Guide: Ed Bearss is scheduled to lead this program
* Service of a Tour Manager: Marty Gane is scheduled to lead this program
* 6 nights hotel accommodations

* all admissions, excursions, and transportation
* two wine/beer welcome reception; 3 lunches, 2 dinners
* all taxes and gratuities; pre-trip notes, reading list and map book

Double Occupancy: $2,695 per person
Single Occupancy:  $3,295

Cost without hotel: $1,695

(NOTE: ALL costs are based on a minimum of 15 participants)