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New Years in New Orleans
Five days in New Orleans of Fun, Food and a Fantastic New Year’s Eve Party!
Stay 4-nights at the Astor Crowne Plaza Luxury Hotel, corner of Bourbon and Canal streets right in the French Quarter! Enjoy exciting tours of the Oak Alley Plantation and choice of the World War II Museum with a Pontoon Boat Bayou Tour or New Orleans School of Cooking with Mardi Gras World! You’ll enjoy great food, a fantastic New Year’s Eve Party and free time to enjoy the sites, sounds and flavors of this great city! Let the Good Times Roll!
Stay at the Astor Crowne Plaza
Occupying a storied circa-1852 building on the corner of Canal and Bourbon Streets, the Astor Crowne Plaza is a newly renovated New Orleans Hotel, Celebrating the French Quarter
This elegant hotel has warmly decorated rooms, a refined seafood restaurant, and a bar with wood-paneled walls, plus a gym, and an outdoor heated pool with views of Bourbon Street.
Just outside, you’ll enjoy a whirlwind of enchanting festivals, theater, music, cultural exhibits and culinary delights.
You’ll also enjoy close proximity to must-see attractions, such as French Quarter/Bourbon Street, Harrah’s Casino, Jackson Square, the Aquarium of the Americas, the Superdome and Riverwalk Shopping.
A professional, attentive concierge helps make your New Orleans experience productive, comfortable and fun.
(Image courtesy of: Astor Crowne Plaza)
Oak Alley Plantation
A NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
To be designated as a National Historic Landmark, you must be a nationally significant historic place in the USA, which has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior as having ‘exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.’ Less than 2,500 historic places are National Historic Landmarks. Oak Alley was designated in 1978.
“Hold fast to that which is good.”
Over the years, many wonderful and fascinating individuals have had a hand in shaping a dream for Oak Alley … some tried and won, some tried and lost, others just tried and gave up. Still, they all had one thing in common … they CARED enough to try.
A sugar plantation; an abandoned investment property; a cattle ranch; a landscape of defiance in the face of the Army Corps of Engineers–Oak Alley has been many things in its over 200 years of history. Today it is a historic site, dedicated to preserving and interpreting each chapter of this plantation’s memory.
When the Stewarts purchased the property in 1925, it was to be their home, a mere cattle ranch where Josephine could tend to her gardens adjacent to the antebellum mansion and ride horses through the vast acres of this historic plantation. But during her time living at the plantation, she saw a greater purpose for the plantation when it was no longer her home. In 1969, Josephine, with the assistance of her nephew, Zeb Mayhew, Sr., established a nonprofit foundation that would encompass the antebellum Big House and the immediate 25 historic acres, Oak Alley Plantation. The mission of the Foundation is to allow visitors from around the world to learn the history of the working sugarcane plantation and those who once resided here and to educate the public generally on a bygone era.
(Image courtesy of: Oak Alley Plantation)
The French Quarter is the city’s historic heart, famous for its vibrant nightlife and colorful buildings with cast-iron balconies. Crowd-pleasing Bourbon Street features jazz clubs, Cajun eateries and raucous bars serving potent cocktails. Quieter streets lead to the French Market, with gourmet food and local crafts, and to Jackson Square where street performers entertain in front of soaring St. Louis Cathedral.
Jackson Square is a historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, for its central role in the city’s history, and as the site where in 1803 Louisiana was made United States territory pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase. In 2012 the American Planning Association designated Jackson Square as one of America’s Great Public Spaces.
The French Market is a market and series of commercial buildings spanning six blocks in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Founded as a Native American trading post predating European colonization, the market is the oldest of its kind in the United States.
Bourbon Street is a historic street in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Extending thirteen blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, Bourbon Street is famous for its many bars with live entertainment.
National World War II Museum
Ranked by TripAdvisor as the #1 Attraction in New Orleans, named by USA Today as the #1 Best Place to Learn U.S. Military History, and designated by Congress as America’s official museum about World War II, The National WWII Museum features a rich collection of artifacts that bring history to life.
Discover the most impactful event of the 20th century and the legacy of the greatest generation in thought-provoking exhibits—including our newest exhibit, The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front—and explore the American experience in the war that changed the world. From D-Day galleries to the 4D cinematic experience, Beyond All Boundaries, from the soaring US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center to the ground-breaking Campaigns of Courage, this world-renowned history museum is designed to inspire visitors of all ages in the lessons of World War II and the stories of heroism, tragedy, and liberation.
Come on down to the bayou and explore acres upon acres of authentic Louisiana swamp property and waterways that will show you the true sideof New Orleans. Get up and personal with alligators and possibly even hold one on deck! Strap in, it’s one wild adventure!
Welcome to the Fun, Food & Folklore of the New Orleans School of Cooking! Since 1980, we have introduced countless visitors from around the world to the wonderful food and rich culture of New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. Our entertaining cooking classes and Louisiana General Store are located in a renovated molasses warehouse built in the early 1800s in the heart of the French Quarter.
We teach the basics of Louisiana Cooking in a way you’ll never forget. Fun is a primary ingredient in our kitchen! Our Cajun / Creole experts teach New Orleans specialties such as Gumbo, Jambalaya and Pralines, seasoning them with history, trivia and tall tales! Cook & eat an authentic Louisiana meal! In this highly interactive class, our guests actually cut, season and prepare a complete dinner with one of our expert chefs, and afterwards they are able to sit down and enjoy the meal they have just created.
Mardi Gras World
Come watch us build magnificent floats year-long! Learn history,try on costumes, meet our artists, and enjoy some of our famous King Cake!
How Bis is Mardi Gras?
It’s very big. The most recent season included 54 parades and featured 1,061 floats, 588 marching bands, and more than 135,000 participants. The combined parade routes covered 301 miles and the processions were on the street for 204 hours. In 2000, it was estimated that more than one billion dollars in spending was tied to Mardi Gras.
When is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is scheduled 47 days before Easter and can occur on any Tuesday from February 3rd to March 9th.
Were You Affected by Hurricane Katrina?
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World sustained severe wind damage. With the buildings still intact, including the many generators Kern Studios uses to provide electricity during parades, the 82nd Airborne, Red Cross, and Salvation Army eventually used Mardi Gras World as a base to help others more seriously affected.
Has Mardi Gras ever been cancelled?
Yes, but not often. Since 1857, only 13 Fat Tuesdays have been affected. Most cancellations were caused by wars:
Civil, WWI, WWII, and Korean.
What do the Colours mean?
Purple represents justice, green is for faith and gold signifies power. Rex, the first king of Carnival, selected them in 1872.
Is Mardi Gras a religious Holiday?
Technically, yes. Most people do not realize that New Orleans is a predominately Catholic City and that Mardi Gras is a celebration inspired by Catholic tradition and ideology. More than anything, Mardi Gras is an inclusive event for everyone which revels in life and love, family and friends, music and food. Together, we appreciate all the things that make life exciting and worth living, before some of us begin our 47 days of fasting and self-reflection, called Lent.
New Orleans is a city on the Mississippi River. Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties.
Located steps off of Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, Arnaud’s offers classic Creole Cuisine and exemplary service in beautifully restored turn of the century dining rooms. Since its inception in 1918, Arnaud’s has remained true to its traditions and courtesies.
Offering live Dixieland Jazz in the Jazz Bistro, romantic dinners in the Main Dining Room, cocktails in the award-winning French 75 Bar and an assortment of private French Quarter fine dining rooms, Arnaud’s offers the quintessential New Orleans dining experience.
In 1918, a colorful, French wine salesman named Arnaud Cazenave opened the grand New Orleans restaurant that bears his name with a commitment to serving quality Creole cuisine. Arnaud believed, quite simply, that the pursuit of the pleasures of the table is as worthy as anything else one chooses to pursue in life.
Sixty years later, in 1978, Arnaud’s was acquired by Archie and Jane Casbarian, the second family of proprietors the restaurant has ever known. Casbarian sought to return Arnaud’s to the roots from which it had strayed by both restoring the property and reinvigorating the cuisine. In so doing, Casbarian brought world renown and widespread acclaim to Arnaud’s.
Presently, Arnaud’s Restaurant is being operated by a fourth generation of owners, Katy and Archie Casbarian along with their mother Jane. They, too, remain committed to carrying on the traditions originated by Arnaud Cazenave. More importantly, they are committed to staying true to the vision of their father as the restaurant nears one hundred years of operation.
Airport transfers, 4 nights accommodation, 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners, all highlights listed, Tour Director, Connections Program and all taxes.
Prices are in Canadian dollars, are per person and include HST.
- Visit the Oak Alley Plantation
- WWII Museum and a Swamp Boat Tour
- New Orleans School of Cooking Demonstration and a visit to Mardi Gras World
Astor Crown Plaza (4 Nights)
Arrival in New Orleans
Airport transfers to the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel for the next four nights! A voucher is included tonight so you can enjoy a light dinner on your own.
Stay: Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel (4)
Plantation Tour and Gala New Year’s Eve Celebration!
Depart New Orleans for Oak Alley Plantation. A powerful testimony to the rich history of the antebellum south, Oak Alley invites visitors to explore all facets of her plantation past. The Slavery at Oak Alley and Civil War exhibits, Sugarcane Theater and Big House offer an experience as compelling as the plantation’s 25 historic acres and 300 year old alley of oaks. Enjoy a Southern Cajun/Creole buffet lunch in the plantations 19th century cottage. Experience a wonderful selection of traditional Cajun and Creole dishes. Not to worry ~ you’ll be back in plenty of time to relax and dress up for your New Year’s Eve Gala! A cocktail reception gets the evening rolling, followed by a scrumptious holiday dinner and an evening of music and dancing! You will be carried joyously into the New Year!
New Year’s Day
Start the year off with a leisurely New Year’s Day Brunch served until 11:00 AM! Today is yours to explore ‘the big easy’! There’s so much to do on your own; The French Quarter is a wonderful walk; take in Jackson Square and the street artists, the Historic French Market, walk down Bourbon Street, along the way don’t forget to look into the beautiful court yards like Pat O’Brian’s famous for their Hurricane cocktail! If you prefer, perhaps take an optional Hop-On-Hop-Off tour and choose any of 18 stops to visit for as long as you like! Dining is a passionate art form in New Orleans. Its restaurants and chefs are world-renowned and award-winning, so this evening dinner is on your own, your choice from fine dining to casual. New Orleans is also known as the birthplace of jazz, and it’s around every corner so explore, dine and enjoy!
Choose your adventure
Enjoy a delightful breakfast before heading off to your choice of one of two tour options;
Option 1: National WWII Museum & Pontoon Bayou Swamp Tour ~ telling the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learned plus the Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience places visitors aboard the most successful submarine in World War II for its fifth and final war patrol on October 25, 1944. Guests relive the last epic battle of the USS Tang and feel a deeper appreciation for the bravery and sacrifice of those who served in the intense, confined world of underwater warfare. Following the museum is an Pontoon Bayou Swamp tour ~ seeing ancient cypress trees, birds, snakes, alligators and other wildlife!
Option 2: New Orleans School of Cooking chef’s demonstration with lunch, plus a tour of Mardi Gras World! Watch, learn & eat! Sit back and enjoy watching New Orleans skilled, entertaining chefs as they prepare you a classic Cajun / Creole meal, while learning about the vibrant history of New Orleans cuisine! Following lunch you’re off to visit to Mardi Gras World. Learn the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, see the ‘float den’, where artists work year-round to build spectacular floats and props. You never get this close to the floats while they’re rolling in Mardi Gras parades, and this is certainly the only place to see how these amazing pieces come to life each year.
Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner at one of New Orleans finest ~ Arnaud’s Restaurant!
New Orleans to Home
Following breakfast you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
- Sunscreen is an essential product to have, regardless of the climate. Since UV exposure is unavoidable, a hat and sunglasses are also suggested for your protection, even in the winter.
- Mosquito repellent can prove useful in wooded areas or in the evenings in some regions.
- Comfort is important when on vacation. Bring comfortable walking shoes. And loose, casual clothing is suggested to keep you cozy.
- Pack extra batteries and memory cards for your camera.
- Always pack an extra jacket or sweater in case of inclement weather or cooler evenings. DeNureTours recommends you dress in layers, so you can add or remove layers if the temperature rises or drops.
- Use every corner, nook and cranny of your suitcase when packing. Rolled sweaters and bulky clothing occupy less space, but clothing that wrinkles easily should be laid flat. Roll socks or underclothing and pack them into shoes, and slip smaller items into side pockets.
- Use sample-sized toiletry items and always transport containers of creams and liquids in a sealed plastic bag.
- Keep an extra set of keys for your luggage.
- Always prepare for the possibility of rain. An umbrella, or rain jacket will easily fit in your luggage, and could prove to be the most useful article you pack. When travelling as a couple, bring two so neither person gets half wet.
- Pack your bathing suit.
- Pack a good book, or a deck of cards to keep you busy during free time.
- Leave items of monetary or sentimental value at home. Costume and faux jewelry always travels well.
- If you require corrective lenses, pack an extra pair of glasses or contacts.
- If you wear dentures, and have a second set, pack them just in case. You’d be surprised how often these important items end up where they shouldn’t.
- Not all hotel rooms are equipped with alarm clocks. While most hotels offer wake-up calls, a small travel alarm clock might prove useful.
- Couples travelling together may find it wise to split their belongings between two suitcases. If one suitcase should go missing, neither person is left without a change of clothes.
- Remember to pack any medications or prescriptions in your carry-on and not in your suitcase in case of emergency or luggage misplacement. Medications should be packed in their original containers for security reasons.
- Keep a listing of your recent medical history with you, including medications you currently take, prescription or otherwise, as well as allergies you suffer from, and any medical conditions you have. Carry the listing in your wallet, and leave a copy with your emergency contact person at home.
- Identify your luggage with an identification tag as well as your DeNureTours luggage tags.
- If you carry travellers’ cheques, record the numbers of the cheques and keep this list in a separate location. When travelling as a couple, put some cheques in your partner’s name so you both have access to funds.
- Always carry your travel insurance policy with you, and read it carefully before you leave.
- Always carry your passport, or other important identification on your person. Make a photocopy to keep in your suitcase.
- Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date. This is a requirement for entering certain countries.
- Always check the spelling of your name on all documentation you receive. Often, your travel documents must match your passport or birth certificate. It is imperative that your legal name be listed correctly on your documents. Failure to comply may result in your being denied entry to a country, or boarding on an airplane or cruise ship. Name changes on documents may be subject to a change fee.
- Use extra copies of your travel itinerary and hotel listing to distribute to friends or relatives, so you can be reached in case of emergency.
- Keep a log of your purchases, including what you paid in foreign currency and the equivalent in Canadian dollars. This will assist you in filling out customs forms. Keep all receipts.
- Secure your home before you leave. Arrange for a friend or neighbour to pick up mail and check in periodically. Have someone cut your lawn (or shovel your driveway) and care for your property. Set automatic timers on the lights and television. Empty the refrigerator of perishables. Lower your thermostat to save on energy.
- When flying, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and limit your intake of caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
- To avoid circulatory problems on a plane or coach, walk up the aisle every hour or so. Periodically, stretch your legs, arms, shoulders and neck.
- Arrive early for flights. DeNureTours recommends to check-in 90 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights, or 2-3 hours prior for international flights.
- An inflatable travel pillow can make you more comfortable on long coach rides or flights. The U-shaped pillow keeps your head from rolling during travel, reducing the risk of neck pain.
- Avoid the use of perfume or scented sprays on the coach or an airplane. These are confined spaces, so be courteous to your fellow travellers who may be allergic or sensitive to scents.
- Get as much rest as possible before you leave.
- Try your best to be flexible. Unexpected things can happen. Your holiday will be more enjoyable if you are open-minded.
Tips to waiters, taxi drivers, step-on guides, tour directors and drivers are a tangible way for you to express your appreciation for jobs well done. This practice, though customary, is voluntary and is not included in tour prices. As a guide to the amounts to tip, the following amounts are suggested:
- Taxi Drivers – Drivers should be tipped 10% of the taxi fare.
- Waiters – For meals that are not included in the tour price, tip waiters between 15% and 20% of your bill, but never less than $1.
- Tour Directors and Drivers – A gratuity of $4 per person per day is suggested.
The pace of a tour varies by itinerary, as each destination, its sightseeing and the activities are unique. Pacing is often subject to personal interpretation, but our trip pace indicator on each tour page may assist you in determining if a tour is suitable for you.
Day-by-day itinerary descriptions can be found on our website or requested from our office. Generally, the more activities included, distance travelled in a day, or number of hotel changes, will increase the pace of a tour.
Some of the most unique sightseeing is found in locations that can be a challenge for motorcoaches, especially in historic areas. For your comfort, we recommend packing walking shoes so you fully enjoy every aspect of your holiday.
Tours with the highest “On-the-go” ratings require a level of activity that is not suitable for those who use either walkers or wheelchairs. If a trip pace is not ideally suited for you, our reservations team will be happy to help you find your perfect vacation.