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Discover the French Quarter through the eyes of our tourism team. Our guides, mule groomers, tour sales reservationists, and everyone in between are a family who takes pride in our culture and giving back to the community. Check back often to get the latest in our New Orleans news!

Late Night Ghost Tours in New Orleans

Posted by Nancy Landry on December 09, 2017

The French Quarter in New Orleans is known for such captivating history and since it’s one of the oldest European settlements in the United States, this historic district is also quite known for many well known spirits of the past.

Ghost Tours in New Orleans have become a main attraction, and hundreds of visitors set out on tour each night, some with hopes that they’ll encounter something supernatural.

Walking Tours are the most affordable way to dive into the paranormal history of the French Quarter. With a licensed guide, a large group of 28 tourists are herded through the narrow streets, overhearing the spooky tales of long ago. The popular haunted locations are surrounded by hundreds of participants, but when the bell tolls 10:00 pm, city law states the all of these walking groups must end.

Late Night Ghost Tours in New Orleans

The only option remaining for Late Night Ghost Tours in New Orleans is to set forth on your paranormal adventure via carriage with one of the many expert guides at Royal Carriages. These haunted carriage tours are allowed to operate late into the night after the large walking tour groups have cleared the streets. With carriages that seat up to 8 passengers in each, its easy to hear your guide and the small group experience adds to the fright factor, so does the dark empty streets. Departing each night at 10:00 pm with limited availability, it's highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee your seat on the carriage for this tour. 

Late Night Ghost Tours in New Orleans Royal Carriages' History & Haunts Spooky Late Night Ghost Tour will highlight countless stories of death and tragedy that have unearth the restless ghosts of the French Quarter. Here's a sneak peak of what to expect:

Madame Delphine LaLaurie

Most know of this Creole woman from America Horror Story: Season 3, Coven, filmed in New Orleans just a few years ago. While the FX TV Show was horrifying, what actually happened inside this private residence on Royal Street was truly sadistic and terrifying. It's no wonder that this gorgeous 1830's home has sat unoccupied for over 100 years. The current owner, whom we've taken on a carriage ride on several occasions, seems to be in love with mystery of his haunted property, and only visits his French Quarter home a few times each year. Knowing that countless people underwent such odd medical experiments and torture, would you rest easy at night?

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau

Another famous woman in New Orleans history deserving of her story being told is Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen who lived on Saint Anne Street in the French Quarter. Voodoo, a primitive ancestry type worship originating in Africa, was banned in the Catholic colony of New Orleans, but this didn't stop the enslaved people from continuing their culture and traditions. Marie Laveau is credited with bringing voodoo to the mainstream, attracting the wealthy men and women to her doorstep requesting various spells and rituals to be casts. Her tomb, located in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, attracts more than 150,000 visitors each year. 

Pirate Jean Lafitte 

Fact and folklore intertwine with most of New Orleans most prominent people, which serves Jean Lafitte well. No one truly knew who he was, where he was from, or where he went, but we do know that he impacted New Orleans greatly in the early 1800s. This pirate was a businessman who smuggled any and everything into New Orleans to be sold. He was always on the run and was admired by many women and men for his charm, wit, and behavior. Lafitte actually encountered British Troops prior to their arrival in New Orleans and worked with Andrew Jackson to defend the city, which provided him and his many men with pardons, allowing them to escape into the swamps free of past crimes. 

Vampire Jacque St. Germaine

Womanizing, cultured, and refined, Jacque St. Germaine was a wealthy resident known for his extravagant parties of which the Creole people of the French Quarter truly loved more than anything. What was discovered in his home after one woman reported him for improper behavior was more than alarming, and brings us to believe that St. Germaine was one of the many vampires to live in New Orleans. There were many reportings of blood-sucking fiends before and after him, and the vampiric bloodlust community still exists today in the city, much like it does overseas. 

The Gardette-LaPrette House

A wealthy Turkish man, claiming to be royalty, rents this property from a plantation owner upon his ship's arrival to New Orleans in the 1830's. Immediately, the servants reinforce the locks on the property and add heavy drapery to all of the interior windows. After l

 

 

KJ's Story: How I Became a French Quarter Carriage Driver

Posted by Nancy Landry on October 30, 2017

I had the pleasure of meeting Robert French and Nancy Landry in January 2016 at the Delgado Community College, Sidney Collier Campus, which was hosting a hospitality job fair. Coincidentally, I was already enrolled in the barbering program there. But, I think it may have been destiny that I be employed at Royal Carriages! 

While we were talking, Robert and Nancy had me fill out an application. At the time, I could not envision myself driving a mule and sharing all the wonderful history of the French Quarter has to offer, but I was eager to work. 

French Quarter Carriage Driver & Tour Guide at Royal Carriages

Nancy called a few weeks later, asking that I come in for an interview with Royal Carriages General Manager James Lauga. The interview went well, and James conditionally hired me on the spot.  

I went through the screening process and took the necessary tests. I became a bona fide Royal Carriages employee in March and learned how to groom, harness, hitch up and drive a mule.

Royal Carriages French Quarter History Carriage Tours of New Orleans

It’s been a rewarding year and a half at Royal Carriages – I’ve been both a driver and supervisor. While working in both capacities, dealing with national and international tourists has been the best experience. Every time I share with them our city’s history, it reminds me all over again what makes New Orleans such a great place.

I’m still having a blast educating, entertaining and enjoying what I do.

- Kevin Joseph, Licensed Tour Guide and Carriage Driver 

According to TripAdvisor, what are passengers sayings about KJ?

 

"My best friend and I went on the Haunted Carriage ride. Our tour guide Kj was so informative and friendly! It was a very cool and different experience and definitely a must do when visiting the city. Kj treated Cloudy so good the entire time and was super careful and made sure of the surroundings. We would definitely do it again!!!!!"

 

"KJ and Dr. John were a mighty and dynamic duo. You can't do better than this for touring the French Quarter. KJ is an incredible narrator and gives excellent advice about things to do in NOLA. This carriage ride was easily the highlight of my adult life. I am forever changed."

 

"We had a great time on the tour! There were only three couples so it wasn't too crowded. My other half was hesitant at first but I pushed the idea and he was very happy I did because we had a blast! Our driver, KJ, is knowledgeable about the city and our mule, Pretty Boy, was quite entertaining. We would love to do the other tour, French Quarter History, the next time we visit to learn even more about the city."

 

"We took a ride on a whim, and so glad we did! Our host, KJ, was amazing! He was so knowledgeable and patient with all of our questions! He truly is proud of his hometown and wants to show it off! Our mule, Footloose even let us pet him when we were done! I recommend you seriously check this out!"

 

Carriage Transportation for Corporate Meetings, Events & Conferences in New Orleans

Posted by Nancy Landry on July 26, 2017

When planning a corporate meeting, event and/or conference in New Orleans, there is so much to consider, but don’t forget about transportation! Most events are held in the French Quarter and Central Business District and while these areas are very walkable we should keep in mind that these corporate meetings, events, and conferences are also a way for business professionals to enjoy their time visiting and exploring our great city. There are many different modes of transportation available for various budgets, but when you want to make a statement to your attendees, nothing will be more iconically New Orleans than a mule-drawn carriage.

Royal Carriages has serviced the French Quarter of New Orleans and surrounding areas for over 75 years. This veteran-owned company has a fleet of over 13 mule-drawn carriages with the ability to transport up to 75 guests at once. Royal Carriages is first and foremost a tour company, not a transportation company, so the transportation services we provide include licensed, professional, licensed tour guides as your carriage drivers, providing transfer from location to location while entertaining all passengers on board with the stories of New Orleans. It’s a fun way to travel through our city and the most authentic way to be introduced to our warm Southern hospitality. Everyone will remember their mule-drawn transportation in New Orleans for your event, and your corporate meeting, event and/or conference will not be forgotten either!

 

So instead of the standard mega-bus, consider the impact that carriage transportation will have on your corporate meeting, event, or conference!

 

Royal Carriages can provide mule-drawn carriage tours and transportation for the following:

  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Business Dinners
  • Client Meetings
  • Recognition
  • Holiday Parties
  • Charity Functions
  • Sponsorship
  • Client Appreciation
  • Workshops & Seminars
  • Happy Hours
  • Team Building
  • Press Conferences
  • VIP Events
  • Shareholders Meetings
  • Incentive Events
  • Executive Retreats

If you would like to discuss carriage transportation options for your corporate meeting, event, or conference, call Nancy at 504-943-8820! 

5 Reasons Why A Carriage Tour is the Best Way to Discover New Orleans

Posted by Nancy Landry on July 08, 2017

New Orleans is a city unlike any other. We are lovingly referred to as "The Northernmost Part of the Carribean" due to our sub-tropical vibes, and sometimes people even compare New Orleans to The Disneyland (for adults)! With so much to see and do, it can be pretty overwhelming as a first-time visitor but have no fear, Royal Carriages is here to discuss 5 Reasons Why A Carriage Tour is the Best Way to See New Orleans! 

Learning the lay of the land is important when visiting New Orleans. It's a pretty big...but also a pretty small city. It's an extremely walkable place to visit but you should always look where you step since there are lots of uneven sidewalks and of puddles (that's what you get for putting a 300-year-old city in the swamp). Most of your time will be spent exploring the French Quarter, which is the main historic district and original part of this old city. The French Quarter, approximately 1-mile wide and 1/2-mile deep, has endless bars, restaurants, and boutiques. There is also quite a few free museums and hidden gems that are extremely easy to miss, especially if all of your time is spent bellied up at one of the local bars on Bourbon Street.

Local businesses in New Orleans offer more than enough ways to explore the French Quarter and surrounding areas, but by far the most common tours are 1) Bus Tours, 2) Walking Tours, and 3) Carriage Tours. Now, bus tours and walking tours are available in most every city! There isn’t anything unique or special about that! Few cities across America have carriages, but most provide just rides and transportation. Only a few carriage companies combine the ride with a fantastic tour, and this is something that we do extremely well in New Orleans. Keep reading to see just why!

Large Tour Buses are actually only allowed on certain streets in the French Quarter, and basically only provide hotel-pick-up services. Once seated inside the tour bus, it’s pretty hard to look out of the window and embrace that beautiful architecture, the sounds of the street performers, and the smell of roasted garlic rolling out of the restaurants. Plus, what if you get a guide who talks over the intercom like Ben Stein, the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller?!”

Walking Tours of the area give you the opportunity to experience just that, however, imagine what it’s like to walk on narrow sidewalks with a group of 28 various travelers for two hours. It can get pretty crowded and distracting, not to mention the fact that you’re going to go crazy just standing around certain areas for so long. Some people in the group walk fast, some walk slow, and you are stuck in the middle of it all. Walking Tours are really challenging for tour guides and typically refer to the experience as to “herding cats!”

So, why are carriage tours the best way to see New Orleans?

  1. Carriage Tours with Royal Carriages combine authentic mule-drawn carriage rides of the historic French Quarter District with professional tour guides who are energetic and passionate about sharing the story of New Orleans with its many visitors! These guides are top-rated by thousands of TripAdvisor Members!
  2. Unlike tour buses, our carriages can roll wherever they please, and frequently visit areas outside of the French Quarter that just aren’t obtainable with a walking or bus tour. Our carriage passengers usually feel like we are giving them a little lagniappe (that means something extra in Creole) when we tour them the various Creole Neighborhoods outside of the Quarter like the Faubourg Marigny or Treme, home of jazz music! You’ll get to see “where the locals go” for live music and see so many more colorful Creole cottages and shotgun homes! It’s truly incredible how much you can see in just 1-hour with Royal Carriages.
  3. Our larger mule-drawn carriages seat between 6-8 passengers in each, ensuring that you won’t get lost in the crowd since it’s more of an intimate small-group experience. No microphones are needed since all carriage passengers are within 6 feet of the carriage driver who speaks loud enough for everyone to hear. Passengers have the opportunity to have conversations with the tour guide, asking various questions that may help him or her better understand the topic of discussion. At the end of the ride, most carriage passengers feel as if their tour guide is now their New Orleans’ friend! You are always welcomed to come back and find us, and we can continue answering questions and give you fantastic tips and suggestions! Royal Carriages is always eager to please!
  4. In just 30-minutes, our carriages cover more ground and more information than a 2-hour walking tour! It’s true! Our 1-hour specialty carriage tours are basically combining 4-hours of walking tours into a 1-hour mule-drawn adventure of the historic downtown, without having to walk! Let’s face it when on vacation, time and money are precious! It’s best to spend both wisely. 
  5. Lastly, you’re not walking or standing around in one single area for an extended period of time!  You know how it feels to be standing in a large group with someone speaking at your for a long time…your feet and legs get tired, your mind gets’s distracted, and you start playing on your PHONE! The carriage helps solve all of those problems! As the carriage slowly rolls past all of these amazing historic restaurants and businesses, you’ll be learning exactly why they are so important to the city of New Orleans and its history, all while seated comfortably on a carriage and supporting a 75-year-old family-owned business that employs and cares for over 68 precious carriage mules! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take great photos and videos. You may have so much fun that you forget to pull out your phone all together! Our goal at Royal Carriages is to help you time-travel back to the good old days! 

We hope you that you've enjoyed reading our 5 Reasons Why A Carriage Tour is the Best Way to Discover New Orleans!  We hope this has made you so excited to book with us!! If you have any questions, don't be afraid to give us a call at 504-943-8820! 

Why Mules?

Posted by Nancy Landry on July 07, 2017

All throughout the day and night, when the carriages are lined up at Jackson Square waiting for riders, the drivers frequently hear passerbys argue whether or not the animals pulling the carriages are horses or donkeys. Most are incredibly shocked to hear that the animals are neither horses or donkeys, but a blend of both animals. Most people have no idea that mules even exist, which is CRAZY because they are so important to humans and our history!


What is a Mule?
A Mule is the offspring of a donkey and a horse (strictly, a male donkey and a female horse), and are typically sterile. The only way Mules exist is because people began breeding these two species together ages ago, but why?


Why Mules?

  • As it turns out, Mules are actually one of the hardiest animals on the Earth, known to be smarter, stronger, and more surefooted that their horse-counterpart. That in itself is amazing! Don’t you agree?
  • Mules also have much thicker skin and denser muscles than either of their parents, meaning they are largely unaffected by biting or stinging insects!
  • Mules can out-perform both of their parent in almost every field that makes them useful! One specific category that mules won’t exceed in though is speed! We’ll leave that one to the horses!
  • Mules are extremely well-adapted for desert travel! We can thank their desert-dwelling donkey fathers for this one! They are more resistant to extreme temperatures and can survive far longer without a drink than either parent animal. Mules are very much like the camels of the equine world in many ways!


Mule-Drawn Carriages in New Orleans
Royal Carriages in New Orleans, Louisiana began in 1941, using a mixture of both mules and horses for the first 30-years. In the 1970’s, Mr. Jimmy Lauga visited The Reese Brothers at their farm in Gallatin, Tennessee. Mr. Lauga was more than impressed with the quality and care of these extremely large Belgium draft mules. He soon replaced his entire herd with mules instead of horses, and it’s been that way ever since!
Years later in the 1980’s, Mr. Lauga and Dr. Beirhman DVM worked with the City of New Orleans to establish the current laws and regulations regarding the commercial carriage industry that are still in effect to this day. Together, they fought for the use of mules over horses, and to this day, all of the various animal-drawn carriages that you see in the French Quarter are all pulled by these amazing hybrid animals!

Royal Carriages currently employ 68 working carriage mules! Why so many? Our 75-year-old family-owned business is actually one of the largest commercial carriage operators in the United States and we employ about 25 professional, licensed carriage driving tour guides! ...and it’s totally true, we treat our mules better than we treat our drivers! While our carriage drivers receive just about 2 weeks of vacation each year (which is pretty standard amongst most employers), each of our Royal Carriage mules receives 3-6 months of vacation on one of our farms, plus paid healthcare, dental, housing, food, shoes...you name it, they got it!

A Day in the Life of a Carriage Mule
Early in the morning, before the sun rises over the city, our stable crew is hard at work making sure the mules receive their feed on time each day! It’s a fun thing to experience, seeing these mules run around in circles as they are just excited as pet dogs are to eat! The mules are given ample time to eat their fill and digest their food before the carriage drivers arrive hours later. Once the carriage drivers arrive, each driver retrieves it’s mule, providing that mule a nice soapy bubble bath. Bathtime and grooming provide the mule and the driver the opportunity to bond with one another prior to their day of work. After a driver has harnessed it’s mule, staff members assist one another with putting the mule to the carriage, and then the driver and mule are off to work! In New Orleans, an average shift is about 7 hours long.

Throughout the 7-hour shift, carriage drivers and mules do an average of 2-5 hours of actual tours, totaling anywhere between 8-15 miles of moderate exercise and. Mules also work NO MORE than 5 days each week, and absolutely cannot work a night shift followed by a day shift! These are examples of our city regulations which we are more than grateful for. At Royal Carriages, our mules work in the city between 6-9 months each year, receiving an immediate 3-6 months of pasture vacation. This rotation provides mules a lot of time to enjoy both work and muleling around!

After 7 hours out of the stable, the mule-drawn carriages return to the stable, where other mules and drivers are ready to begin their night! Worked mules are rinsed and brought back to their large box stalls where both hay and grain are waiting for them! No matter how hard these giants work, they always skip the water and head straight for that sweet feed! Some of them like to roll around, covering themselves with dirt and shavings immediately after work! This is typical mule behavior! They do love to roll! 

Well, well, well, we hoped you learned a little bit about our mules!
They are indeed incredible animals and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with mules and share them with the public each and every day!

If you are a fan of these long-eared lovers like we are, we’d love to meet you! Consider making a visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, and let us show you around! We have so many tour options to choose from, including tours of our stable where visitors can meet, pet, and learn about our mules a little bit more!

From our family to yours, thank you for reading and sharing our story!
 

Michelle and BoJo were the best! Can't wait to book our next ride. The private carriage ride is well worth the money. Michelle gave us a great history lesson and was entertaining as well. Oh, and she answered all of our questions as they came up. She also slowed down in areas of interest so we could take pictures. Also, don't forget to tip your guides! These guides are patient and professional. They deserve your gratitude.

Facebook: Amy Scheffel

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