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Spend All Hallow’s Eve in Historically Ghostly New Orleans!

Halloween is on a Friday night this year; that means all the ghouls and goblins and silly witches will be thronging the streets of New Orleans looking for a spooky home.  Stay in the historically ghostly Garden District this year; the Grand Victorian is the perfect place to rest after experiencing Halloween in New Orleans!

New Orleans Witches Ball masquerade

Witches Ball masquerade

Within walking distance of our Garden District bed and breakfast is the New Orleans Witches Ball presents La Grand Danse Macabre.  Put on your best witchy costume and spend the evening enjoying food, drink, music, contests and prizes, ritual, and revelry!

The Voodoo Music Experience in City Park is just a streetcar ride away and features headliners  Foo Fighters, Krillex, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Big Freedia, Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, the Soul Rebels and more.

Take haunted tours of the French Quarter at night or a haunting and hilarious ghost tour by Friends of the Cabildo with ghost “sightings” in building and courtyards.  Or if that’s too scary,  daytime tours of one of the world-famous above ground cemeteries are a few blocks walk from the Grand Victorian.  There is also a tour geared to kids,  French Quartour Kids will explore why this All Hallow’s Eve became popular and how it has evolved over the years.

Also for young or young at heart, the annual Boo Carre Halloween & Harvest Festival on October 19 in the French Market District will include miniature golf, a photo booth, Halloween crafts, a costume contest, pumpkin painting and much more.

halloween in new orleans

St. Alphonsus Church hosts the Vampire Lestat Fan Club
photo by Enigma Arts

Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club holds its annual Undead Conference with four days of events including  Supernatural Author Panels, book signings, and The Lestat Ball.

Jazz in the Park concert series presents Rebirth Brass Band along with Kermit Ruffins to Armstrong Park. Along with providing great music, Jazz in the Park also features a second line parade, a kids play area and food and crafts from local vendors.

New Orleans Museum of Art will host an outdoor screening of Rosemary’s Baby on October 18 at 7 p.m. in NOMA’s Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

There is something spooky for everyone.  Enjoy the feasts and the shows and then rest up with us for the next day’s activities.  Book now to reserve your spot in America’s best city for Halloween – New Orleans!

 

Top 5 Things To Do in the Garden District

Garden District

Grand Victorian looks extra grand at night

Tradition, opulence and beauty.  We have it all here in New Orleans’ historic Garden District.  The Grand Victorian sits among the best of 18th century mansions, delightful gardens and an abundance of old world charm in one of the country’s most lovely neighborhoods.

The Garden District was created after the Louisiana Purchase as a neighborhood for new American residents eager to display their wealth by building lavish homes on generous plots of land.  Get a peaceful break from the more touristy areas of New Orleans in this neighborhood that is in bloom 12 months a year.

From the staff at the Grand Victorian, here is our Top 5 list of things to do in the Garden District:

1.  Dine at Commander’s Palace

Always on our list and everyone else’s list is the classy upscale restaurant less than 2 blocks walk from the Grand Victorian.  The secret is to go for lunch and 25 cent martinis or Jazz brunch on the weekends.  Be sure to make your reservation early.

Lafayette Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery

2.  Tour the Historic Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery #1 is one of the most well kept of the cemeteries open for tours in the city.  It is across the street from Commander’s Palace.  You can walk around on your own or take one of the free or paid tours from the local certified tour guides.

3.  View the Neighborhood Architecture

Take a slow walking tour of the architecture and gardens of the beautiful and majestic homes.  You can pick up a tour without a reservation mid-morning or early afternoon at the Garden District Bookshop or ask our staff to print the self-guided tour for you to go at your own pace.

Magazine Street Shopping

Magazine Street Shopping

4.  Shop and Eat on Magazine Street

Featuring casual restaurants of every variety, antiques, dessert shops,  jewelry stores, funky gifts shops, and anything you might want, Magazine Street is a six block walk from the Grand Victorian.  This neighborhood shopping mecca runs for a few miles, so you may want to get a bus pass to hit everything on your list.

5.  Take an Anne Rice-inspired walk

If you’re a fan of our native Gothic fiction writer, many of the places that inspired Anne Rice like the Keyhole Door at 1239 First Street as well as some of her previous homes can be found in the Garden District.

 

Don’t forget to sleep in the Garden District with your favorite New Orleans B&B, the Grand Victorian.  A short streetcar ride away from the French Quarter, you’ll never want to stay anywhere else when you come to New Orleans.  Check out our end of summer special deals today!

Top 5 Myths about Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

new orleans bed and breakfast

Make a new travel resolution!

A bed and breakfast or a New Orleans hotel? That is the question. Is more travel on your New Year’s Resolution list?  This year, add trying a Bed and Breakfast to your travels!  You might have considered skipping the bed and breakfast experience because you think it’s not for you.  Check out these Top 5 Myths about Staying at a B&B to see if a New Orleans bed and breakfast might be in your future for 2014 or 2015.

1.   Too many lace doilies 

We’re not all antiques and patchwork quilts.  More inns these days have a clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities.  Victorian homes like ours often feature rooms that appeal to different tastes.  (Our Evergreen Room might be just right for you.)

2.   You have to share a bathroom with other guests.

The majority of inns offer private bathrooms.  (All rooms at our New Orleans B&B have their own bathroom with shower, hair dryer, special soaps and other amenities.)

new orleans bed and breakfast

Who could say no to fresh breakfast?

3.   You have to eat a specific breakfast with total strangers at a specific time.

Many inns offer guests a variety of choices of breakfast or brunch as well as meeting needs for special diets or food allergies.  (You can take advantage of our continental plus breakfast anytime between 8:30 and 10:30am, and we are glad to offer gluten-free, sugar-free or vegan items if you’ll let us know ahead of time!)

4.   You have to be home at a certain time.

Guests are almost always given keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing them with the flexibility to come and go as they please.  (All Grand Victorian room keys also open the front door to our New Orleans bed and breakfast.)

5.   B&Bs are only for couples and prohibit children and pets

Many inns offer family units with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a number of inns offer pet friendly rooms as well.  (While the Grand Victorian is not the best option for the youngest family members; our New Orleans bed and breakfast easily accommodate older children with roll away cots, kid-friendly snack items all day, and free wireless internet.  We also have a new pet resort spa just down the street if you want to bring your furry family member along.)

We hope we have debunked some of the myths surrounding life at the bed and breakfast inn, and you come to the Grand Victorian for your inaugural visit.   Check out our rooms and specials pages for the one that is just right for you!

 

Holiday Home Tours, Concerts and More make New Orleans Your Place of Joy

The holiday events near our New Orleans bed and breakfast just keep rolling with 85 events listed, 50 of which are free, and many great specials still available to make your holiday a festive one.

Take a peek into quiet courtyards in the French Quarter, conveniently located near our bed and breakfast in the Garden District, and private homes in the Garden District with these holiday home tours:  The Preservation Resource Center hosts its eagerly awaited 38th annual Garden District Tours, December 14 and 15.  The Grand Victorian is proud to welcome the tour fans to our neighborhood each year.  The residents of the French Quarter open their garden gates on December 22 with the Patio Planters self-guided walking tour.

new orleans bed and breakfast holiday events

Cathedral Concerts Holiday Series

St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States, hosts free concerts until Christmas Eve, featuring New Orleans’ best in jazz, gospel and classical holiday music.  Just outside St. Louis Cathedral you’ll find a decades old tradition of Caroling in Jackson Square.  It is a truly moving holiday tradition beloved by locals and visitors held by candlelight on the Sunday before Christmas.  December 22, 7pm.

Also moving, but in a slightly different way is the annual festival and pub crawl, Running of the Santas.  An anticipated 4,000 costumed revelers will jingle their way around the business district on December 14.

new orleans bed and breakfast events

Running of the Santas pub crawl on Dec 14

Finally, add a new tradition to your holiday experience.  On Christmas Eve, take a drive along the Mississippi River west of the city to view the bonfires that light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Papa Noel special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast for your last minute getaway to the city that helps you “Follow Your Joy” this holiday season!

New Orleans is your home for history and tradition this holiday season

The National Geographic Traveler lists New Orleans as one of the Best Trips of 2014.  They mention our hot summer months as the time to come for hotel deals in New Orleans, but we know that December is also a great time to visit our city for fun activities and holiday specials.

While we may not have snow in New Orleans, there are many places that twinkle with lights and fun activities to fill your December days and nights.  Our favorite  is Celebration in the Oaks in City Park.

New Orleans Holiday activities

Cajun Night Before Christmas light display at City Park Celebration in the Oaks

It opens November 29 and runs through the holiday season.   City Park’s oak trees are covered in hundreds of thousands of white lights amid extravagant, detailed light displays across 13 acres.  There are musical events and entertainment ranging from children’s choirs and bands to Irish dancing.

The new light display opening this year is Christmas in the District.  Launching November 30 along the Convention Center is an incredible ribbon of lights and spectacular displays synchronized to New Orleans Christmas music.

 

New Orleans holiday shopping

Modern Market on Magazine Street nominated as 2013 “Retail Star to Watch”

New Orleans consistently rates high among travel writers and travel magazine readers as a great city for shopping.  In and around the French Quarter you can find everything from original artwork and grand antiques to handcrafted voodoo dolls.  On the edge of the quarter, the French Market is the oldest public market in the country and is the best place to find regional food items, local music cds, and gifts for every family member back home.

Running through our Garden District neighborhood, where our New Orleans bed and breakfast is located, is  the world-renowned Magazine Street.  Six miles of some of the best antique stores, art galleries, craft shops and classy boutiques to be found anywhere in the city.  During the month of December, the stores have extended hours, holiday decorations, and hold special sales and events to celebrate the Merriment of the Holiday Season.

New Orleans holiday dining

“Wake up” to a holiday feast at your favorite restaurant!

Reveillon Dinners are a Creole tradition from the 1800’s to “wake up” with a dinner following midnight mass.   This holiday convention has been transformed in restaurants that serve sumptuous holiday feasts at incredible rates.

Currently 34 restaurants are offering 4-course meals starting at $34.00, including our neighborhood restaurants:  Commander’s Palace, Upperline, Brigtsen’s and Martinque Bistro.  Christmas New Orleans Style also lists which restaurants are open on Christmas and New Years.

 

Check with us next week for information on holiday home tours, Christmas concerts, bonfires to light the way and more.  Check out our New Orleans bed and breakfast special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast today for your chance to stay in this historic city this holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep Small with Us

November 30 is Small Business Saturday for American Express card owners. Small businesses are the building blocks of a neighborhood, and we have been a pillar Garden District lodging destination for 15 years.  Get $10 from American Express when you stay at the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast.

garden district lodging near shopping

Shop small near our Garden District Lodging.

Make your reservation today for the November 30 weekend.  Then, starting November 24, you must register your American Express card  to take advantage of the offer.

Sleep small with the Grand Victorian, the best choice for Garden District Lodging. We help make the Garden District neighborhood your neighborhood.

 

 

New Christmas Season Events in New Orleans

If you’re planning ahead, the month of December has always been a magical and economical time to visit the city of New Orleans with a stay in our Garden District Lodging, the Grand Victorian.  Now a new family-friendly event offers another opportunity to get into the holiday spirit.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center near the French Quarter and the Arts District will feature  “New Orleans Christmas in the District,” a series of holiday-themed large-scale light displays celebrating the culture and history of New Orleans.  Over 70 trees will be lit up in festive holiday colors with unique sparkling lights installed at the tops of many of the palm trees, creating a one-of-a-kind holiday environment.

garden district lodging

Tons of fun near our Garden District Lodging!

The display will include a unique digital Christmas tree, thousands of channels of lights that dance to the music and strobe lights that will surprise and delight visitors at just the right moments during the show.

garden district lodging

Garden District Lodging near festivities!

New Orleans Christmas in the District begins Saturday, November 30, 2013, and runs nightly through January 6, 2014, and is free and open to the public.

Check back at our Garden District Lodging to learn more about holiday events in the city.  The Christmas in New Orleans guidebook is due out soon.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our New Orleans Lodging weeknight special going on right now.  Buy two weeknights and get the third weeknight absolutely free!

 

 

New Plantation Art for your Grand Victorian Room!

Our New Orleans bed and breakfast, the Grand Victorian, is excited to announce it has commissioned 8 new paintings, from acclaimed Louisiana artist Henry Watson.

Henry Watson  photo by Bill Feig, Morning Advocate

Henry Watson
photo by Bill Feig, Morning Advocate

Innkeeper Bonnie met the artist recently at the Louisiana Tourism Summit in Baton Rouge. It is a forum that brings all things Louisiana together in one place annually.  She says,

When I first saw the detail in Henry’s work, I thought he had simply painted his subjects on old cypress. It wasn’t until I looked more closely that I noticed that everything was carved first and then accented with colorful paint.  I got to meet him and learned that he was a warm, out-going, interesting and uniquely Louisiana man who creates one-of-a-kind artwork that is as individual as the man himself.  After hearing him speak about everything that is on his nearby horizon, I knew immediately that I needed to have his work in my house.  When I created the Grand Victorian, I named every room after my favorite Louisiana plantations and have always dreamed of having each plantation represented in the form of a unique piece of art. Soon I’ll be able to say “It’s a Watson!”

Each of our guest rooms will boast a special bas-relief painting of the plantation for which it is named:  Rosedown, Oak Alley, Greenwood, Magnolia, The Shadows, Evergreen, Destrehan and Nottoway.

The paintings are three dimensional carvings done on 100 year old cypress wood reclaimed by the artist.  Watson looks for old buildings, researches to discover who owns the property and how old it is, buys it, then tears down the buildings himself to use the wood.

Henry Watson Paintings in our New Orleans Inn

Watson’s studio is located just outside of New Roads in a 150 year old slave house near scenic False River.  His art is drawn from stories told to him by his grandmother and history of the deep south.

We can’t wait to add a piece of local artistry to your Grand Victorian experience!  Choose your favorite plantation room today!

Get Your Green on for St. Patrick’s Day in the Garden District!

In the city that celebrates, it won’t be too long before the beat of  drums and marching feet resonate on the streets with more parades and celebrations.

Guests enjoy front porch view of St. Patrick's Day

Guests enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Parade

There are several St. Patrick’s Day parades that feature walking groups dressed in costumes of green who give out flowers, beads, and kisses to lucky parade goers along the route.  The floats that follow the walkers throw beads plus the more infamous cabbages, carrots, onions…and moonpies!   The Irish Channel parade on Saturday, March 16 passes directly in front of the Grand Victorian.

One of the marching club members decked out in green

One of the marching club members decked out in green

New this year, the annual Parasol Block Party in the Irish Channel has been extended to a 3 day celebration!

On March 19, our city’s Sicilian heritage is celebrated on St.  Joseph’s Day with elaborate altars in Catholic churches and private homes in honor of this saint who provided relief during a famine in Sicily.

Altar at Innkeeper Bonnie's family's home

Altar at Innkeeper Bonnie’s family’s home

St. Joseph’s Day has also been adopted as an important day for the Mardi Gras Indians, an African-American tradition unique to New Orleans. The Super Sunday Mardi Gras Indian parade on the Sunday nearest St. Joseph’s Day is the one time of year all of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes come together to show off their new suits.  Original costumes are created every year and can weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.

Intricate hand-beaded suits walk the streets on Super Sunday!

Intricate hand-beaded suits walk the streets on Super Sunday!

 

We still have a few rooms left for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  You’ll get a front porch view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade from the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast, and you’re a streetcar away from the French Quarter and Super Sunday events.   Hope to see you on the streets!

BBC Travel Article Goes Beyond the French Quarter

We agree with the BBC Travel Section article New Orleans Outside the French Quarter that the best places to experience the city go past the usual tourist boundaries. The writer features neighborhoods such as Faubourg Marigny, Frenchman Street, Bywater, Warehouse District, Treme and our own Garden District…

Excerpt:

Hop on the historic St Charles Avenue Street Car, which threads through the centre of the Warehouse District, and stay on the line until you reach the elegant Garden District, a neighbourhood that emerged largely unscathed from the storm.

Set up in the 1830s as a residential area for those who did not want to associate with the Europeans living in the French Quarter, the land parcels were large, the money used to fund the buildings was new, and each white-columned mansion was built to outdo the one before it. Framed by pristine gardens, a picture-perfect Southern neighbourhood was created.

 

So, take their advice, hop on the historic St. Charles Avenue Street Car and head to the Grand Victorian for your elegant weekend in the Garden District.