Springtime in New Orleans — the weather is getting warmer, the air is sweetened with the smell of crawfish boils and jasmine blooms, and, of course, the PRC is gearing up for its annual Shotgun House Tour. This year’s festivities, presented by Luzianne, will take place in the historic Faubourg St. John neighborhood on April 22 and 23. The vibrant, diverse neighborhood is filled with historic architecture, beautiful landscapes, and exciting things to do. If you plan on house-hopping with us this weekend, don’t forget to check out the other exciting features of this beautiful neighborhood!
Bayou St John
Bayou St. John, the serpentine waterway that runs through the neighborhood, is as steeped in history as it is picturesque. The bayou was vital to New Orleans during its early history, serving as a major shipping route between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Today, the only boats navigating the waters are canoes, kayaks, and the occasional inflatable inner tube (Bayou Boogaloo, anyone?), but the stately historic homes built along the banks are as beautiful as ever. A leisurely walk along the bayou and across its historic bridges is the perfect time to catch water views, gawk at beautiful architecture, and listen to your favorite sun-soaked spring playlist. Feeling a little more adventurous? Try testing out your sea legs on a paddling tour of the bayou!
Located on the banks of Bayou St. John, this 1799 home is the only Creole colonial country house in the city that is open to the public. The house museum, saved from demolition in the 1960s and painstakingly restored by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, is named for the first mayor of New Orleans who lived in the home from 1810-1819. Visit the site to take a tour and learn about life along the bayou during the early settlement of New Orleans. The house is open from 10am-3pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday.
This little park located in the heart of the neighborhood may not be large in scale, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with character. The wedge-shaped oasis off of Esplanade Avenue has lawn chairs and chessboards shaded by Live Oak trees, and is surrounded by charming shotgun houses and local businesses. The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association considers the pocket park their “living room” and invites tourgoers this weekend to come enjoy drinks in the park (provided by SoBou) to benefit the restoration of the Desmare Playground. Grilling Shilling will also be serving up BBQ on Saturday, and Diva Dawg will be serving up creole-style hotdogs on Sunday.
Santa Fe Restaurant
On the other side of Esplanade Ave. sits this Mexican eatery with a wraparound Spanish-tile-covered porch. Our tour headquarters for the weekend, Santa Fe will be offering 2-for-1 margaritas during the tour with a Shotgun House Tour ticket! Between touring homes, beat the heat under the shaded porch while sipping on a cool drink (or several, who are we to judge?) or take your frozen libations in a to-go cup and check out some of the other local businesses in the surrounding neighborhood.
Other Nearby Spots
How can we narrow it down? There are so many interesting businesses in the area to check out this weekend. Terranova’s Supermarket , a compact family-owned grocery, has been taking care of customers in the neighborhood since 1925. Their Italian sausages are among the best in the city. If wine is more your style than a margarita, Swirl Wine Bar has an incredible selection. Re-caffeinate at the cozy Fair Grinds Coffeehouse or treat yourself to a mani-pedi next door at Lux Salon. There are so many interesting restaurants, bars, and stores in close walking distance of one another. Get out there this weekend and go explore!