Mule-drawn carriages are a common tourist attraction carrying visitors around New Orleans. But for hundreds of years, horse-drawn carriages were the only transportation around the tight streets and alleys of the French Quarters.
Since 1980, New Orleans has banned the use of horse-drawn carriages, opting instead to allow the use of mules. The mules were deemed better able to handle the work load and summer heat.
Of course, a carriage ride through the French Quarter is a tourist cliche, but there’s no denying the romance of the conveyance. The carriage drivers tell historical and ghost stories, making the scenery come alive around the French Quarters, from the haunted house of La Laurie Mansion to the architectural details of buildings throughout the area.
If you want to know the residence of celebrities such as Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Cage or Johnny Depp, your carriage tour guide will know the precise spots. Other perks include stopping by key bars to grab a Hurricane or Pimm’s Cup libation.
- Driver can talk and navigate the mule horse throughout the streets of the French Quarters
- Information about the behind-the-scenes squabbles of restaurant owners, myths and history
- Driver’s favorite restaurants and those of the locals
- Mules love the carrots at the end of the ride. It’s also the perfect photo opportunity.
If not negotiated, it will probably take 30 minutes. If plan ahead of time, your carriage driver will acquiesce to simple requests on specific routes throughout the French Quarters.
Rides are starting between $15 to $18 for 30 minutes for a couple. Additional riders can add up to $10 per person. Most carriage can only carry up to six people at one time. Visitors have shared paying up to $75 when prices were not agreed upon before hopping on the carriage.
Ed Matthew, (504) 250-3635 [Carriage tour guide]
Tamara Neal & Thomas Cook,
Owners of Witches Brew Tours, LLC
(504) 413-3120, (504) 220-4291
Tip #1: Tip your carriage driver well. He will share best-kept secrets for restaurants and additional attractions.
Tip #2: Don’t forget your camera shot with the horse and carriage.
Tip #3: If Ed is unavailable, grab a carriage from any of the operators sitting in front of Jackson Square. For about 30 minutes, costs will start about $15 but negotiate before hopping onto the carriage to set the price.
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