Are you ready to spice up your next stay in New Orleans? The Parisian Courtyard Inn in New Orleans’ famed Garden District may be the answer. One of the oldest buildings in New Orleans, this home was built by Rufus McIlhenny of the Tabasco family business. Flavorful red Tabasco sauce is as common as salt or pepper on many southern dining tables.
Upon arrival, parking was no bother at all, with designated parking spaces directly in front of the columned two-story home. Free parking and no permits required. Trust me, that is special in New Orleans.
The gated courtyard is lush with greenery. I approach the inn’s main entry and step onto the columned porch with a classic overhead portico. An after-hours intercom is right beside the door, which is always convenient for B&B accommodations. Our host, Kim Arteaga, was awaiting our arrival and welcomed us inside immediately. I enter a stretching foyer, beside and parallel to, the classic double parlors. History and legends surround me. The entry hallway has a museum-like quality. Family history, cultural icons, antique linens, and a library of local-author books are on display. Mardi Gras masks and modern day touches bring the décor into the present day.
The grand curved mahogany staircase is similar to the 1850 House staircase in the French Quarter’s Pontalba Buildings, which makes sense in this 1846 mansion structure. Hardwood floors and other natural woodwork are lovingly restored to the grandeur of a time when home construction was a work of art.
Settling In at the Parisian Courtyard Inn
Our room is upstairs on the second level. The woodwork of the bed frame, the chifferobe, and drop-leaf table are similar and all exquisite. The table provides ample space for checking email and writing, then folds away quickly to restore the room’s open space. Private controls for the air conditioning were a big plus on this sultry New Orleans weekend.
The Street Car
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau office is only two blocks from the hotel, at the intersection of St. Andrew Street and St. Charles Avenue. The nearby Walgreens® store sells the Jazzy Pass for easy transfers on the public transportation system throughout the city. Almost every trip to New Orleans includes a relaxing, romantic, ride on the green St. Charles Streetcar. This weekend was no exception. We reminisce and contemplate the twists and turns of life’s directions while watching a complex filigree of Spanish moss swinging with the breezes among the century-old oak trees.
St. Charles Avenue offers an abundant selection of highly acclaimed restaurants. Slice Pizzeria (1513 St. Charles Avenue) was active but not overcrowded in the early evening hours. The food is remarkably fresh and served piping hot. Vegan and gluten-free options are available along with soups, salads or lasagna on the diverse menu. After enjoying appetizers and pizza, we asked to continue our evening outdoors at the sidewalk patio table. The staff assisted us graciously, moving our backpacks, cameras and wine glasses to the outdoor restaurant space.
Back at the Parisian Courtyard Inn, we settled into the double parlor with an evening of knitting. The other guests returned to the inn, joining us and sharing stories of the day’s adventures.
The complimentary morning buffet includes a hot breakfast along with bread, cereal, yogurt, coffee and assorted juices, and time to visit with other guests. Southern hospitality oozes from the walls of this place and must be contagious since every guest engaged in delightful social conversation. The furnishings were all meticulously chosen to reflect a bygone era of New Orleans.
Free Tours by Foot: New Orleans Style
Always curious, we registered for a walk with the Free Tours by Foot team. The tour group met at Lafayette Cemetery #1, in the heart of the Garden District and near Commander’s Palace. This cemetery has been active 1833, with above ground crypts and family tombs. The cemetery website estimates 7,000 burials in this historic city block.
The tour group meandered among the residential streets of the Garden District. With our knowledgeable guide, we sought out the homes of the rich and famous – Anne Rice, Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Archie Manning, and others. This sophisticated casual residential district welcomes newcomers and is an oasis from the hectic life beyond its borders.
After the walking tour, John and I continued walking and soon arrived at the Magazine Street shopping district. Lunch and shopping, along with more walking, was a full day in the city. Back at the Parisian Courtyard Inn, my mind at ease, my soul refreshed, I found a comfortable spot in the double parlors. Knitting needles and yarn in hand, I finished off my weekend getaway, enjoying the steady rhythm of yarn and hands in this haven of old world elegance.
If You Go
The Parisian Courtyard Inn has 10 guest rooms with private baths. The double parlor is a spacious area with ample seating for a group gathering. This venue is accustomed to group parties, weddings, and similar gatherings so rest assured that they will have the expertise to make your crafting retreat memorable.