I was so excited when my good friend, Lisa, finally decided she’d come down to Louisiana to visit me! I’ve known her since our college days, and for some reason, we’ve never been able to get together on my home turf. But last month, it happened! Of course, she wanted to see New Orleans…who doesn’t, right? I started planning the itinerary in my head. I figured we’d visit some of the fascinating museums and galleries, tour some historic homes, and maybe even check out a haunted graveyard or two! Then there are all of the world-class restaurants serving up Nola’s unique cuisine and cool venues for listening to the many different genres of music the Big Easy is famous for. The only question was what to do first?
Imagine my surprise when she told me that one of the things she really wanted to do while in New Orleans was to see Miss Robichaux’s Academy. What? Are we talking about the same New Orleans? Then she explained that she was a huge fan of the TV series, “American Horror Story: Coven”, and the setting they used as “Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies”, the Buckner Mansion, is located right in the heart of New Orleans’ Garden District. Well that makes sense; this magnificent home, built in 1856 by a major cotton magnate, is one of the finest examples of ante-bellum architecture in the South. From 1923 until the 1970s, the mansion was home to Soulé Business College. What better location for a school for witches?
There are no actual tours of Buckner Mansion, but you can stay there, which we considered doing, thinking it would be a cool way to get a taste of what it was like living in pre-civil war New Orleans. We ditched that idea, though, when we found out that the average nightly rate was $4,750.00! Instead, we decided we’d “splurge” on a Garden District walking tour, which included a stop at the Buckner mansion. We booked with Two Chicks Walking Tours, and we had a blast! Our tour guide, Christine, was awesome! She didn’t just recite facts; she brought the history of the area to life with her engaging personality. We saw beautiful homes (including some of the rich and famous), spectacular architecture, lovely gardens, and even got to tour Lafayette Cemetery, which just happens to be the most filmed cemetery in New Orleans. (a fact not lost on Lisa!) The tour is about 2.5 hours, and it is a walking tour, so definitely wear comfortable shoes.
The next time Lisa visits, she wants to do their “Brothels, Bordellos and Ladies of the Night” tour…I’ll keep you posted!