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“Piece of History” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gray Line New Orleans

Gray Line New Orleans
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$48.00*
and up
Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise
Ranked #35 of 214 Tours in New Orleans
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Gray Line New Orleans has been showcasing the city since 1924. Locally owned and operated, the Gray Line schedule includes the award winning Original Cocktail Tour. Another top offering is the Ghost Tour, which has been so intensely researched that the hotel with the most reported Ghost sightings in the city has invited Gray Line to produce an exhibit in their hotel. Among our professionally escorted tours are the Super City Tour, Katrina Tours, Swamp & Bayou, Airboat Swamp Tours, Oak Alley & Laura Plantation Tours, Cemetery & Voodoo, French Quarter & Garden District Walking Tours We limit the number of guests on our walking tours to enhance the experience and the view is always better from our luxurious mini-busses and motor coaches. Our Tour Guides are well trained, licensed, and want to share their personal experiences along the way. Morning to evening you can count on Gray Line New Orleans
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Piece of History”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2012

For my 200th review I figured I'd kick it up a notch with the sentimentalism. I took a trip to New Orleans and decided on taking a tour of the city. That city tour also incorporated a "Hurricane Katrina" tour and it was amazing. One of those experiences where you're really watching a part of history and something that has a long lasting effect for anyone with a conscience.

The tour is set to go for about 3 hours and costs $48 a person (discounted tickets can be found online). The tour bus was stationed at the Gray Line Lighthouse ticket house (French Quarter section of the city), which thankfully was only a few minutes away from our hotel in the Warehouse district. Once there we were greeted by our very friendly tour guide/bus driver. The bus itself was clean, air conditioned and very very comfortable.

Things starts off with an overview of the history of the "original" New Orleans, the French Quarter and why it was built at its particular location along the Mississippi River. French quarter is clearly more than just an awesome spot for Mardi Gras and Girls Gone Wild videos (although I have to say, those are pretty good too). Needless to say, it's a very eclectic area with a lot of great shopping venues, particularly for souvenirs.

The experience goes on past the coastal wetlands where the the guide discusses its history, its gradual disappearance and efforts to raise awareness and preserve what is left of it.

The tour hits its stride when focusing on everything related to Hurricane Katrina. The tour guide gave a first hand chronology of events leading up to the hurricane and the days immediately following the disaster. We passed by the levees and were given a quick explanation on how they failed during the hurricane as well as the improvements made since then.

The bus drove through various sections and neighborhoods of the city. The devastating effect of the hurricane along with the incremental pace of the rebuilding efforts were very evident. There were the neighborhood blocks that had unkempt grassy gaps in them because whole houses were demolished (due to unrepaired damage from the Hurricane and abandonment by the owners). We passed many makeshift memorials for those who lost their lives during the hurricane.

There were many homes that still had tarps on the roofs and windows boarded up due to unfinished repairs from hurricane damage. Every building in the city was searched for victims during the month after Katrina struck. Symbols were painted on homes/buildings by search & rescue teams. The symbols included references to the date, the search unit's identifier, hazards (such as a gas leak), and number of people found. Very chilling stuff.

The tour guide was really an asset when it came to discussing the effects of the hurricane on the city. He knew a lot about how the various sections and even specific neighborhoods suffered, the fate of people in specific houses we passed and the status of a lot of houses that were palatial mansions pre-Katrina but now were rundown and abandoned. Towards the end of the tour we passed by homes that were built or being built differently post Katrina (higher off the ground to reduce future flood damage). Some of those homes were part of a program established by Brad Pitt as part of the rebuilding efforts in the city, particularly the parts with limited resources (9th ward).

All in all, there's no joke or punchline to illustrate how amazing this tour was and how everyone could benefit from a first hand look at a part of American history. It's been like 6.5 years since the hurricane but the reminders are still pretty evident.

Speaking of jokes, I'll end with a quick story and let y'all respond with your thoughts. The tour bus makes a snack and bathroom stop at this rest area that has something like a food court. My travel companion and I decide to get ice cream/milkshakes because the city was still somewhat warm during the mid-fall season. It's my turn to order and the young cashier appears to be kinda tired and a little aloof. I end up placing like three different orders because I was told THREE SEPARATE TIMES by the cashier that a crucial ingredient (vanilla ice cream, bananas, chocolate, etc.) in each order was not available. Flabbergasted, I made a lighthearted reference to the dessert shop's lack of basic ingredients by jokingly remarking "I KNOW KATRINA CAME THROUGH HERE BUT DAMN!".

I finally ended up successfully placing/receiving my order and sat down. My travel companion proceeded to come at me like I worked for FEMA. She acted like I was that little bad kid everyone sees at the mall throwing a temper tantrum. That kid who usually has that leash/body harness on and is cursing up a storm because they can't have everything in the store. C'mon, was the joke really that bad?

Visited March 2011
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Thank laidbackadventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
47 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Informative and interesting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 18, 2012

Took the 'City & Katrina' tour. Comfortable full size coach about half full. Driver/Guide was Gerald and he gave an excellent commentary throughout the two hour tour. The guide is the key to whether the tour is enjoyable/informative or not and if Gerald is representative of other Gray Line guides then a Gray Line tour is likely a great way to see New Orleans. And if you are an AAA member then be sure to mention it when making reservations and you will get 10% off the regular tour cost.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank wynberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mass
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“"Crescent City Nights"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 31, 2012

This is a walking tour around the French Quarter. Don't worry if you're not a good walker, our tour guide went slow for one of the people that had a cane. It included a 3 course dinner at Tujague's, a drink at a jazz club (Maison Bourbon), and finished up at Cafe DuMonde with cafe au lait and beignets. A bonus was a Mardi Gras parade as we were leaving Maison Bourbon.
We met some very nice people in our tour group as it is a small group...we had only 8 people, which I think is normal.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank yankeedancersgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great tour of the city, including the Lower 9th Ward”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 24, 2011

This bus tour covered most of the city in about 3 hours. We cruised through the French Quarter and many areas of the city. We also drove around the lower 9th ward where the damage from Katrina was the worst. The main dislike was that there was really no time for photos or to see any of the areas in depth. The bus was moving pretty much the whole time.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank NedNOLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“Cocktail Tour - Joe Gendusa (Tour Guide)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2011

We have taken several of the Gray Line Tours in New Orleans - but the Cocktail Tour, in our opinion, is the best of the Gray Lines in this city. This is due to our wonderful, knowledgeable, and fun tour guide, Joe Gendusa. His knowledge and passion on the subject was vast and he really made us passionate about the popular drinks of the restaurants/bars in the area.

Mr. Gendusa was charismatic - never once did the tour become boring or as though only facts from a text book were being made - but he made the facts come to life with vigor.

I would recommend this tour if you are looking to get more familiar with the history and background of cocktails in New Orleans, along with a better understanding of the bar/restaurant establishments that are known or have created specific cocktails.

Request Joe as your guide if you are looking for a respectable, "mature" understanding of this history of New Orleans. This is not a bar crawl, this is not for "frat boys" looking to do shots; this is a lively, yet mature understanding of the tradition of cocktails in New Orleans (while also given the opportunity to purchase the cocktails mentioned in the tour - but these drinks are at your own expense, which really isn't a a problem). We were offered one drink that was included with the tour, which was provided at the start at the lighthouse by the Steamboat Natchez.

Fantastic!!!!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
Thank jenmswan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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