The storied French Quarter is home to countless historic 18th-century buildings. Some locals claim that the Quarter is haunted, and the 1789 St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans’ oldest, might well be. At the Quarter’s center, the 1789 St. Louis Cathedral rises over Jackson Square, its bell pealing every quarter hour.
The city’s 19th-century Garden District also has its share of historic homes and notable architecture. It is a National Historic District, and the National Park Service offers a free walking tour.
Outside New Orleans, dozens of antebellum plantation houses are open for tours. Magnolia Plantation Home in Natchez dates to 1753. Nearby is Melrose Plantation, founded by Marie Therese Coincoin, a freed slave who became a wealthy planter and owned slaves herself. In later years, Melrose Plantation was an artist’s colony where William Faulkner found inspiration. Early feminist author Kate Chopin, author of The Awakening, lived on a plantation in Cloutierville. At Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins, near Natchez, visitors can tour 18 restored buildings dating from the early 1800s and try their hands at picking cotton. Vacherie’s Oak Alley Plantation, a National Historic Site, is one of the most photographed in America and a National Historic Landmark.