One of my fondest childhood memories with my dad was a horse-drawn carriage ride through the French Quarter of New Orleans. The white stallion that pulled our carriage had its mane braided and wings gleaming in the sun. This mode of transportation was incredibly popular in the city during those times and is still widely used today. If you’re ever near Jackson Square on Decatur Street, you can see several mule-drawn carriages lined up, offering tours through town with an entertaining narration. These carriages can also be rented for events and special occasions.
As I approached the carriage, I was mesmerized by the horse lined up and waiting to take us on a journey. Daddy reached out his hand to help me climb in, and the driver smiled warmly as he got the horse ready to go. The French Quarter was alive with sights and sounds like nothing else: magnificent architecture, street musicians, and artists ready to show off their work. Seeing it all from a carriage pulled by such a beautiful creature made me incredibly lucky. We traveled through more of these captivating streets; the horse’s braided mane swayed back and forth in the breeze, adding to the enchantment of the experience. There were unique shops, restaurants, and galleries everywhere we went, and my Daddy told me stories about how this area had evolved over time. I listened intently and took in everything around us.
My Daddy aided me out of the carriage when the ride was over, and I waved goodbye to the horse and driver with a big grin, feeling thankful for the experience. To this day, the carriage rides we took through the French Quarter sticks with me. Afterward, we visited Cafe Du Monde and ordered one of my favorite New Orleans treats, some renowned beignets. Daddy had coffee while I went with just beignets. We sat at an outdoor table beneath the cafe’s canopy and watched passersby on the street. The scent of the beignets was so overwhelming that I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into them. Before the plate even hit our table, we started biting into the delectable pastry covered in powdered sugar. As we ate, my thoughts returned to the horse which pulled our carriage. I continually glanced around, trying to catch sight of it, hoping that it too, had been given something to eat. Yet it and the rest of the carriage had already vanished from view.
Many years later, I still fondly remember the carriage ride my Daddy and I took through the French Quarter. Even now, I can feel the warmth of that wonderful day as if it were yesterday. My children never had the chance to meet their grandfather and experience his love for New Orleans culture, so I take them in a carriage around the Quarter to relive the memories and pass on my father’s knowledge. Whenever we do this ride, a feeling of nostalgia stirs in me and transports me back to a time when my father was alive, and I was a child filled with adventure. An enchantment lingers when I recall that special day: even though I’m grown now, there’s still a connection to my Daddy.
If you find yourself in New Orleans, whether you’re a tourist or a local, one activity that I highly recommend is taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the charming French Quarter. This is a fantastic way to spend some quality time with your kids and explore the city’s historic neighborhoods in style.
As you clip-clop along the cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by the sights, sounds, and scents of the Big Easy. Your knowledgeable driver will regale you with fascinating stories about the city’s architecture, history, and culture, pointing out landmarks and hidden gems that you might otherwise miss.
Whether you’re visiting for the first time or have lived in New Orleans your whole life, a horse-drawn carriage ride is an experience that you won’t soon forget. So why not treat your family to this unique and memorable adventure today?