An Ode to New Orleans



National Trust Tours & International Seminar Design invites you to join a privileged group of members on a custom-designed cultural escape. New Orleans’ antebellum splendors, gracious interiors, lush private gardens, fascinating people, and enduring legacy of historic preservation take center stage on this custom-designed tour of the South’s grandest historic city. Explore how New Orleans’ strong ties to French, Spanish, and Caribbean cultures have contributed to her rich and singular architectural and cultural legacy. Hear how the city’s African and Cuban influences laid the groundwork for an astonishingly rich musical heritage, from ragtime to Dixieland, R&B to funk, and most famously made it the birthplace of jazz. Also examine the city’s dramatic struggles and transformation since Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 devastating blow.

Pricing from
Trip Type
Closer to Home, Group Travel Tour
Departure Dates
Nov 10, 2024 - Nov 14, 2024


Known as the “Grand Dame of the French Quarter”, the Monteleone has been owned and operated by five generations of the Monteleone family since 1886 and is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The guest rooms are elegantly furnished, most with high ceilings, and fine European inspired décor. In the lobby, the hotel’s famed grandfather clock still chimes, surrounded by glittering chandeliers, polished marble floors, and gleaming brass appointments. Amenities include a rooftop fitness center and heated pool with views of New Orleans’ skyline. The hotel’s Carousel Bar is a legendary New Orleans hot spot that overlooks Royal Street. Truman Capote used to boast that he was born in the Monteleone. It has long been a favorite haunt of distinguished literary giants, from Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams to William Faulkner, Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose, and John Grisham. It is one of only three U.S. hotels designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association.


  • Charles Chamberlain

    Charles Chamberlain

    Charles Chamberlain received his PhD in U.S. History from Tulane University and worked for ten years as the Museum Historian at the Louisiana State Museum. His book Victory at Home: Race and Manpower in the American South during World War II (University of Georgia Press) was published in 2003, and he has written numerous articles on jazz history, Louisiana history, and American culture. Since 2014, Dr. Chamberlain has served as professor of history at the University of New Orleans, concentrating on graduate level Public History and Louisiana studies.


Cancellation by participant must be made in writing to ISDI and is effective only upon acknowledged receipt by ISDI. There is a non-refundable registration and planning fee of $500 per person regardless of cancellation date. Written cancellation received by ISDI on or before August 1, 2024: full refund minus $500 per person registration and planning fee. Written cancellation received by ISDI between August 2 and September 26, 2024:
full refund minus $1,500 per person cancellation fee (includes registration and planning fee). Written cancellation received by ISDI on or after September 27, 2024: no refund. Tour registration is nontransferable. In the case of cancellation, substitutions are not allowed. After the tour has commenced, no refunds will be issued for any reason including, but not limited to, unused portions of tour. If the tour is cancelled by ISDI or National Trust Tours due to low enrollment, active registrants will receive a full refund of all tour payments.


  • day 1

    Laissez les bon temps rouler!

    Arrive independently at the landmark Hotel Monteleone, a Historic Hotels of America ideally situated in the heart of the French Quarter. At 4:30 p.m., meet for an orientation walking tour of the French Quarter, including a visit to the iconic Jackson Square where iron fences, benches, and Parisian-style landscaping remain intact from their original 1851 design. See the three significant 18th-century buildings that flank the square: the St. Louis Cathedral; the Cabildo, the former city hall; and the Presbytère. Then enjoy a lecture by study leader Charles Chamberlain on the history of “the Big Easy.” Savor a welcome dinner at one of the French Quarter’s best restaurants.

  • day 2

    The Soul of the Crescent City

    Begin with a guided tour of the Faubourg Tremé neighborhood, home to the largest pre-Civil War community of free people of color with a rich and vibrant history. See Congo Square, formerly an open-air market where “Creoles of Color” brass and symphonic bands performed, providing a foundation for the birth of jazz. Learn about the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing recovery efforts during a visit to the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum. Following a lunch of local specialties, see why New Orleans is one of the country’s hot spots for preservation during a visit to the elegant former City of Lafayette, established by the Americans in the 1830s to rival the Creole-dominated Vieux Carré. Enjoy access to private homes in the area’s two designated historical districts: the Irish Channel, the working class riverfront neighborhood where first-generation Irish and German immigrants settled before the Civil War; and the Garden District, where wealthy immigrants from Great Britain and the North came and made their fortunes on cotton. In contrast to the dense development of the French Quarter, gracious suburban villas are set on spacious lots, surrounded by lush landscaping. The evening is at leisure.

  • day 3

    Pitot House & NOMA

    Visit the Pitot House Plantation, an 18th-century Creole country home that showcases American and Louisiana antiques from the early 19th century. The house was saved from destruction by the Louisiana Landmarks Society in 1964 and restored to its original splendor. The garden at the Pitot House grows plants traditional to the time period when the house was built. Continue to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), the city’s oldest fine arts institution for a guided tour of collection highlights. Following lunch at the museum’s popular restaurant, visit NOMA’s sculpture garden. With more than sixty sculptures spread across five acres, it is considered one of the nation’s most important sculpture installations. Return to the French Quarter for an independent afternoon or for an optional visit to the Historic New Orleans Collection for a guided tour through the museum’s permanent collection.

  • day 4

    Oak Alley

    Drive westward along the Mississippi River to visit Oak Alley Plantation, with its famed scenic allée, grand historic mansion, and preserved slave quarters and outbuildings, a National Historic Landmark. Following a guided tour of the mansion, have free time to stroll the grounds of the estate. Return to the city for an afternoon at leisure or for an optional visit to the incomparable National World War II Museum, which emphasizes the American experience in World War II through powerful exhibits. Bid au revoir to “the Big Easy” at a memorable farewell dinner in one of the French Quarter’s historic restaurants.

  • day 5

    Farewell New Orleans

    Check out of the Hotel Monteleone and visit Longue Vue House and Gardens, an opulent 1939 Classical Revival mansion with original English and American antiques and furniture. Ellen Biddle Shipman designed the eight acres of manicured formal gardens, which are considered her masterpiece. Be dropped off at the New Orleans airport in time to catch flights departing after 2:00 p.m.

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