Sustainability in New Orleans: Natural Home Visits the Big Easy

Natural Home finds sustainability in everything from the food to the transportation.


| January/February 2003


In New Orleans, music plays all night, the drink flows until dawn, and the party never stops. But there is a softer side to this city known variously as the Big Easy, the City of Mystery and the Crescent City.

It’s a place recognized for its rich history and colorful culture, for the Spanish-inspired architecture, the French-flavored language, and the literary giants—Tennessee Williams, Richard Ford and William Faulkner, among many others—who’ve called it home. It’s also a place where you can take a leisurely steamboat ride down the Mississippi, paddle a kayak along the bayous, bike about an old neighborhood, see the city by streetcar, or join a walking tour through a historic cemetery. And, while you may have to look harder for vegetarian fare, it’s here—along with a green market, organic delis, and yoga studios.

Exploring

Laid Back Tours
You pick the bike: mountain, recumbent, or old-fashioned cruising style. Husband-and-wife team Musa Eubanks and Veda Manual (she’s a fifth-generation New Orleanian) will lead the way through Faubourg St. John—the oldest neighborhood outside the French Quarter—City Park, and St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. “Virtually anyone who can pedal,” says Eubanks, “can do it.” Or join the couple on a kayak float through the bayous, where you can expect to see, depending on the season, alligators, great blue herons, owls, great white egrets, and small mammals. Bike tours: $50 per person; Kayak tours: $95 (box lunch available for $8). (504) 488-8991; www.LaidBackTours.com 

Gray Line of New Orleans
Consider a walking tour of the Garden District, a neighborhood fashionable with the well heeled in the 1840s and ’50s. Shuttles ferry guests to the neighborhood, where the tour continues on foot. Licensed guides with Gray Line of New Orleans offer information on the history, the neighborhood who’s who, and the architecture. Tours cost $19, cover twenty-one blocks, and last roughly two and a half hours. Reservations recommended. (504) 569-1401

Yoga

Astanga Yoga Room and Alvina's Yoga Studio
Drop-ins are welcome at both the Astanga Yoga Room and Alvina’s Yoga Studio. Both are just outside the French Quarter and accessible by streetcar. Classes at Astanga are led by certified instructor Melanie Fawer in the Mysore style of Astanga. At Alvina’s, classes are in basic, intermediate, and advanced Hatha Yoga. For hours and rates, call Astanga Yoga Room at ­(504) 864-1999 or Alvina’s at (504) 866-3505.

Eating

Old Dog New Trick Cafe
Located in the trendy Faubourg Marigny neighborhood just outside the Quarter, this restaurant offers grain burgers, tofu, tempeh, vegetarian soups, and even a blue plate special of black beans, organic rice, and blanched purple kale. The drink menu includes such specials as freshly squeezed watermelon juice with vodka and mimosas made with fresh orange juice. Everything on the menu is $12 or less. 517 Frenchman; (504) 943-6368





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