IPAC12 Companions’ Program

Ideas of what to do and how to get there

Companions’ Room 227 Morial Convention Center New Orleans

During the conference Room 227 (above Hall B) will be available for companions to socialize and make contact. 

On Monday, May 21st from 9.00 – 11.00 am a light breakfast will be served so that companions may be introduced and make arrangements for tours. Please try to attend the breakfast, as representatives will give an overview of their suggested tour(s) and be available to book the tours you are interested in.

NOTE:  Some of the suggested activities require advance booking.  Please be sure to read through the descriptions so that you can decide which tours you are interested in and make your advance booking if necessary.

Links to Activities and Suggestions
New Orleans School of Cooking Hands-on Cooking Experience (Advanced reservations required)
New Orleans Cooking Demonstration
Honey Island Swamp Tour
Oak Alley and Laura Plantation Tour
City & Cemetery Tour
The Creole Queen Riverboat Tour
Post Katrina Tour (Advanced reservations required)
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
Le Monde Creole Walking Tour
Going Solo – Things to do on your own
Solo 1
Solo 2
Solo 3
Solo 4
Getting Around New Orleans

Suggested Guided Activities

New Orleans School of Cooking524 St. Louis Street, New Orleans
“Make Your Mouth Happy” – Welcome to the Fun, Food & Folklore of the New Orleans School of Cooking!  Located in the heart of the French Quarter.   1-800-237-4841

Hands-on Cooking Experience:  Thursday May 24th, 9:30-12:30
Advanced reservations only!
This class comes highly recommended.  Cook, a complete southern Louisiana dinner with one of their expert chefs, and then sit down and enjoy the meal.  Capacity is limited.  To reserve a place contact Gretchen Armstrong at or call 504-525-2665 or 800-237-4841.   Reservation deadline: April 15th.  A credit card is needed to make a reservation.  Price: $125 per person

Cooking Demonstration Class
Demonstration classes are offered daily, Monday through Saturday, from 10am-12:30pm. The class includes a demonstration of four food items with generous samplings of each recipe, coffee, iced tea and beer. Reservations may be made at the breakfast or calling (504) 525-2665 or online.  Price $24 per person.

Honey Island Swamp Tour
(Provided by and Cajun Encounters) 1-855-639-6756

South Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp is one of the most pristine swampland habitats in the United States. See this natural wonder up-close on a meandering two-hour boat ride lead by experienced native field guides (and local characters, to boot) inside a 24-passenger custom flat-bottom boat. Price:  $49.00
Sign up at the breakfast or online  or call 855-639-6756.

Oak Alley and Laura Plantation Tour
(Provided by and Cajun Encounters)  855-639-6756

Travel beyond New Orleans and follow the Mississippi River down scenic River Road to visit Oak Alley and Laura Plantation, two of South Louisiana's most famous antebellum plantations. This six-hour tour travels through some of the region’s most scenic and diverse natural landscapes. Price:  $79.00
Sign up at the breakfast on Monday morning or online or call 855-639-6756.

City & Cemetery Tour
(Provided by and Cajun Encounters)  855-639-6756

Walk the streets of the historic French Quarter, see the "dueling oaks" of City Park, visit the landmark St. Roch cemetery, view the majestic homes of the Garden District along St. Charles Avenue, and more on this engaging three-hour walking and shuttle bus tour of New Orleans. Price: $49.00
Sign up at the breakfast on Monday morning or online or call 855-639-6756.

The Creole Queen Riverboat Tour
(Provided by and New Orleans Paddlewheels) 855-639-6756

Take in the sweeping views of the French Quarter and the Port of New Orleans from the deck of the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen. The cruise disembarks for a guided tour at the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans before re-boarding for a leisurely return cruise to the dock. Price:  $22.00
Sign up at the breakfast on Monday morning or online or call 855-639-6756.

Post Katrina Tour: May 23rd 9:00-12:30
(Provided by Tours By Isabelle:  1-877-665-8687)  Advanced reservations only.
This tour covers over 70 miles of the city that was devastated by the storm.  Starting in the French Quarter, virtually untouched by Katrina, the tour drives along Bayou St. John passing by the many neighborhoods affected by the Storm, ending up in the 9th Ward to witness the budding rebirth there.  Price: $65.00
Sign up by phone: 1-877-665-8687 or reserve online by April 15th.  A credit card is needed to make a reservation.  Bus will be across the street from Hall A of the Convention Center (Watch for the IPAC12 Companions sign) and drop you off at your hotel.

French Quarter Le Monde Creole Walking Tour
622 Royal Street (inside the "ROAD TRIP " shop)

Step into the lives of five generations of the Laura Locoul family. From grand townhouses to simple cottages and original slave quarters, hear about Creoles, Free people of Color and slaves.  (Included in the tour are St. Louis Cemetery #1 & The Pharmacy Museum.) Available in English, French & German.  One tour daily at 10:30 a.m.  Reservations required by e-mail or by calling 1-504 232 8559 or 1-504-568-1801.  Price: $22.00 per person

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience:  May 22-26 2012

This five-day bacchanalia brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders for a showcase of signature events designed to entertain, educate and inspire and raise money for charity!  For more information or to buy tickets, visit their website.

Going Solo

Don’t want a guided tour?  Try one of these suggestions.

Self Guided Walking Tour 1:  The French Quarter and Marigny Districts

Take the Riverfront Streetcar from the Convention Center to Jackson Square (C) and have coffee & beignets at Café du Monde (A).  Then stroll through the French Market (B) on Decatur Street. Work your way back to Jackson Square (C) where you can look at the street art and visit St. Louis Cathedral.  From here you can decide to take a carriage ride through the French Quarter. From Jackson Square, walk down St. Peter Street to New Orleans Jazz Preservation Hall, 726 St. Peter Street (D).  Depending on the time of day you will be sure to catch some good traditional jazz. Pat Obrien’s is at 718 St. Peter Street (E).  For a fun time have a drink in the piano bar or out in the beautiful open courtyard.

Take a right onto Bourbon Street (F).  The nature of this street will change depending on the time of day from early morning street cleaning to wild & woolly at night.  Feel free to weave in and out of the side streets of the French Quarter.  From here you can make your way home OR Take a right onto Royal & cross over Esplanade to Washington Square & Frenchman Street (G) in Marigny.  This bohemian area really lights up at night with lots of local bars, clubs and music .  Some suggestions from the locals include DBA, Café Negril , Snug Harbor , and Three Muses.

Self Guided Walking Tour 2:  Esplanade, Bayou St. John & City Park

To get to the start point from the Convention Center take the Riverfront Streetcar to Canal Street & transfer to the Canal Street spur line to Esplanade Avenue (E). Walk 5 minutes down Esplanade.  Alternatively, take a cab to Café Degas (A). Start the day with a delicious early lunch at Café Degas, 3127 Esplanade Avenue (A) open 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  (504) 945-5635. Stroll up Esplanade Avenue, lined with beautiful New Orleans mansions, and visit St. Louis Cemetery Number 3 (B) a traditional New Orleans-style cemetery. From Esplanade turn left and stroll down Moss Street by Bayou St. John to the Pitot House (C), a traditional Creole Colonial country home that is well worth visiting (Guided tours available).  If energy persists you can walk back up Moss Street and turn left on Esplanade, crossing over Bayou St. John into City Park to see the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) (D), the Botanical Garden & the Besthoff Sculpture Garden (See next tour). From City Park return to Canal Street via city street car (N. Carrolton at Esplanade - E).

Self Guided Walking Tour 3:   City Park  (Mid-City)

To get to City Park from the Convention Center take the Riverfront line to Canal Street and transfer to the Canal Street line to City Park (Red Line). City Park, the 6th largest urban park in the U.S., provides many interesting attractions & walks.  The Park's forest includes approximately 50 different tree species and is home to the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world, the oldest between 600-800 years old.  Grouped together at the southern end of the park (where the Canal Street spur line ends) are:
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) (A)
NOMA contains a magnificent permanent collection of more than 40,000 objects & is noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass, African and Japanese works. 
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden (A)
The five-acre garden located to the rear NOMA and adjacent to the New Orleans Botanical Garden features 60 sculptures by major 20th Century European, American, Israeli and Japanese artists. 
New Orleans Botanical Garden (B)
The New Orleans Botanical Garden is one of the few remaining examples of public garden design from the Great Depression WPA (Works Progress Administration) and Art Deco Period.
The collections contain over 2,000 varieties of plants from all over the world set among the nation's largest stand of mature live oaks.

The Arts/Warehouse District

The Arts/Warehouse District is located directly behind the Convention Center.  This historic neighborhood - filled with amazing art galleries, fine restaurants, and world-class museums, has gone from bustling, to abandoned, and back to becoming the center of attention once again.  Attractions include:
World War II Museum (A) 945 Magazine St. Phone: (504) 5276088
Features an ever-expanding exhibit space where war veterans are on hand to give tours, answer questions, or just to talk with the many visitors

The Contemporary Arts Center (B) 900 Camp St.  Phone:  (504) 528-3805
The 10,000-square-foot complex features cutting edge-artwork and an eclectic array of music, theatre, and dance performances.

Ogden Museum of Fine Art (C) 925 Camp St.  Phone:  (504) 539-9600
Home to the most comprehensive collection of southern art in the world. the museum celebrates the art, history and culture of the American South.

Restaurants & Cafes
There are many restaurants serving everything from stylish gourmet dishes to traditional Cajun favorites. The original Emeril's was one of the first to call the district home. Now diners can enjoy South Louisiana cuisine and dancing at Michaul's, fresh seafood at Rio Mar, delicious sushi at Rock-n-Sake, traditional Cajun Southern at  Cochon and drinks and music at Howlin’ Wolf.

Getting Around New Orleans

Below is some information on New Orleans which will help you to find your way around New Orleans.

New Orleans Districts

The Conference Center is located by the Arts/Warehouse District.  The Riverfront Streetcar originates at the Conference Center and is an excellent starting point for getting around the city.

French Quarter:  The oldest neighborhood in the city dating back to 1718.  It is renowned for its restaurants, music and nightlife.  To get there from the Convention Center, take the Riverfront streetcar to Jackson Square.

Marigny/Bywater:  This charming and bohemian area of the city is most known for its music, clubs and nightlife.  From the Convention Center, take the Riverfront streetcar and walk up Esplanade Avenue.  Marigny District will be on your right.

Arts/Warehouse District:  Located directly behind the Convention Center.  This historic neighborhood is filled with amazing art galleries, fine restaurants, and world-class museums.

Mid-City:  Although not as old as other neighborhoods in the city, this district has a great quirky local flavor.  The southern end of City Park is located in Mid-City.  The Canal Street streetcar will take you there.

Tremé (pronounced “Tremay”):  Continues to preserve the traditions of African-American and Creole culture and has produced a TV series of the same name.  Take the Canal Street streetcar to North Rampart and walk East.  Tremé District will be to your left.

The Garden District:  Most known for its well preserved historic southern mansions.  Take the St. Charles streetcar, a short walk from the back of the Convention Center, to reach the Garden District.

Esplanade Ridge:  This architecturally rich neighborhood near the French Quarter has some of the best B&Bs in the city.  (Canal Street Line)

Downtown/Central Business District:  Home to dozens of professional offices and skyscraper buildings. (Walking distance from Convention Center.)

Uptown/Carrollton:  Also called Riverbend, this area contains several of the city's more prominent universities and parks.  (Canal Street Line)

Ninth Ward:  This primarily residential area, hard hit by Hurricane Katrina (AKA “The Storm”) has produced some of the city's finest musicians including Fats Domino.

New Orleans Public Transportation
Streetcars:  Using one of the three streetcar lines is an excellent way to see New Orleans
There are three different lines:  Riverfront (Blue), St. Charles (Green), and Canal Street (Red).  Each originates downtown but takes you to different parts of the city.

One-way fares are $1.25 and can be paid with exact change when you board. Transfers to other routes are available for $0.25.  1, 3 and 5-day unlimited ride passes are also available for $5, $12 and $20 respectively. See the Regional Transit Authority (RTA)'s website for a list of places to purchase these.  Passes are non-refundable and non-replaceable.

The Riverfront Line (Blue)
The Riverfront Line will be a very convenient line for you since it originates at the Convention Center and runs along the Mississippi River to the French Quarter terminating at Esplanade Avenue.  Besides the French Quarter, places of interest along this route include The Aquarium of the Americas, the Mississippi Riverboats, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the Louisiana State Museum, Café du Monde the French Market, and the old U.S. Mint.

The St. Charles Line (Green)
The St. Charles Line starts at Canal Street and Carondelet in the Business District at the edge of the French Quarter and ends uptown at the intersection of South Carrolton and South Claiborne Avenues.  The route forms a 13.2-mile crescent along Carondelet to Lee Circle & then up St. Charles Avenue passing dozens of antebellum mansions, historic monuments, Loyola and Tulane universities, the Audubon Zoological Gardens, shopping centers, fine restaurants and hotels.

Canal Street Line  (Red)
The Canal Streetcar Line starts at the end of Canal Street in the French Quarter and travels the five-and-a-half mile route from the French Market, along Canal Street through the Central Business District and into the Mid-City area.  A spur line along North Carrollton Avenue connects Canal Street to City Park at Beauregard Circle and the final stop is at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden  and the Botanical Gardens.

Taxi Cabs
There are thousands of taxis available on New Orleans' streets and at major hotels. Taxi rates are $3.50 plus $2 per mile (.25 per one-eighth mile) thereafter. There is also an additional charge of $1.00 per passenger after the first passenger.

During peak visitor times (including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest) taxi rates are $5 per person or the meter rate, whichever is greater. A fixed rate of $33 (one to two people) is charged from the airport to most areas of New Orleans. For parties of more than two, the fare is $14 per person.

While you can often find a cab stand near a major hotel, be sure to call ahead during peak visitor seasons like Jazzfest and Mardi Gras.


Coleman Cab Co.

New Breed Cab Co.

United Cabs Co.

White Fleet Cab Co.

Yellow-Checker Cabs

Around town - $1.25; Express - $1.50 Buses run different schedules (anywhere from 10 to 20-minute intervals). You can obtain bus route lines and times from the driver. For more information, call (504) 737-9611 or visit online.