On Saturday, May 27, the Patio Planters and select French Quarter homeowners will open their private gardens and courtyards for a self-guided walking tour.
The Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre, was formed by French Quarter residents in 1946 as a garden club—when the Quarter had a lot more permanent residents—unlike today, when many Vieux Carre properties are owned by out-of-town owners who don’t live in the city full-time. The garden club back then was focused on sharing new plants. Over the years, though, the group encouraged tropical and semi-tropical exotics in courtyards. Bromeliads and orchids grew with more traditional banana trees, oleander, althea and ginger. Fig and other vines were esparliered on brick and masonry walls, which replaced the last of the horizontal board fences from the 1880s. Patio Planters is a volunteer-based organization also known for sponsoring Caroling in Jackson Square; it will collaborate with French Quarter homeowners in the decades-long tradition of opening up the beautiful private gardens and courtyards owned by local Vieux Carre residents, that are not generally accessible to the public.
The self-guided walking tour will include a minimum of five gardens and one refreshment courtyard, and the locations of featured gardens and courtyards will be specified on a map given to participants when tickets are picked up.
The one-day-only event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on May 27, and online tickets may be purchased on the Patio Planters website in advance for $35 each. Pre-purchased tickets can be picked up on the day of the event only under the alcove of the Cabildo on Jackson Square from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Day-of tickets may also be purchased there for $40 each, based on availability. Children under 12 are free.
The event is rain or shine, and participants will not have access to homes or indoor spaces. According to the Patio Planters, “Due to narrow entrances, maneuvering strollers or wheelchairs may be difficult.”