Guide to New Orleans travel and special tours for GSC 2023

Published on: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Hannah Carter

Feature image photo credit: City Park Conservancy.

The Center for Green Schools and Green Schools National Network are excited to welcome visitors to New Orleans, Louisiana, for the 12th annual Green Schools Conference from Feb. 27 to March 1.

A city well known for its music and food, New Orleans also has a multitude of parks, trails and scenic views worth including in your visit—a few of which are offering special tours just for conference attendees. To help guide your travel planning, our host committee, especially Liz Davey, has curated a list of recommendations that have a small carbon footprint and a large positive impact for local businesses and artists.

Sights and sounds of New Orleans

Enjoy oysters, then recycle the shell.

Raw, grilled, baked—however you like them, oysters taste even better when you know that the shells will be returned to the Gulf! Check out restaurants involved in the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Oyster Shell recycling program and learn how the recycled shells slow the loss of coastal wetlands.

Enjoy live local music.

Visiting Frenchmen Street, packed with music venues between Esplanade Avenue and Washington Square, is the easiest way to hear a jazz group or a brass band playing. Nearby, the New Orleans Jazz Museum hosts frequent musical performances and interactive exhibits. Find shows at venues across the city through Offbeat Magazine or WWOZ’s Livewire Music Calendar.

Stroll along the Mississippi.

Take in the Mississippi River from Woldenberg Riverfront Park, which offers 16 acres of green space along the French Quarter. A little further downstream, the more recently opened Crescent Park is a 1.4-mile linear park along the river with spectacular views of the city, walking and biking paths, and native landscaping.

Visit Bayou Road.

Bayou Road is a historic street and a bright corridor of Black-owned businesses anchored by the Community Book Center, a longtime literary hub that offers a wide selection of Afrocentric books. Bayou Road restaurants and coffee shops include Addis Ethiopian Kitchen, Froot Orleans, worker-owned Pagoda Cafe, and Sweet Soulfood, serving vegan versions of New Orleans favorites.

Tour Pontchartrain Conservancy Lighthouse.

Take a guided tour of the historic New Canal Lighthouse Museum and Education Center, operated by Pontchartrain Conservancy, the nonprofit that protects the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, one of the largest estuarine systems in the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans City Park

No visit to New Orleans is complete without a stop at City Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country and home to the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world. Take the streetcar that runs from the Sheraton New Orleans directly into City Park to take in views of the city on your way.

Visit the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, a fantastic integration of art and nature, featuring over 90 sculptures across 11 acres. Stroll through the 10-acre New Orleans Botanical Garden and check out the Historic New Orleans Train Garden, a replica of the city made from botanical materials. Other City Park attractions include the New Orleans Museum of Art, birdwatching opportunities, and miles of walking and biking trails.

A modern building with a cantilevered roof

The LEED Gold Louisiana Children's Museum. Photo credit: Louisiana Children's Museum.

Tour opportunities for conference attendees

Bike or hike the Lafitte Greenway.

Follow the Lafitte Greenway west from the French Quarter to find broad green spaces, playing fields, playgrounds, bright murals and green infrastructure, including newly planted cypress trees and pollinator flower meadows. Hop on an electric Blue Bike and cruise the Greenway’s nearly three-mile walking and biking path that connects neighborhoods from the French Quarter to City Park.

Join a service project.

Join Friends of Lafitte Greenway and Sprout Nola for a green infrastructure tour and outdoor service project along the scenic Lafitte Greenway before the conference starts on Feb. 27. Register to take part in the project.

Tour the green features of a museum.

Within City Park, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, a LEED Gold and AIA COTE award–winning facility, seamlessly integrates into the surrounding watershed, providing environmentally focused indoor and outdoor learning experiences for visitors and school groups. Before the conference, join the USGBC Louisiana chapter for a tour highlighting the building’s sustainable design and connection to learning. Register with discount code GSCLCM.

Learn more and register for the GSC