St. Charles Streetcar
Ride a National Historic Landmark through the Garden District in New Orleans
New Orleans historic St. Charles Streetcar travels over 13 miles from Canal Street, through the Garden district, past Loyola and Tulane Universities and Audubon Park where it takes a right-hand turn at Riverbend to continue up Carrollton Avenue. Originally called the Carrollton Railroad, St. Charles Streetcars carried passengers between the French Quarter and the resort town of Carrollton. New Orleans St. Charles Streetcars, like the equally famous San Francisco Cable Cars, have been declared moving national historic landmarks. Streetcars have been running along St. Charles Avenue for over 165 years.
The St. Charles Streetcar is an ideal way to take a self guided tour of the Garden District, but to avoid paying each time you board it’s a good idea to purchase a one or three day JazzyPass The JazzyPass is good for unlimited rides on streetcars and all buses in New Orleans Parish. Call the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) at 504 248-3900 or visit their website for information about the St. Charles Streetcar or any other part of the New Orleans’ public transportation system.
The St. Charles Streetcar line in the Garden District is lined with mansions and large homes like the Van Benthuysen-Elms Mansion in the photo to the left. The mansion was built in 1869 for Capt. Watson Van Benthuysen, II CSA. A relative of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, Watson was known as the “Yankee in Grey” who later became a merchant with interest in a St. Charles streetcar line. You will see many other large houses and mansions as you ride the St. Charles Streetcar including Bultman’s Funeral Home which can be rented for musical recitals, business functions and other gatherings.
Thousands of New Orleans residents commute to work on the 34 olive-green electric cars so plan your St. Charles Streetcar tour during mid day to avoid the morning and evening rush hours and late afternoon when the cars are full of school-age kids. Board the streetcar directly across Canal Street from Bourbon Street in the French Quarter at Canal and Carondelet streets. Drivers don’t call out stops so if you plan to get off for a walking tour of the Garden District, shopping at Riverbend or visiting Audubon Park, the Zoo or either Tulane or Loyola University you’ll need to watch for your stop. You’ll also need to pay each time you board if you haven’t purchased a JazzyPass.
After passing through the Garden District and before coming to the turn at Riverbend you’ll pass Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo on your left with Loyola and Tulane Universities directly across St. Charles Avenue to your right. Loyola University is the largest Catholic university in the South and has occupied the 6000 block of St. Charles Avenue since 1911. From 1904–1911 it was a preparatory school.
Right next door Tulane University offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in medicine, public health and tropical medicine, architecture, business, law, engineering, social work and the liberal arts and sciences. Learn more about Victorian house styles on my San Diego Heritage Park and Historic Victorian Homes in San Francisco pages.