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ABOUT US

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours is dedicated to showing visitors the very best that New Orleans has to offer. During any walking tour of the French Quarter, cemeteries, or Garden District, you will see sights unique to the Crescent City that you will find in no other part of the country. All of our tour guides are local, certified, and passionate about New Orleans history and culture. We take pride in offering tours that are not only entertaining, but also historically accurate and informative.

We are a Pelican New Orleans company, founded and operated by locals who are passionate about the Big Easy. We remain a proudly family-owned company.

Explore the secrets of New Orleans firsthand as the city’s most knowledgeable tour guides bring history to life. We can’t wait to share our love of the city with you.

TOUR GUIDE BIOS

Omar Iriarte has a passion for the French Quarter for many reasons, but mainly because it is similar to where he grew up in Lima, Peru. In fact, he was a tour guide in Lima as well, and has been travelling back and forth between family in both locations for the past 10 years. From the unique culture and expansive history to the Spanish architecture and focus on cuisine, Lima and New Orleans have more in common than many might know. Omar loves to draw his French Quarter walking tour guests’ attention to these similarities that come as a result of past Spanish rule and occupation. Omar has conducted walking tours, bike tours and cocktail tours in both Lima and New Orleans, and is happy to help the Spanish-speaking visitors to New Orleans with bi-lingual tours.

Omar studied hospitality management and tourism in Lima in an effort to learn how to better share his knowledge of history and culture with travelers, as well as his own personal penchant for travelling. He interned in Vermont, then in New Orleans where he met his beautiful wife, Tracy, of 9 years, and now has a beautiful 5 year old daughter. He is a big fan of local seafood, often splurging on the bountiful oysters and shellfish served in Nola, and sampling new gumbos as often as possible. He enjoys watching NLF games, being both a Saints and a Patriots fan. He also loves to swim, and remembers many the day in Lima when his Mother would tell him “don’t go too far”, but that never stopped him from swimming several miles out to sea and returning to an earful from Mom! But Omar says it was worth it for the sense of freedom that the open water brings. Omar highly recommends taking in the views of both the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartain to visitors, but don’t leave without a great historical walking tour of the French Quarter!

Stephen was born close to Bayou St. John in the Mid-City neighborhood. He has previously worked at two local PBS TV stations, which greatly encouraged his love of learning. Also, working at two different airlines allowed him to travel all over our country, and the world. Having had to evacuate for Katrina, as most New Orleanians did back in August of 2005, when he eventually returned home, he decided to do something different- be a tourist in his own hometown. And he’s sure glad he did! Many of the locals in New Orleans, especially those born here, never experience all the unique historical and cultural assets this city is known for by millions of visitors who come to the Big Easy each year. By exploring the city from a different perspective, one of a quest for knowledge, he was born again, so to speak, and really gained an insatiable interest in learning more and more about the city and its history.

As a tour guide, Stephen says the best part of his job is that he gets to walk the amazing streets of the French Quarter, simply sharing the home he loves with great people from all over the world. The opportunity to showcase his birthplace by giving of himself the vast amount of historical and cultural knowledge he possesses, and continues to expand as often as possible, is what drives Stephen’s passion for being a great guide that people will rave about for years to come. He is known to really engage with his guests and provide a thoroughly informative and fun tour. He says that being a tour guide has given him the chance to “return the favor” when people come to visit us here, considering all people who welcomed him to their cities and homes when he travelled himself. Actually, his mother was a tour guide as well, and his father was a family physician and assistant coroner. He is forever grateful to them for sharing their love of walking the streets of our city and its cemeteries. The more he learns about the history of both its good guys, and its scoundrels, the more his love for New Orleans is reinforced.

If he could be anywhere in the world, Stephen would be in an airport with a free flight card. That was the greatest perk of working for the airlines for him. He’s enjoyed getting to experience the cultures of Asia, Europe and the Americas, and discovering how welcoming the people around our world can be. In keeping things close to home, however, he just loves Royal Street, telling his guests it’s his favorite street in the world! And New Orleans wouldn’t be New Orleans without City Park, another world favorite right in his backyard. Stephen also looks forward each year to the Endymion parade for Mardi Gras. With the family atmosphere, incredible floats and awe-inspiring bands, well, just “oh my!”. But on Mardi Gras day, Stephen says you just have to walk down St. Charles to enjoy the parade crowds with all the diverse people having so much fun.

From storytelling, character acting, Vaudeville and mural painting (with a BFA in Fine Art/Sculpture) to stilt walking, fire dancing, go-go dancing and burlesque, Shannon has always been a versatile performer. Bringing intensity and dancing in the deep end of the emotional pool, her passionate performances are dramatic and tend to “rip your heart out and put it gently in your lap”. This is why, early in her performance career, she was deemed “The Mysterious Lady Shanime.” Why the name Shanime? Her mother’s side of the family is Japanese, and her performances are influenced by Kabuki, mythology, and Anime. Shannon plus Anime equals Shanime. Since she prides herself on being a lady, well, there you go.

From a young age, this lovely lady has always colored outside the lines. No really?! She was held back in kindergarten because she couldn’t color inside the lines! Originally from San Jose/San Francisco Bay, she has since lived in Portland, Denver and Memphis. In 2016 she travelled to New Orleans with her husband, Jeremiah, to start a new adventure. Since she was young, she has always been a storyteller. For over 20 years, her stories have been conveyed through her paintings and live performances. Shannon also has a profound love of history, and in 2007 created a WWII installation and art show, raising money for Denver Kunming Sisters City committee. She invited one of the Flying Tigers to talk at her WWII Art show. She interviewed veterans for 5 years and created historical art for 8 years. She also travelled to Washington DC for the National WWII Monument opening, and then to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. Yes, this lady loves history! During this time, she also had her own mural business recreating historical photographs, painting them on walls in businesses and private residences.

Her first few months in New Orleans, Shannon worked as a stilt walker, burlesque performer and character actor. She began to explore museums and learn about the history of New Orleans. One day she saw a Visitor Center and decided to come in and inquire about a job. She literally asked, “I want to work in tourism, how do I start?” She got an interview right then and there, and was hired on spot. Shannon became a concierge, moving to both supervisor and manager positions. It wasn’t until October 2020, that she made a difficult decision to step back from management and enter into the world of tour guiding. Today, she loves taking travelers from all around the world through the historic French Quarter, educating them on New Orleans historical folklore and hauntings. She has always had a taste for the bizarre and unexpected, and New Orleans has truly fit that bill.

Shannon’s favorite quote: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

Running into burning buildings, cutting people out of crushed cars and roaming the streets of New Orleans sounds a lot like the beginning of a movie advertisement. But it’s not! It’s the condensed version of the life that tour guide, Michael “Cedric” Ford, has led. Joining the Army just out of high school, Cedric found himself in what he affectionately refers to as the giant sandbox. When he made his way back to the States, he became a medic and a firefighter. In January of 2010, Cedric attended a convention on a whim, and it changed the direction of his life forever. From that point forward, he found himself on a whirlwind journey that started on that New Year’s Eve when he founded a company, Airship Isabella. Originally an improvisational theater and builders’ group, ASI, as Airship Isabella became known, rapidly gained notoriety in the performance circuits around Texas. More importantly, it was one of the first steampunk collectives in Texas to really put themselves on the national map. Before they knew it, more than half a dozen of the members, including Cedric, had quit their jobs, taken to the road, and become full time performers and leather workers.

That winding road brought them to New Orleans in January of 2012, when they were made an offer that no self-employed artist can refuse- a job. Cedric was offered a place at the French Market Corporation’s tables to sell ASI handmade merchandise. They didn’t blink at the opportunity. Four days later, they were unloading into a mostly standing warehouse in the Faubourg Marigny that had not been touched since Katrina. From there, they met people from all over the world, continued to tour around the country, and eventually found themselves in the right place at the right time with the right people in February of 2015. A series of fortunate events led them to the doors of a New Orleans AMC studio and into the Hollywood props and costuming industry, doing leather for AMC’s hit television series, “Into the Badlands”. Cedric soon found himself in front of the camera as well as behind it. He has appeared in the feature films “Jack Reacher”, “Girl Trip”, “Shock and Awe” and “Supercon”, as well as numerous guest appearances on television including most recently “Mysteries Decoded” on Discovery where he talked about life as a vampire in New Orleans.

From vampires to ghosts, Cedric was getting a name for his knowledge of the spookier aspects of New Orleans and its history. He founded New Orleans Paranormal Explorers, otherwise known as N.O.P.E., as a hobby and way to blow off steam while doing something that the ASI crew was fascinated by, and also increasing their knowledge of the city they now called home. What started out as a pastime became another profession as the N.O.P.E. team started getting calls and bookings to do ghost hunts for both individuals as well as for tourists. So, in 2016 Cedric got a tour guide license and quickly became one of the most recognizable guides in town. Walking down the city streets at dusk, his leather top hat silhouetted against the centuries-old buildings, wearing hand-made leather vests and belts adorned with skulls, Cedric’s tour groups begin their walk into the New Orleans shadows with the warning to be careful of staring too deeply into the shadows. Here, the shadows stare back.

George ”Loki” Williams documents his family’s presence in New Orleans back to the early 1700’s. Raised in the Garden District, many of the historic homes in the city were built by or owned by members of his family. Indeed, a number of his relatives, such as famed Storyville photographer E.J. Bellocq and the brickmaker Evariste Blanc, are featured in some of his tours. 

 Founder and producer of the Silver Machine series of events, which showcased local art and music from 1999 to 2003, and HumidCity.com from 2005 to 2009, he has always worked to show the world the wonders of his home. In addition to those non-profit works, he also produced or co-produced events ranging from the Rising Tide Conference to the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club’s Tenth Anniversary Halloween Ball. Over recent decades he has worked with the Tipitina’s Foundation, WWOZ Jazz and Heritage Radio, House of Blues, and many other cultural and entertainment concerns. For the past six years, he has been leading tours of the city and its cemeteries as a tour guide.  

 A true geek and proud of it, Loki is also a tabletop role playing games designer with over 30 books bearing his byline, including Bloodlines and Black Magic: The Crescent City (a sourcebook for running modern horror games set in New Orleans). His work has been covered by media including the BBC, The New Yorker, NOLA.com, BBC 5 Radio, Offbeat Magazine, WTUL 91.5 FM, Kingfish Magazine, Where Y’at Magazine, and also by scholarly publications including MetroPolitics EU and the book News Evolution or Revolution?: The Future of Print Journalism in the Digital Age from Peter Lang Publishing. 

 Loki is proud to be a member of The Cabildo Museum, Save Our Cemeteries (Board of Directors, Tourism Committee), The Society for the Founders of the City of New Orleans. He has been part of teams that have earned the following awards: Silver ENnies in 2005 and 2007 for Planewalker.com, Bulldog Reporter Award in 2008 for the ”Blog Buddy” campaign for AMACOM Books, Webby Award in 2008 for OSI’s Katrina: an UnNatural Disaster, and an ENnie nomination in 2013 for Dark Roads and Golden Hells from Open Design/Kobold Press. He was a special guest at San Francisco’s Celesticon Gaming Convention in 2015. And he also won NOLWT’s “Tour Guide of the Quarter” just before the pandemic hit.

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