NEW ORLEANS — The bright red open-top double-decker tour buses seen all over New York, London, and Paris are coming to New Orleans.
City Sightseeing New Orleans launched the new service Wednesday with an inaugural tour of downtown with Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and tourism and hospitality officials. The service, which opened to the general public Thursday, will operate daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Emily Valentino, the company's general manager, said the buses will offer a new convenient, entertaining, and informative way to experience the city with a hop-on and hop-off model that allows visitors to tour sites at their own pace.
Stops include the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the National World War II Museum, Harrah's Casino, Mardi Gras World, the Superdome and Basin Street Station, a former train depot that's been turned into a visitors’ center.
“It's going to be a full experience unlike anything else currently offered in New Orleans,” said Michael Valentino, a co-owner of the franchise. “It's a fun transportation mode that we're going to layer with the personality of local tour guides.”
Bus tours will be narrated live in English by certified tour hosts, but recordings will also be available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.
Emily Valentino said the tour bus service is expected to generate 36 new full-time jobs and increased visitor access to attractions and businesses in the hospitality industry.
City Sightseeing already provides service in London, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, New York, and Seville, Spain.