Quarter Tours for Kids

Former school teacher Jill Dresser has tapped into a niche market with French Quartour Kids.

Inhibitions aside, visitors have been coming to our historic port city to let loose for centuries. Families, on the other hand, have tended to steer clear, saving New Orleans as an adult’s only destination.

This is shifting.

Families are seeing beyond the buck wild parties on Bourbon Street and noticing what New Orleans has to offer. The obvious family attractions aside, the city and surrounding areas is a natural (and not so natural) playground for kids.

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Within the confines of the French Quarter though, an area saturated in tours covering all themes and interests, there has been a lack of offerings geared toward children. That is, until Jill Dresser, founder of a former school teacher, began French Quartour Kids.

Dresser started French Quartour Kids in January 2012 and has been taking children between the ages of 4 and 16 on a historical journey that is unlike any other tour available. She delves into what everyday life was like for children – of different genders, races and social classes – in the 1830s, through dress up, props and role playing.  

Her “Creole Kids Tour” is completely education based. Children learn about geography, colonialism and the slave trade, plus archaic medical practices, fashion, daily chores and living conditions.

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This past summer, Dresser launched a second tour which is an adaptation of the “Creole Kids Tour”, but geared toward 4 to 6 year olds. “Tiny Tour” uses a pirate treasure map that covers five to six blocks of the French Quarter – while hunting for treasure the kids learn about the river, the pirates, what people would trade and how people would dress.

Dresser is getting ready to launch her third tour targeted to children in sixth to tenth grades. This tour will delve deeper into race relations, colonial times and the economy.

With 85 percent of her customer base coming from out of town, Dresser’s busiest times is during summer vacation, Thanksgiving and Christmas break. In the quieter months, Dresser is starting to see more and more group bookings – school field trips, church and performance groups. It’s a trend that she is hoping to see continue.

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To learn more about French Quartour Kids visit http://www.frenchquartourkids.com/




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