COVINGTON, La. — It’s a silver lining to the cloud of COVID: Now visitors and locals alike can learn about the history of Covington, from the comfort of a cheerful red carriage.
For 80 years, Royal Carriages have been taking tourists around the French Quarter for mule-drawn fun. When the pandemic shut down tourism in New Orleans, the company owners came up with a way to keep people employed by expanding their expertise to the Northshore.
“It’s a little bit different than Bourbon Street,” laughs Hannah, our guide for a 30-minute tour of downtown Covington.
Highlights include the Tammany Trace Trailhead, Bogue Falaya Park, and The Southern Hotel. Guides spew all kinds of interesting tidbits about the places gliding by. The historic trivia was gathered with the help of Covington Mayor Mark Johnson.
“I never got to meet my grandfather, so I think he’d be pretty proud,” says James Lauga, General Manager of Royal Carriages. His grandfather founded the company in 1941.
“You know these mules don’t get enough credit,” says Lauga. “They not only pull our carriages, but they helped build this country, especially this area, they helped build New Orleans and that’s the story that we’re telling now.”
It’s a unique way to spend an afternoon or celebrate a special occasion. Lauga says lots of proposals happen on carriage rides and grooms-to-be, listen up: “They always say yes when you take a carriage ride,” says Lauga.
Even when things are back to normal — or rather, the new normal, the carriages will continue to roll through Covington, and possibly other Northshore locations as well.
The day WGNO Reporter Stephanie Oswald and Photographer Jeff Kent experienced the ride, a pretty mule named Fiona was pulling the carriage. Each mule has painted hooves, which match their sparkling personalities.
Residents and visitors alike are loving the royal treatment! Rides leave from the Marsolan Feed and Seed, right next to the Trailhead Museum. They run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Find out more by clicking here.