Riding through the streets of the French Quarter in a carriage is a fun way for families to experience the sights and sounds of New Orleans. But did you know we use mules instead of horses to pull carriages in New Orleans? A mule has a horse for a mom and a donkey for a dad. They have a better tolerance to heat, are smarter, up to 1.5 times stronger than a horse, live longer, and won’t work themselves to death.
Mules work either a day shift or night shift with each shift lasting up to 8 hours in the winter or 7 in the summer but there is a mandatory rest time between each tour they pull. And, if the temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the drivers take the mules in.
Sure, mules work hard – but they’re also part of the family; their career even comes with great healthcare and vacation packages. Tour mules are seen by a farrier (a hoof specialist) at least once a week and a vet at least once every three months (more frequently if needed).
The SPCA dictates the laws surrounding working mules and those laws are heavily enforced by the city’s transportation board.
Most drivers are assigned a mule long term, and they work together as a team. Visitors are often surprised to learn each mule has a name and a story to tell.
So take a ride and get to know some of the mules (and their drivers) personally while you’re here. You won’t be sorry!