Photo provided by Friends of the Cabildo -- Courtyards and balconies are part of the neighborhood charm of the Vieux Carre.

Few visitors to New Orleans ever get to peer behind her mask, especially in the French Quarter. But Sunday’s self-guided tour of Vieux Carre homes and courtyards offers precisely the sort of insights that reveal the city’s oldest neighborhood to be just that — a community of residents who cherish their homes, each other and their way of life.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Cabildo, the tour, open from 2 to 6 p.m., focuses on the downriver, more residential portion of the Quarter. Six homes and courtyards will be open, and guests will have the opportunity enjoy refreshments at Madame John’s Legacy, which dates to 1788 and is one of the Quarter’s oldest surviving buildings.

Residences on the tour include 1018-24 Bourbon St., a six-bay Creole cottage with dormers and a two-story porte cochere (built in 1832 by a free man of color); 1028 Bourbon St., a 2½ story brick townhouse with elaborate cast iron balcony railings (1848); 1206 Bourbon St., an Italianate double shotgun (1890); 1221 Bourbon St., a Federal style masonry townhouse (1838); 1236 Royal St., a sidehall house in the Craftsman style (1907); and 721 Gov. Nicholls St., a masonry cottage designed by Arsene Lacarriere Latour and Henry Bonneval Latrobe (1813).

Tickets are $50 and will be sold at the 1850 House and Museum store, 523 St. Ann St. Call (504) 524-9118 for information.