Wednesday, October 14, 2009

OCT 14 - NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

We only had to drive 120 miles to New Orleans and arrived before noon. Driving in on the I59/I10, we crossed Lake Pontchartrain over huge bridges approx 15 miles long and there were many of these bridges on each side of us, and more being built and some being repaired from Katrina damage. We saw some of the homes devasted by Katrina when the levies broke. Some have been repaired and some just remain empty in ruin. Our French Quarter RV Resort is only 4 blocks from the French Quarter which is really convenient. It is a beautiful RV park with paving block sites with grass and a pool, exercise room, etc. However, it has high walls with razor wire on top as we are definitely "in the hood". The ghetto projects are nearby and we were told not to walk the 4 blocks at night to the French Quarter and to stay out of certain areas.
We entered the nearby St. Louis Cemetery as the graves in New Orleans are unique. The city is below sea level and bodies must be buried in crypts above ground.
As family members are added, they are put on top and the lower "tenants" decompose down. The crypts are all very close together and it is a real maze to walk around.
The French Quarter is very old and was not affected by Katrina. It is a mixture of history, music, bars, restaurants, stores and some very seedy areas. What I love about it, is that you can always find hidden spots that are charming. If you look into a walkway, you may see an inside courtyard filled with tropical plants and flowers. The ironwork on balconies is beautiful and intricate and many balconies are overflowing with plants and flowers. This is Music Legends Park on Bourbon Street.
This is courtyard of Pat O'Brien's pub/restaurant - we came back the next day and had spicey jambalaya for lunch.
Many tacky tourist stores but also some beautiful antique stores. Also walked by a really seedy area with adult live shows and the girls would stand in the doorways in very skimpy outfits. One gal had no top on and was just holding "the girls" with her hands.
Love the fresco on this hotel.
We stopped for lunch and sampled some catfish, shrimp and Barry even had an alligator burger (he said it really does taste like chicken!). The whole time we were there I saw these 3 police officers across the road chatting, I thought it was interesting they used a golf cart.
These street performers put on a great show and I took a couple of videos that are on the bottom to view. We found out that "Dixieland" came from a local bank's $10 note with the french word "dix" for 10 printed on its face, the area became know as "the land of dix" which eventually shortened to "Dixieland".
Love the iron work and plants on this building we saw on the way to Cafe du Monde just across from Jackson Square.
Enjoyed cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. The powder-covered donuts are very messy to eat but yummy. While we sat there, a busker sang without music and he was pretty good.
Tired and walking back to our RV, it began to downpour. This happens often here and luckily there are many balconey overhangs to wait under until it passes. We then noticed a "Maskarade" shop with amazing hand-crafted masks. Lana found a fabulous feathered mask and Barry said that was one expensive rain storm.

Another pretty balconey.













Loved this pretty row of colourful houses. We also saw many row houses with shuddered doors and windows - not sure if it was to keep them cool or for safety, perhaps both. We were happy to get back and later sit outside as it has been awhile since we had warm evenings. videoHere's a sample of the New Orlean's style street performers that we enjoyed.

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