New Orleans, May 2013. A fun trip, but not exactly what I was expecting.
After arriving in NOLA early afternoon, we stopped for a quick lunch and wandered off to Jackson square to meet with friends. Our day consisted of walking the square, browsing the street vendors and the many forms of art. We also visited The St. Louis Cathedral and the Louisiana state museum where there was a great exhibit on Katrina, the horrible devastation it caused and how the city is continually working to rebuild itself. There were also exhibits including many extravagant costumes used in the Mardi Gras parade.
That night, we went off the beaten path to a blues festival called the “Bayou Boogaloo” in one of the mid-city neighborhoods. The festival had about 3 bands playing, had a variety of food and it was free!! I took a photo of this very cool tree I saw on the fair grounds. It’s a real tree, all hand carved!
Our next day was quite an adventure. We went on two tours, a cemetary tour and a strange-true-tour. Both were very intriguing, to say the least. Our tour guide, Rev. Jeffery, was very entertaining and kept the stories very lively. The cemetery tour took us to the St. Louis Cemetery #1, where we visited the grave of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and Nicholas Cage (not yet buried), among other burial sites. Although the above ground burials may be interesting for some people (very unusual in the US), the burial methods are very similar to those in Italian or European cemeteries where I visit my grandparents whenever we go to Italy. At night, we went on the strange-true-tour where we visited some of the prominent homes and establishments in the area. We heard stories related to those buildings and the people who once owned or lived in those homes. http://strangeneworleans.weebly.com/cemeteries.html In between both tours, we did quite a bit of walking along the Mississippi and in the French Market, had Beignets at Cafe’ Du Monde, went for an fantastic early dinner which included raw & cooked oysters, crawfish and shrimp..I never thought I would eat crawfish but it was really good!! Who new? I wish I had taken a picture of the platters when they came out of the kitchen, they were amazing!
With all the events of the day…. leading to Bourbon Street at night. Can you say…WTF??? Really? What a mess! By 10 pm, it was wall to wall people. We could barely walk down the street, people were hanging around at the balconies above the street…my biggest fear was someone puking down on us!! I only wanted to sit in a club and listen to some zydeco or blues….that was impossible. All I heard was BOOM, BOOM, BOOM coming out of all the clubs..nothing I wanted to listen to. Everything stunk of puke, beer or piss, and people were falling around everywhere. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough…thankfully, our friends had enough as well…and so ended my adventure on Bourbon street!!! Ha, those days are so over!
And finally on our last day we went off to explore the Garden District. There were plenty of fragrant flowers and beautiful homes. My favorite, and primary reason for wanting to visit the area was to see the home of author Anne Rice – would have loved a private tour of her home, but unfortunately for us it wasn’t being offered!! 😉 I had to settle for a photo op outside instead.
For our evening entertainment, we booked a paddle wheel boat cruise on the Creole Queen. It was a nice, low key tour with a buffet dinner and Jazz music. So, once again I was expecting to sit back and listen to some fine New Orleans Jazz, but that’s not exactly what we got, or not the form of Jazz I would have wanted to hear. It was very old time Jazz, like senior citizen Jazz. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but all in all the boat tour was nice and the friends and conversation were even better!! Maybe next time I’ll try the swamp tour?
All in all a successful trip! Au Revoir New Orleans and the French Quarter!!