Today, was a 26 hour day (of sorts). First we had Daylight Savings hour gain and then we moved from Eastern to Central Time zone to gain the second hour. That was a good thing, because it got us into the Big Easy before the New Orleans Saints won their home game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who thoroughly thrashed them last time). We passed through Alabama (where we saw a re-emergence of fall foliage color) and Mississippi (which had the most lovely and friendly Tourist Welcome Center EVER – all decorated like a mansion, free coffee, Elvis and movies to watch. It made me feel bad that we were only passing through).
In New Orleans, we didn’t see too much destruction left, but there was evidence of re-building remnants and conspicuous signs indicating that the refurbishing was paid for by state dollars with 0 dollars from the Feds (meant to be a slap in the face, I am sure). We will see what downtown area looks like tonight and will likely not get to see the 9th Ward, which got the worst of it and the least support to date because it generally is not the wealthy or touristy location.
I was deterimined to visit Cafe Du Monde for their beignets and cafe au lait. To my delight, they have franchised, so we found one on the way to our campground and I had my indulgence fulfilled ahead of schedule. I know it was a naughty lunch, but they are SO good.
We hear that tonight will be a wild one in the French Quarter because they won. We came all this way, so we decided to walk a little on the wild side so we are taking a shuttle to the Natchez Riverboat Jazz cruise and then go to the French Quarter to follow. We likely will stay on Bourbon Street, as advised – the darker the street gets the seedier and more dangerous the neighborhood becomes. We thought the bayou was scarey – but that doesn’t compare to the FQ at night. Even the walking tours are cancelled due to the congestion – but I guess this is the closest we will get to the Mardi Gras feel (unless we go to the Rio). I will post more photos and “The Rest of the Story” tomorrow after our night on the town.
Our Night on the Town:
We enjoyed the River-Boat cruise music and the scenery – the food, not so much, your typical “buffet”. But we had quite a good time cruising the Mississippi in the paddle-boat, hearing the history, seeing the engine room, feeling the night breeze and watching the big ships and the lights on New Orleans at night.
We were told to stick to Bourbon Street as the safest option. Not sure that was the best advice because it wasn’t our scene. Raunchy only goes so far if you are not a participant and only a spectator. We did find a few nicer Jazz joints and Music Preservation Park – but there were no seats and the loud music from the bars and strip joints drowned out the real musicians. However, we did enjoy what little we did get to see and got some inspiration for the day from a Louie Armstrong standard “It’s a Wonderful World”.
I did see more drunk and provocative situations than we see in Vegas – likely because the area is more compressed and the sexual overtones are more overt and mixed in with the regular venues. To top off our night, we got a cab driver who got lost and did the same circuit twice (about 20 miles each time) before he would listen to our directions. I know that you are thinking that he was trying to rip us off, but we actually had a flat rate agreement with our campground and there was no meter running, so it actually was costing him money…what is it about men stopping to ask directions?? Turns out his dispatcher knew exactly where to send him, if he had just asked. Oh well, I guess you could say that we got an extra tour for free and saw the Mercedez-Benz Dome (aka the SuperDome) all repaired and illuminated with changing lights – it was pretty. Tomorrow, we head for Texas – Yee Haw!
Tags: road trip