Another major stop on our Most Excellent Adventure was Louisiana! My sister-in-law’s son and his family live in Houma, LA, so we spent about 10 days there, which gave us lots of time to spend with family and to explore! Three major items were checked off my Bucket List while we were in Louisiana – I visited New Orleans, I spent time in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, and I took a ride on a steamboat on the Mississippi River….and did and saw everything that those things had to offer, as well as other things closer to Houma!
Houma is about an hour from New Orleans. I made the drive to The Big Easy on three days – once with the entire family, once to spend the day with a dear old friend who lives right outside New Orleans in Metairie, and once on my own. Each day was filled with wonderful adventures and amazing food! On the first day, we walked from downtown New Orleans and all along the main street through New Orleans to the dock where we got on the river boat cruise. On the second day, my friend and I wandered all around the French Quarter. Then, on the third day, I took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour that took me absolutely everywhere that New Orleans had to offer. So, between the three days, I don’t think I missed anything!
It was mid-September and it was HOT in Louisiana – everything we did involved walking in the heat. It rained off and on, but not enough to ruin our fun…..and it did little to ease the heat and just added to the humidity! But, I still enjoyed every minute of it……I loved the French Quarter and the history and the food and the music…..it was an amazing adventure that I am so glad I got to experience! I also made a two day side trip through Mississippi and Alabama to Pensacola, FL, but that will be my next post…..this one is devoted just to Louisiana!
Here we go:
This is the family…..by now, you must recognize the right side of the table – Lylace, Donna, me, and Kevin! On the left side is Lylace’s grandson, Luke, his dad (Lylace’s son), Sean, his wife, Anna, and their daughter Lily. We were having lunch in New Orleans at a place called Huck Finn’s — OMG, DELICIOUS!!!
I had the Jambalaya Wrap — it was soooooo good – just the right amount of heat!
Later, after the river cruise, we stopped for Beignets…..hot, fresh, fluffy, sugary……heaven!!!
The next day when I sent in to visit with my friend, Russ, we found a cool little place on Bourbon Street and had Shrimp Po-boys! The shrimp was perfectly cooked and crunchy with a nice little kick to it!
Me and my friend, Russ……Russ and I went to school together and I always enjoy seeing him when he comes home to visit, but it was extra special to get to see him in New Orleans!
On the day I was on my own in New Orleans, I stopped at a crepe cafe and had these wonderful crepes for lunch – they were called “The Lucy” and were stuffed with fresh strawberries and amaretto custard and topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar and more strawberries…..YUMMY!!!
The family all went to a little place called Bayou Delight just outside Houma for dinner one night – it is set on a bayou and serves Cajun and Creole cuisine. They were recommended as a place with amazing fried chicken! So…..duh…..we had the fried chicken…..and it was incredible!!! Crispy, spicy breading and moist, tender, juicy chicken…..soooooooo good!!!
This is Bayou Black – the bayou that ran behind the restaurant
And just one of several alligators we saw swimming around……
…..and sunning themselves on the decks!
There was even this harmless one carved in the root of a tree……it gave me a start when I saw it out of the corner of my eye as we walked from the decking to the restaurant entrance!
And, on to New Orleans and the French Quarter! I always think of New Orleans as being just the French Quarter – guess I never really thought about it being a big, modern city, as well……there is a lot more to New Orleans than just the French Quarter, but I didn’t spend much time touring the rest of the city.
We had a wonderful time on the river cruise…..but, I won’t go into that – scroll down to the MEA post dedicated to the Mighty Mississippi River for photos of that adventure!
What a motley crew……ready to board a steamboat for a ride on the Mississippi!
There was music…..blues and jazz…..EVERYWHERE!!! LOVED IT!!!
This little guy danced for spare change……sad to see a kid hustling, but he wasn’t the only one we saw!
We were even lucky enough to get to see a little parade…..from the looks of the sign, I guess it was to celebrate the girl in the center’s birthday! I understand you have to get a permit to close off a street for a parade like this and it is usually reserved for weddings and funerals, but other celebrations occur on occasion…..so glad we got to see one! 🙂
There was music and dancing and umbrellas…..it was sooooo cool!!!
Throughout the French Quarter, we found people who pose like statues with buckets for money in exchange for the photo op! They pose and just stay there still like a statue for hours!
This one was my favorite!
There were real statues EVERYWHERE – memorializing EVERYTHING!
This is Joan of Arc
St. Louis Cathedral with a huge statue of President Andrew Jackson
A mass letting out at St. Louis Cathedral
One thing I had ample opportunity to try, but just couldn’t make myself do it, was alligator meat! Everywhere we went, there was alligator of some kind on the menu…..right along side LOTS of variety of seafood and southern comfort food!
I imagined alligator to be a tough, dry, chewy meat…….but, I’m told I should have tried it cause it is actually quite tender and delicious – tastes like chicken! I guess I’ll never know…..
Mardi Gras beads can be found hanging from trees all over the city!
So many bridges to get just about anywhere……this one crosses the Mississippi River……others cross other parts of the delta and inlets of the Gulf of Mexico
One of the stops on the trolley tour I took was Mardi Gras World……they work year round to make floats and accessories for Mardi Gras – it was fascinating!
Most people associate the phrase “Who Dat” with sports, but it actually got its start in New Orleans back in the traveling minstrel days. A comedian was being heckled and he looked out into the audience and said “Who dat think we stink?” and the heckler responded with “We do. That’s who dat think you stink.” and it became a running gag and many performers put plants in the audience to get the gag started.
A particular thrill for me was to tour St. Louis Cemetery #1. This is the oldest and most famous of the currently existing cemeteries in New Orleans. It was established in the late 1700s and still has several burials a year. It is located on Basin Street in New Orleans and is 8 blocks from the Mississippi River and one block from the inland border of the French Quarter. It is the cemetery where famed Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau is interned in a family crypt. The cemetery used to be open to the public, but vandals – in particular damaging Marie Laveau’s resting place – caused the Arch Dioceses and the city of New Orleans to decide to require entrance only with a tour guide and the gates to be open for tours only during limited hours. Therefore, it is the only cemetery in New Orleans that has a tour fee ($20) and is accessible only via guided tours.
Because the city is right at sea level, burials can not be underground – they must be in above ground crypts or mausoleums.
Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau’s family crypt
This one really stands out…..not the style of rest of the cemetery…..well, it is actually the future resting place of Nicholas Cage!!! He loved New Orleans so much that he bought a plot in this historic cemetery and built this crypt on it for himself. It still belongs to him, despite his recent bankruptcy woes, because the courts can not attach debt liens on burial plot real estate! There are rumors that he stashed treasures in it, but we were told that is not true – it is, in fact, empty and awaiting his future arrival!
And, finally, this sculpture was done after Hurricane Katrina – it represents how the world viewed New Orleans after the hurricane devastated the city and was made with remnants from the disaster!
So…..that was Louisiana! Next up will be my side trip through Mississippi and Alabama to Pensacola, FL.