After posting a poll on Face Book on whether or not to go to New Orleans (we were so tired we were thinking about passing up New Orleans), the overwhelming vote was, “You have driven this far, you might as well tour New Orleans”. And taking the poll’s advice, we did.
New Orleans, hmm, how should I put it? First, Dale and I are pretty simple in that our entertainment is pretty simple. If you are following this blog, you will read how I love middle-America and all that it has to offer which is basically simple living. The big entertainment for middle-America is the outdoors; ie., all forms of recreation including hiking, hunting and fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, any summer water sport – well, just outdoors. So it should come as no surprise that Dale and I were overwhelmed by New Orleans.
In an unplanned stop to camp on the water in Navarre, Florida, to a camping “lot” in New Orleans was a stark contrast to say the least. But the campground lot was one of the higher reviewed ones and it was gated for our safety. Does that say something?
Our mode of transportation was the city transit system, which our camp hosts said was easy to navigate in that we hope on the stop right across the street, take the bus all the way down to Canal Street in the city, catch the trolley car and get off at the French Quarters. Yeah, simple and straightforward you say . . . It was a trip to remember, I think we’ll recall the bus/trolley car ride more than New Orleans itself!
Some of the people we asked about touring New Orleans said we should and also stated, in their opinion, it is a dirty city. I found that true. The architecture was as seen in all photographers of this tourist mecca but the photos leave out the “tiredness” of the city.
I loved the jazz we heard here and there on the street; I love jazz. I am sure if we were nighttime lounge folks I would have been enthralled to listen to all of the available jazz but we aren’t ones to hop at night – and we were told it is dangerous and foolish to travel back to our camping lot at night except via taxi. I think the best and safest way to tour New Orleans is to stay right downtown in a hotel; there are so many people out and about at night that I think there is safety in numbers. (I sound so negative . . . but remember, we are simple and not night-lifers and not used to big cities.) We have relatives who have toured New Orleans and they loved it.
We had excellent recommendations to various restaurants for lunch. I read all of the menus on line and settled on K Paul’s because of the fried shrimp po’ boy sandwich. Indeed, it was delicious. Our dessert was at the highly acclaimed and must see Cafe Du Mond for cafe au lait and three beignets – oh, as wonderful as the relatives said it was! And the crowds there were amazing! Cafe Du Mond seemed the place to go!
My other favorite aspects of New Orleans was the jazz, Jackson Square and all of it’s eclectic expressions; I found all of the fortune telling tables interesting and most all of the art work on display was pretty abstract, kind of dark.
And lastly, our very unforgettable Canal Street trolley car ride back to the bus stop to catch 94 to the camping lot. The trolley driving yelling, “BACK! Everybody move BACK! We have more people here! MOVE TO THE BACK!” Ah, yes.
So we started our drive north and we are so happy! On our way to East Monroe to see the Duck Commander, I asked Dale to make an unplanned stop at a Louisiana tourist information building; I kept seeing all of these blue signs indicating either plantations or antebellum houses and I wanted to know what we were missing. The kind folks said Hwy 61 had all kinds of plantations and antebellum homes to tour and recommended since we were traveling north to go up the road to the Mississippi tourist information for maps and where to go.
After stopping and asking the kind people where in their opinion is the “must see” as we are on limited on time and can’t see it all. They suggested to drive into Natchez, MS, which was on our way and to tour the historic downtown district, they felt Natchez depicted more of the South than New Orleans yet had the same architecture and history.
So here we are, on an unplanned stop. We are camping on the Mississippi River and look forward to touring the Longwood House and walking the historic district of Natchez. At the Visitor’s Center we learned that Nachez was one of the larger slave trading ports and through history as the African Americans tried to find their place in free America, Natchez became a hot bed during the civil rights era in the ’60’s.
We’ll visit the Duck Commander tomorrow!