Fleeton Year of Adventure travel blog

Antique street name plaques refering back to the Spanish history

Lower 9th Ward - Hurricane Katrina Memorial - the water was as...

One of the architect-designed "Make it Right" homes donated by Brad Pitt...

One of the FIMA trailers supplied to the homeless who stayed on...

This is the canal retaining wall or berm which collapsed under the...

Part of the musician's village supplied to homeless musicians by Harry Connick...

One of the stranger musician's houses - half way between Christmas, Mardi...

The city is still full of beautiful old homes in many areas...

City Park - the art museum was featuring a Disney exhibit.

River winding through the park - with White Egrets

Cypress Grove Cemetary - one of the fancy mausoleums

Some of the ordinary tombs (ask me about these in person!)

One of the St, Charles Ave. trolleys

Garden District mansion

This nice one is owned by John Goodman, the actor

Facing Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter: the Cathedral...

Inside the cathedral

Maj.-General Andrew Jackson (full size) commanding Jackson Square

Fleet of tourist carriages - pulled by mules.

Street performers and art-sellers abounded.

Creole Queen, our (replica) paddle-wheel tour boat

The Natchez - a real (30-year-old) steam paddlewheeler, in front of the...

Giant navy vehicle freighters - one with it's ramp down to the...

Giant Domino sugar refinery (one of largest in world) - if you...

Site of the 181 Battle of New Orleans (think Johnny Horton here)

Monument to the U.S. Victory over the British.

Leftover soldiers from the weekend's anniversary re-enactment

Plantation house built by free Blacks after the battle

Cruising back to New Orleans downtown

Looking up Canal Street

French Quarter night lights

Typical cast iron balcony architecture

Ditto - many still had Christmas decorations up, others had switched to...

Ditto

Ditto

Yes, there were plenty of voodoo shops

Typical tourist shop - combining the supernatural with tacky tourist gifts

Our bus driver had told us to peek into courtyards - many...

Joan of Arc - the Maid d'Orleans, down by the waterfront markets

The French Quarter - lots of restaurants, bars, tourist shops, and even...


We had a busy couple of days in New Orleans. In order to see as much as possible, in a city where it would be difficult to get around in the motorhome, we spent our first morning on a mini-bus tour. We toured the French Quarter, then went over to the Lower 9th Ward where the worst of the Hurricane Katrina damage happened. We saw large areas still devastated, where whole areas had been bulldozed, and other areas still full of rotting, empty homes. We also saw the canal berms, really just concrete walls, which had burst and caused all the flooding and homelessness. Our driver then took us through several neighbourhoods which had been rebuilt thanks to the generosity of 1) Brad Pitt (he and Angelina have a home in New Orleans) and 2) Harry Connick Jr. and Wynton Marsalis, who built homes for musicians. We then headed back to areas on higher ground, and had a rest break at the City Park, home of a large art museum and children's park, among other things. We then we went to one of the more expensive cemeteries for a tour and lesson in New Orleans customs. You can't be buried underground here, because any hole immediately fills with water. So, they either dig a hole, and build a concrete container rising above the ground to bury someone under the ground in, or the body goes into a mausoleum (only for the rich), or the body goes into a little stone building - and for more details on that, talk to me in person later, but suffice it to say that the building can be re-used. The cemeteries are quite a sight to see, but they don't encourage tourists to go wandering around in them. After we left the cemetery (all stopping to admire the frozen fountain at the entrance as we left), we headed over to the Garden District, where many beautiful old homes are found. We then finished off back in Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Malcolm and I walked around the square, going into the Cathedral of New Orleans. The city has been careful to preserve the Spanish heritage - it was the Spaniards who founded the city originally, even though the French traditions and names have taken precedence now. The weather was still very cold during the daytimes, so there weren't as many tourists and street performers as I suspect there normally area. We had planned on taking a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez, but it turned out to be under repair. Instead we ran and got on the Creole Queen (another reproduction) instead, and found out after boarding that it was going on a special trip. We went down-river, with the captain giving descriptions of what we were seeing as we went, and ended up at the site of the Battle of New Orleans. Unfortunately Katrina had wrecked their National Park visitor centre so there wasn't as much to learn there, but fortunately they had just finished celebrating the anniversary of the battle the day before. Every year they do a re-enactment of the battle with volunteers in costume, complete with cannons, horses, tent-camps, etc., and there were still men in uniform on site for us to appreciate. After our visit we reboarded our paddlewheeler to return to the city centre, and then Malcolm and I walked over to a seafood restaurant for some authentic New Orleans food. (Yes, everything was spicy, but good.) It was dark by the time we walked back to our RV park, but wasn't worrying at all. This morning we got up (eventually) and walked over to the French Quarter again to walk the streets we had been driven on yesterday. We poked into many little shops hunting for treasures, and tried the beignets (typical New Orleans-French pastry, highly over-rated!) The French Quarter has many beautiful old buildings, and some not so well preserved. There are fancy shops and restaurants, and tacky voodoo and souvenir shops. There are many little bars and music clubs, not too mention a whole block of Larry Flynt's porno clubs. Every corner brings something new!

Tomorrow we move on, to more Civil War history up the river.



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