25 November 2008

New Orleans

We arrived in New Orleans after a 9+ hr drive at about 10:30pm. We checked into the hotel and decided to go walking around. We stayed in the French Quarter and went walking around the very narrow cobblestone streets down to Jackson Square (named for the victorious general Andrew Jackson after the Battle of New Orleans).

When we got down to Jackson Square there were a number of vendors of sorts with their tarot cards, crystal balls, and such. After bypassing them all we came upon a large number of cats inside the square. We found out that the business owners surrounding the square buy the food for the cats so that they keep the rat population down (unfortunately we did not get any pictures of the rats). If you were to visit the French Quarter and smell the very memorable smells you would know why there are rats! The French Quarter is very charming and a lot of fun to just admire but the smells leave much to be desired.

We stayed in a very affordable and charming hotel called Hotel Provincial. It had a beautiful fountain that we ate our continental breakfast at.

Below are some pictures of the French Quarter streets. The whole area just seemed like a different country. It actually reminded me of the streets in El Salvador but a lot prettier. The colors were amazing and many of the balconies were crammed with halloween decorations, plants, garbage, you name it.

And then there's Bourbon Street! I was recommended to not go there with the kids and I understood that we were not supposed to go there at night. Boy were we surprised. All that I'll say is that if was that bad during the normal daytime, I'd hate to see what it's like at night during Mardi Gras. That's all I'll say. That said, if you could avoid looking at some things it was actually pretty interesting and colorful. The picture of Nicole and the kids below is taken in front of what has been called the oldest continually occupied bar in the United States, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.

Here are some pictures of us trying on costumes, sitting around, having some gelato which is Italian ice cream made from a liquid, milk or water.

In the middle of the day we took the St. Charles Streetcar down St. Charles into the business district. It was a very cool experience though very loud. You can hear it on the video.
Some more links....

Here we are having dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. There was this wierd sign across the street which said, "NO DRUGS OR NUCLEAR WEAPONS ALLOWED INSIDE." I do not remember what store it was for but it was quite funny. Micah ate his pizza right out of the center of the crust. A very unique talent sought after by many.

At the end of the day we took the ferry on the Mississippi River. It is free to ride and so we just got on and rode it across to Algiers Point and back to Canal Street. It affords a good view of the city. Unfortunately we left before it got dark and it is recommended that you ride the ferry at night. Micah was getting all of his energy out by running in circles on the ferry.

Addendum: I forgot to add an interesting tidbit. We went to lunch at a restaurant called the "Checkered Parrot" after our failed Bourbon Street restaurant experience. The food there was wonderful (I had the Jambalaya) but what was most interesting was our waitress's accent. I could not put my finger on it as it sounded sort of like a Brooklyn accent but with some French and Southern smattered with a collection of bizarre phrases. So while we were there I took the iPhone and searched on New Orleans accent and this article came up describing the accent as 'Yat.' That this was the accent was confirmed when we the Jean Lafitte National Park where they had a sound-byte of it. Anyway, it was very interesting.

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