We left Livingston in our GMC Canyon the Sunday after Thanksgiving headed to New Orleans for a fabulous five nights. We stayed at Harrah’s Casino which is near the French Quarter, Jackson Square, the Warehouse District and more.
It was a long five hour drive through rainy weather. By the time we arrived, we were both exhausted, although the drive was very scenic. We drove over the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, which according to Wikipedia is 18.2 miles and is the 3rd longest bridge in the US . I was fascinated by the scenery – Jimmy was focused on the road.
We unpacked a few things and headed out to a quick dinner at Acme Oyster House – delish!! This was an early-to-bed night in preparation for our plan to eat and drink our way through New Orleans.
The next morning, we walked about a block down the street to have breakfast at Mother’s. This restaurant was recommended by several people, as well as a “must do while in New Orleans” list. Its reputation is well deserved. The food was good and the employees were really nice, even though there was a sign stating that employees could not accept tips.
We caught a Grayline City Tour so we could get our bearings and figure out where we wanted to focus our limited time. The City Tour was very informative, and gave us a great perspective of the City. We stopped for a while at one of New Orleans’ cemeteries. Jim and I walked around marveling at the ostentatious crypts. There was a woman outside the entrance to the cemetery selling home made pralines. Of course we couldn’t pass that up. The bus driver advised us that she’d won a recent praline contest – well deserved winner – they were scrumptious. Of course my hands were too sticky to take her photo
Back aboard the bus for a quick swing through several other neighborhoods of New Orleans, and then a lunch stop at the Morning Cafe in City Park. We decided to try New Orleans’ famous beignettes and cafe au lait. Once again, we were not disappointed. Here’s a few photos from the day
The next day, we shopped the French Market and walked around Jackson Square and the River walk area. We stumbled upon the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and were entertained by a musician performing several songs and giving a brief history of Jazz in between.
We then boarded the paddle wheel steamboat Natchez for a cruise on the Mississippi River. We were entertained by an entertainer playing an authentic steam- driven calliope prior to boarding. The boat was very large – authorized for a capacity of 1600. Quite a difference from the Laughlin River Tours paddle-wheelers!
We hopped on a cable car for the ride back to our hotel – little did we know it only took five minutes.
One of the main things Jim wanted to do was ride an airboat through the swamp, so we signed up for a tour with Airboat Adventures. A bus picked us up at our hotel and drove about 20 minutes or so to a tiny little town outside of New Orleans. They have a pet albino alligator named Sugar that entertained all of us prior to boarding the airboats. She doesn’t look real in the photo, but be assured she’s very much alive!
The airboat tour was spectacular but COLD. Pictures just don’t do justice to the actual beauty of this isolated area so close to an urban city. We were fortunate to be able to see an alligator, but I’d been taking too much video – the battery in my phone died about 30 minutes into the hour-and-a-half-long tour.
That evening we decided to “do” Bourbon Street. After all, you cannot visit New Orleans and not at least see this famous street infamous for its parties. We were sorely disappointed. The street itself is under construction, and because it was off season, several establishments were not open. We did enjoy starting off at the Bourbon House – Jimmy was in heaven. We discovered that we should have stayed there. The rest of the area wasn’t worth the walk.
We spent our last day in this incredible city touring the World War II Museum. What an incredible experience!! We started with a “4D” movie – narrated by Tom Hanks – that gave a brief recap of world events that led up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into the war. The video combined actual footage with seats that shook with each rumble of a tank or a bomb being dropped from a B-52. We spent the whole day, including lunch, wandering through the exhibits and imagining my Daddy marching to Berlin.
All in all, our New Orleans adventure lived up to expectations. This beautiful city was on Jim’s bucket list…one more place checked off. Next checkmark (and blog post) is a 5-day cruise departing from Galveston.