New Orleans Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
July 1st, 2008 – by: missandrea81
I did drag him out of the hotel at noon though, because I was starving. Again, if we had had a mini fridge in our room this wouldn't have been a problem. We went for a quick sub at Subway, which hit the spot!
We were back at the hotel by 2:30pm. I had confirmation that the Cajun Pride Tours would pick us up sometime in the next 30 minutes. After only 10 minutes their van pulled up and we were on our way. Our tour guide Derick was very nice and you could tell the "Cajun pride" in him. While we were picking up on last person for our tour he got to know us by asking where we were from.
Once we had everyone on board he started narrating the tour. Let me tell you, it might be nicer to get the tour in one of the hours carriages or by foot, by this is definitely the more comfortable way to see it all. It was a hot day and being in a cooled van was not the worst way to travel.
We started out by driving through the French Quarter, down Royal Street and Bourbon Street. He pulled over a couple of times to point out some of the prettier balconies or some of the older houses that had the courtyards from back in the day. He was telling us that back then everyone used to build their houses like that here. The part you see from the streets is only the back of the actual house. We spent quite sometime looking at old building and Derick pointed out a couple of seafood restaurants for us since we had told him that we definitely wanted to have some authentic Cajun food.
After the French Quarter, we headed for the City Park. We drove by the place where the Jazz Fest is held every year in the end of April. We drove by New Orleans museums which are located in or near the City Park and also the Botanical Gardens.
Next we drove along Lake Pontchartrain. I'm not sure if it is the biggest lake in the US but it's pretty big alright.
Here is where Derick pointed out some of the levees and flood walls that broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He told us a bunch of stories about how him and his family and friends experienced the storm. Then he took as to one of the neighborhoods that was completely flooded after the storm. On some of the houses you could still see the waterlines from the flood. A lot of houses had been rebuild though. Higher of the ground, bigger and better! I wanted to see and hear about the storm since I thought it was not right to just come to this city to party and not see this part of New Orleans. It been 3 years but this city will still need a lot of time to recover from the disaster that was Katrina. I feel for the people that lost everything and had to start over.
Our next stop was Lake Lawn Park Cemetery one of this city's many. We circled around it once and stopped near the tomb of Jefferson Davis. The cemeteries in this city are unique. The dead were only allowed to be buried in over the ground mausoleums as to the usual 6 feet under. Reason for this was the high possibility of flood water washing out the cemeteries and the fear of human remains being washed away. We were told that this was true back in the day. But with New Orleans' flood system now (the one that failed horribly during Katrina) it would actually be possible to bury people in the usual manner now. Of course if other families have huge mausoleums, some shaped like a pyramid, who would want to be buried under ground.
The road back to the city took us through the Garden District with its gorgeous mansions. We saw the famous Lafayette Cemetery which was mentioned in the book Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. Derick told us that a little after the movie came out they started locking up the cemetery because people started taking "souvenirs" off the graves, like stone crosses or angel statues. *shakes head* We also saw the house that Jefferson Davis died in and the house that marks the highest spot of the city (from the sea level that is).
We followed the tram line back to the French Quarter where we were dropped off at our hotel a little bit after 5:00pm.
Boy, we were hungry. Time to test Derick's knowledge on Cajun Cuisine. Tonight's dinner was at the Gulf restaurant. (see review)
After our delicious meal we headed back to the room for a little shut-eye.
We went bar hopping that night. Since I was told that Pat O'Brien's was a must visit, that's where we started. We also went to Fritzel's which is almost at the end of Bourbon Street. In between there were a bunch of bars all great, like Cats Meow or the Jazz Emporium.
I know we got back to the hotel OK just don't ask me at what time. ;)
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