NOLA

New Orleans Travel Blog

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Beautiful exterior of famed French Quarter - Antoine's Restaurant

Well, here it is - almost 10 AM and we still haven't gotten our rears in gear to brave the oppressive humidity of New Orleans.  Slept like logs, then had a really terrific breakfast.  The Creole Gardens is known for Miss Annie's great cooking.  That is a reputation that is much deserved.  She is a delightful woman with many stories to tell.  I wish I knew all the right questions to ask.  Of course, like probably everyone who comes here, I had to ask how she and her family got through Hurricane Katrina.  She said she managed to evacuate to Dallas, Texas.  It took her over a year to be able to return.  Her home was under 19 feet of water.  She lost everything.  She is very philosophical about it - that is the only healthy way to deal with such tragedy.

Close-up of grill-work balcony at Antoine's Restaurant

We hopped on the St. Charles Avenue trolley for the ride to the French Quarter.   We walked down Bourbon Street and found it full of schlocky shops selling touristy junk.  It also, it would seem, hosts scads of "adult" entertainment spots with pictures of naked girls everywhere.  It was not living up to the reputation for beauty one reads about.  Once we turned off Bourbon, everything improved, except the number of tee-shirt shops.  There were some nice art galleries, one of which was devoted to dogs.  I snapped a photo of a portrait of a standard poodle, named Diva.  It is a caricature, one of my favorite forms of art.  My sweet standard poodle, Barkley, may he rest in peace, would have rolled on the ground, laughing hysterically.

A portrait of "Diva"
  The balconies on the buildings in this part of New Orleans are truly gorgeous.  Wrought iron is not the easiest medium to work with, but the artists who created these wonders were talented indeed.

We continued on to Jackson Square, fronted by beautiful St. Louis Cathedral.  There is a large bronze statue of Andrew Jackson and the park is surrounded by beautiful buildings on three sides.  Seconds after Jag took his photo of Old Hickory, the skies opened up.  I have never seen so much rain come down in my life!  It poured to the point that the water was running down the street like a river.  This went on for at least 30 minutes.  Even with large umbrellas, we had to seek shelter.  We joined several other people under an awning in front of a hotel.

Lacy wrought iron balcony
  I felt so sorry for the horses standing in the downpour waiting to haul tourists around.  I felt pretty sorry for the carriage drivers, too ... it was just too wet for anyone to want to sit in even a covered carriage with the wind blowing water in their faces.

Once the rain eased off, we looked for a record shop called the Music Factory.  It has an incredible number of cd's of New Orleans Jazz as well as other forms of jazz.  Jag was looking for a cd made by the David Hansen Trio - the men we heard at Houston's Restaurant last night.  We caught the Canal Street trolley out to see some of the cemeteries this city is known for.

Carriages wait in vain for passengers
  They are at the end of the trolley line.  We went into the Cedar Grove cemetary, one of the older ones.  The tombs are all above ground - the water level is only about 2 feet under the surface.  Many of these tombs are very beautiful.  Many were showing damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.  There were a lot of broken pieces of marble scattered around the tombs as well as broken statues.  It is unknown whether the families of those buried in the broken repositories are still alive. 

We transferred back to the St. Charles trolley and decided to have some lunch (at 3:45 pm!).  We decided on an Asian-fusion restaurant near our inn, named Hoshun.  It has been in business only 7 months.  I hope it is successful.

Downpour in New Orleans
  We ordered Hunan Beef and it was delicious.  We also had a gingery salad that was really good.  The interior design is outstanding, combining the modern with traditional pieces.  We want to go out for dinner at a Cajun or Creole restaurant and have received a bunch of recommendations from the friendly residents of New Orleans.  They are such nice people.  We met one gal who works for the restaurant, Broussard's (very $$$$).  She was more than happy to suggest a couple of places. 

One thing I have realized.  I truly do not like to visit cities.  Although many are very beautiful (Asheville, Charleston, Savannah,  Mobile, San Francisco, New Orleans), most basically look alike.  They have a central core of impressively tall buildings, but this is surrounded by big box stores that are the same in every city and town of any size all over the United States.

Tombs at Cypress Grove Cemetery
  Fast food franchises make this a very homogeneous country.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, just one with no real personality.  You might be in Miami, Florida, but if you were in, say, Denver, Colorado, how would you know?   Most of all, the thing that bothers me most is the noise.  There are sirens screaming from police and ambulance vehicles, the roar of those damned Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the rumble of the trolley cars, the blasts of big trucks as they pass by.  It is just too much.  I need some of Mother Nature's beauty and peacefulness. 

Dinner tonight was at another new restaurant, Creole Skillet.  It was excellent.  It is such a struggle to start a new restaurant.  One must be very patient, to say nothing of having good financial backing.  This one opened only last January.  They have not yet established their reputation.  If they keep preparing food as delicious as Jag and I had, that should not be too much longer.  Their prices are very reasonable and that should help keep them in business as well.  Now, if only the economy makes a change for the better ...

 

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Beautiful exterior of famed French…
Beautiful exterior of famed Frenc…
Close-up of grill-work balcony at …
Close-up of grill-work balcony at…
A portrait of Diva
A portrait of "Diva"
Lacy wrought iron balcony
Lacy wrought iron balcony
Carriages wait in vain for passeng…
Carriages wait in vain for passen…
Downpour in New Orleans
Downpour in New Orleans
Tombs at Cypress Grove Cemetery
Tombs at Cypress Grove Cemetery
Remodeled building mixes modern an…
Remodeled building mixes modern a…
Typical French Quarter street
Typical French Quarter street
Beautiful hotel in the French Quar…
Beautiful hotel in the French Qua…
St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Squ…
St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Sq…
Silhouette of statue of Andrew Jac…
Silhouette of statue of Andrew Ja…
Close-up of statue on tomb in Cypr…
Close-up of statue on tomb in Cyp…
Unusual tomb at New Orleans cemete…
Unusual tomb at New Orleans cemet…
Monument to fallen fire fighters
Monument to fallen fire fighters