New Orleans, LA 2/17 - 2/23

2/17 What a day. We drove in four states today, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, all within 350 miles.

The weather was mixed today. Mostly cloudy, temperature in the mid-70's with scattered showers. Actually, it was a good day for driving.

The traffic around the naval air base was heavy, but this A4 Skyhawk flying through the rest area did surprise us. .

We are staying at a KOA in New Orleans. It's located in an urban area about 13 miles from the French Quarter. We're planning on staying here for a week so we should be able to hit most of the tourist traps in the area.
We are looking forward to seeing a couple of pre-Mardi Gras parades planned for this weekend. There are over 50 parades scheduled through March 7th. It sounds like one big continuous party. Since we are planning to leave on the 24th, we'll be missing most of it. This is our choice, we are not party people.


2/18 Today we decided to take a drive in the country side West of New Orleans. There are a number of restored plantation houses along the river in that area. The road followed the river, but due to a 30 foot high levee we couldn't see the river. So we decided to take a road that disappeared over the top toward the river and this is what we found. The river is an expressway for boat and barge traffic. You can see the barges parked by the river on either side of the picture. There is also a huge ocean going ship on the far left of the picture below.

You can move the picture back and forth by holding down the left button and moving your cursor across the picture.

This is the Houmas plantation. The house dates back to the mid 1700s. As with most of these plantation houses it started as a smaller house and then was enlarged in later years. During the 1800's this was one of the largest sugar producing plantations in the country. It was abandoned in the 1920's and the land was sold off, with the exception of about 10 acres around the house. It was purchased in 1940 by a New Orleans orthadonist and was restored to its present condition.

2/19 We spent most of today wandering around the French Quarter in New Orleans. The French Quarter is fronted by the Mississippi River and is about 70 square blocks. We really did have the feeling that we were in a time warp as we walked the streets. However, it ends quickly when you go into any of the stores. They cater to tourists and just about all of the sell the same trinkets. Of course there are the numerous restaurants featuring cajun cooking, the walk-up bars that serve you drinks in plastice take-out cups, and the skin district on Bourbon Street.

This is the oldest continually used bar in New Orleans. It was built in the 1700's and looks like it hasn't had much maintenance since it was built.
Each block had it's unique sidewalk entertainment. Here are examples of two bands; one group wearing uniforms and the other just a pickup band. Both of them were very good.

There were also the individual performers. The angel on the left who was frozen in time and the robot imitator on the right who interacted with the audience. He moved in jerky motions with accompaning whirring sound. A real crowd pleaser. The funny part for us is we saw the same guy in St. Augustine. He had come north for the Mardi Gras.

2/20 Today was a little cooler than it had been so we decided to go to the zoo. Here Susan is able to get up close and personal with one of the elephants as she asks questions of the trainer.


This is a habitat zoological park so the anmals are shown in a simulated natural habitat. The attractions vary from hissing cockroaches to white tigers.

We were one of few adults that were not accompanied by at least one child. Of course we are childlike anyway and ended up spending over four hours in the park today.

2/22 We toured the Mardi Gras World where they build 80% of the floats in the parades. Here Susan is trying out one of the costumes.

You can move the picture back and forth by holding down the left button and moving your cursor across the picture.

You can move the picture back and forth by holding down the left button and moving your cursor across the picture.

It wouldn't be a trip to New Orleans if we didn't visit one of the unique cemetaries in the city. Since the water table is just below the surface, corpses must be interred above the ground. Each of these units can, and do contain multiple caskets.