Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Catching up & New Orleans

Once again I’ve got way behind with the blog, no excuses as to why, just having way too much fun I guess!   So here goes with catching up.

It was late, dark and in places decidely seedy looking, as we drove to our hotel on Beinville Street in New Orleans, the next morning everything looked much better.

For our first day we’d booked a Mississippi paddleboat cruise to the Chalmette Battlefield on the Creole Queen.  Our trip was narrated by an excellent guide who was full of information, there was so much to take in that I promptly forgot most of it.

Paddle Steamer on the Mississippi

At the battlefield an NPS guide gave a short talk on the history of the battle.   Basically, in about 1815 Chalmette was the location for the Battle of New Orleans against the British.   New Orleans won, we lost that’s about all I can remember.

Gun emplacement at the Chalmette Battlefield. 

Monument at Chalmette Battlefield.

Chalmette is a huge place and we only had time to see the small section by the Visitor Centre.   It would’ve been nice to have had time to see more, but the boat doesn’t wait if you’re late. 

Looking across the Mississippi to Algiers Point.

Back on dry land we picked up our ticket for the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus.  The bus travels a set route around different areas of the town and you can get on and off as many times are you like.   Our ticket was valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase. 

Jazz musicians on Jackson Square.

Jackson Square.

We stayed on the bus and listened to the guide as we drove all through the different districts of New Orleans. 

The Garden District.

I forget exactly when, but at some point during the day, we discovered café-au-lait and beignet!   I think absolutely scrumptious just about sums them up! 

Scrumptious beignet.

The next day we took a guided walking tour of St Louis No 1 Cemetery, one of the famous above ground cemeteries, Easy Rider was filmed there.   At one time the cemetery was in such a state of disrepair that you were likely to be mugged if you ventured inside.   These days the archdiocese only allows family members or licensed tour guides to visit, so thankfully we were dodging other tour groups rather than muggers!

St Louis No 1 Cemetery.

Although the graveyard looks small there are lots of tombs, it’s almost like a city and would be very easy to get lost; our tour guide was very informative. Among the many tombs we saw was that of Marie Laveau the notorious ‘Voodoo Queen’, legend has it that if you place your hand on her tomb and make a wish it’ll come true.   As I can’t remember what I wished for I doubt I’ll ever know! The cemetery closes at 4.00 p.m. and it’s definitely not somewhere I’d like to visit after dark! 

The tomb of Marie Laveau.

That afternoon, after more café-au-lait and beignet, they are deliciously addictive, (obviously totally calorie free, we wish!) we took another guided walking tour, this time a ghost tour.   The tour took us around the streets of the French Quarter, we heard tales of Jean Lafitte, villainous slave owners, Romeo and Juliet type lovers and haunted hotels, it was great fun, but as it was an afternoon tour it was all quite tame.

The French Quarter.

Bourbon Street.

While really enjoyed both tours, two walking tours, on what to us was a very hot and humid day was way too much, despite comfy shoes our feet were killing us and we were both absolutely shattered and yes, we did drink lots of water. 

The French Market.

There’s lots more to see in New Orleans and one day we’d like to go back. 

Have fun, we are!

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