Our day started in the French Quarter, first finding somewhere to park the car. A word to the wise – don’t take your car to the French Quarter unless you’re willing to pay A LOT to park. Once parked we knew we’d stay most of the day to take advantage of the great albeit expensive spot! While waiting for the Gray Line tour of the Isle of Orleans we walked along the water front. Due to the water coming from the heavy rains in the upper states the water is quite high. That was really obvious when we saw a ship coming down the river and it was sitting so very high. We had received some tragic news from home and were discussing it so I suggested that we just sit down on one of the benches and pray and that’s what we did – right there on a public bench with the sun shining down on our bowed heads.
The Gray Line tour lasted over three hours and we saw a lot of New Orleans. After riding through the French Quarter and the French Market we rode through a lot of the Katrina damaged part. We did go into the ninth ward but did not actually go into the most damaged part as that was no longer allowed. We saw many damaged homes, some being rebuilt, some being hoisted higher and some that were ruins.
Our first stop was St. Louise Cemetery #3. What an interesting place. Apparently most of the people in New Orleans are entombed above ground. We were fascinated (is that the correct word) when we learned that many people could be buried in the same tomb although it would appear that only two coffins could fit in there. Beneath each tomb a hole is dug so when the extra coffin is added to the tomb the first coffin can be emptied and the bones put beneath. The original coffin is thrown away and the current coffin is inserted.
Our next stop was the City Park. There we had the famous beignets and then quickly toured the Besthoff Sculpture Gardens. Most of the sculptures were very abstract but it was fun to walk through.
Our next stop was the New Canal Lighthouse. It is not the original lighthouse as it was destroyed in Katrina. Interestingly enough it resembles the lighthouse in Edenton, NC a lot! Outside of the lighthouse is a huge bell that was rung in case the light could not be seen. Believe me, they could have heard the bell. After a short tour in the lighthouse we boarded the bus again and then continued to ride through some of the more prosperous areas of New Orleans.
It was well after lunch when we returned to the terminal so we decided to go in search of the famous muffalettos. After having earlier read the ingredients we were pretty sure we wouldn’t like them but felt that since it was such a part of NO we had to try them. The original creator was the Central Grocery so that’s where we headed. It wasn’t difficult to find as there was quite a line waiting outside. A man in front of us said that he’d been coming for 20 years and these were definitely the best in town so we were in! We only got one and split that and it was quite enough. They really were surprisingly good, reminding me of a sub with very different ingredients, the olive being the most prominent along with the olive salad.
With our hunger assuaged we began our tour of the French Quarter walking in and out of different shops. We sampled the also famous pralines and they too were very good, though pretty sweet. I found a magnet I liked and bought that.
We continued to wander around ending up in Jackson Square. There were several street entertainers at various places, one playing a trumpet. I just sang along with him. No one knew me plus no one could hear me above the buzz of the crowds. We walked through Jackson Square and ended up in front of the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral. Interestingly enough there were a lot of tables set up with people reading palms, doing whatever you do with tarot cards and a magic show among many other things including a band. Kind of paradoxical right in front of the church. We continued to just stroll around and eventually ended up at the Café du Mond for some more beignets like we hadn’t had enough already. They come three to a serving – why did we get two servings instead of sharing one? We had no trouble eating all of them though and probably left with powdered sugar on our faces.
After a bit more strolling we conceded that we were getting tired so we headed for the car. Although we were leaving in the midst of commuter traffic our ride back to the park was fairly quick. Our Internet is to say the least sketchy so I drug myself up to the office to find out what was wrong. Nothing – it’s just not that strong apparently. On the way back I had a brief visit with two Canadian full-timers who are just wandering around with no definite destination in mind other than staying out of snow. They said they don’t even like to tour that much.
Came back to the coach and tried again to get the booster working but was unable to. We had a very quiet night. I tried to work on the computer some planning the next day’s activities and finally gave up and turned on my hot spot on my phone. I am so paranoid about over using my data that I usually end up with lots at the end of the month. Surely wish we could carry it over. I didn’t have any dinner as I was still full from the afternoon. Since I had awakened at 5:00 this morning I was dragging and ready for bed but when I realized it was only 7:00 I kept busy. Finally at 8:00 I gave up. I should be rested for tomorrow!