HEADING TO NEW ORLEANS
Trip Start Nov 01, 2010
4Trip End Nov 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
FOUNTAINBLEAU STATE PARK, MANDEVILLE, LA
We headed down towards Birmingham Ala by way of Atlanta. Spent our first night at a Flying J truckstop. The parking lot was empty for MHs, so we picked a spot, parked, fixed dinner, watched TV and went to bed to the sounds of nearby trucks and lights from the lot. (Not the same ambience as anchoring out but the price was right). Next morning we had a 5th wheel on one side of us and a school bus/converted camper on the other. The rest of the vast parking lot was empty! Safety in numbers???
We headed out around 9:00AM going toward Birmingham. The weather was rainy but otherwise not too bad. We came through Birmingham and decided to go all the way to New Orleans. Originally I had us leaving on the 2nd an taking two days to get to NO, we were way ahead of schedule!
Arrived at Fountainbleau State Park, Mandeville, LA around 6:00. This state park is on the western side of Lake Pontchartrain but looked like a good spot on the internet.
Hurricane Katrina did a number on the trees in here. Many large oaks are shortened and trimmed substantially! This park does sit right on the western side of Pontchartrain so no mercy with the storm.
We settled in and had a restful night. Since we are now on Central Time, all the TV shows are an hour earlier. I thought I went to bed at 11AM but Dave had not adjusted the clocks back so fell asleep around 10PM.
Took the 30 mile causeway across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans. It was quite a ride across this large bayou.
Lake Pontchartrain was named for the Count de Pontchartrain who served as minister of finance during the reign of France's "Sun King," Louis XIV for whom Louisiana is named. Lake Pontchartrain and the Causeway comprise one of America's most famous scenic attractions. The lake is home to a wide variety of fish and shellfish, ducks and other kinds of waterfowl. Pelicans are making a comeback in the lake as well. Ancient trees festooned with Spanish moss mark the lake's edges. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has made extraordinary progress in recent years in making the lake clean and beautiful. The twin spans of the Causeway are made of preŽstressed panels supported by over 9,000 concrete pilings.
We found parking in the French Quarter and started our tour of the city. Highlights were having lunch at the Central Grocery for our Muffellatta. This is essentially an Italian sandwich with an green olive dressing. It was delicious!
From there we headed down toward Boubon Street stopping at the Saint Ursuline Convent. St Mary's Cathedral was beautiful and a very interesting history of the convent.
The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley and the only building of the original colony still standing. Authorized by King Louis XV of France in 1745, it was originally built for the Sisters of Ursula, who had settled in New Orleans in 1727. The Ursuline nuns conducted a school to educate the daughters of wealthy Creoles. One notable alumna was the Baroness de Pontalba. The nuns also educated Indian and African-American girls in special classes. In that era, a nun, Sister Francis Xavier, became the first woman pharmacist in the New World.
The convent still maintains a beautiful formal garden and behind the main building, there is a peaceful walled courtyard. You can find Dave hanging out with the saints!
From the Convent we headed down to Bourbon Street for a totally different form of entertainment!
Block upon block are various businesses offering all kinds of entertainment.
Al Hirt, Pete Fountain and Antoine "Fats" Domino grace this beautiful garden. In fact, the French Quarter is full of music – each establishment seems to have its own brand from jazz to zydeco. All very lively creating a fun atmosphere as you walk the city blocks.
The entertainment is walking down the streets past the various establishments.
Leaving the French Quarter and Bourbon Street we picked up the St Charles Trolley and headed out to the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery. Lafayette Cemetery, bounded by Washington Avenue, Prytania Street, Sixth Street and Coliseum Street, was established in what was once the City of Lafayette in 1833 to accommodate the residents of the adjacent Garden District. The area was previously part of the Livaudais plantation, and the square had been used for burials since 1824. Laid out by Benjamin Buisson, it consists of two intersecting roads, dividing the property into four quadrants.
The first available burial records are dated from August 3, 1843. Yellow fever victims fill much of the cemetery--241 were buried in 1841; and in 1847, another 613 (of the approximately 3,000) victims were buried here. In 1853, an outbreak left more than 8,000 dead, and bodies were often left at the gates of Lafayette Cemetery.Wall vaults, or "ovens", added in 1858, line the perimeter of the cemetery here.
The Society for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys 1894 was the recipient of many small trinkets and gifts left over from halloween. Imagine this cemetary is pretty lively Halloween night.
Hopped the Trolley back to Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral.
The square was blocked to traffic and street entertainment was at every corner. We decided to have a late lunch, early dinner at Crescent City Brewery where we enjoyed their beer sampler! I ordered Baked Oysters and Dave ordered Gumbo. Both were too spicey for me but Dave loved them.