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Old 09-27-2012, 07:00 PM   #136
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Before we left our B&B in Natchez, the owner, Regina Charboneau give us a tour of the ground floor rooms of the home and told us a little about the history of the house. She is a celebrity southern chef and has owned a successful restaurant and nightclub in San Francisco in the past before returning to her hometown Natchez to restore Twin Oaks and run it as a B &B. She had some really interesting stories to tell and the main home was stunning.

It was a 3 hour drive down to New Orleans but the last 40 miles was particularly interesting when the interstate runs on a bridge 30 feet above the swamps for miles and miles and miles. We could see the swampy ground disappearing into the distance and also the homes and boats of the "swamp people" that live in the area.

Elevated highway over the swamps

First stop in New Orleans was the enormous Unites States World War II museum. Both DH and DS are fascinated by military history so this was a must visit for us. It was really interesting for us to get an American perspective on the places that we visited last year in Normandy.We had a tasty lunch in the Stage Door Canteen and then watched their impressive 4D movie presentation about the American involvement in WWII . It's produced and narrated by Tom Hanks and had some pretty cool Disney-like special effects.

It was a short drive into the heart of the French Quarter to our hotel, the Place D'Armes . The hotel occupies the building that was the first school in Louisiana, our room was spacious with lovely high ceilings and had a large balcony facing out onto the street with a view down to Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral.

View from our hotel balcony

Later we walked down past Jackson Square to an old favourite...guess where! They had the usual regional specialties and DH and I loved the Jambalya while DS had the Shrimp Étouffée, both of which are Cajun /creole classics. Very spicy but very tasty :-)

There ARE some disadvantages of staying in an old converted building with thin partition walls in the centre of a busy town...We were woken at about 6 am by someone getting a wake up call next door, that was followed by the garbage trucks emptying all the nearby restaurant bins, followed by the Cathedral ringing its bells for early morning mass, followed by the bellman arriving to collect the bags from our neighbors room and having a long loud conversation...!

Next morning we walked down to have Hickory smoked cafe au lait and sugar dusted beignet at the Cafe du Monde. This is one of THE places in New Orleans that is on everyone's must visit list, the cafe has been serving waterfront workers (and more recently, tourists) since 1850. The beignet were delicious!

From here it was a short walk over to the river where there were a crowd of people lining up for the lunch time cruise on the Riverboat Natchez. On the roof there is an old time calliope and there was a woman playing old time melodies on it with a lot of enthusiasm.

The music was very loud and followed us as we returned back into the French Quarter streets for a wander up the very beautiful Royal Street and the rather sleazy Bourbon street. Royal street has the best of the pretty, wrought iron decorated buildings, most of which house interesting little shops and restaurants. Bourbon street is wall to wall bars that were doing a pretty good trade already on a warm Thursday morning.

French Quarter street scenes

It was really warm and muggy all day so we were glad of a nice cool break when we visited the Louisiana State Museum which is inside the lovely old Presbytere building next to the Cathedral. The woman at the desk was interested to hear we were Australian, she asked if we had seen much advertising about Louisiana back home as she said they were getting many, many Australian visitors recently.They had two excellent exhibits inside, one about Hurricane Katrina and the other about the famous Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras costume

The Katrina exhibit was fascinating, there was one room where they had big screens showing live footage of the storm, strong fans blowing on you and the horrible roar of the storm playing on speakers. They have really been working hard to restore the city but also to look into ways to help the city deal with a similar event in a much better way.

The Mardi Gras exhibit had some fabulous costumes and even a full size float.

Lunch time! So we wandered down to the French Market near the river. Lots of food stalls serving all sorts of interesting food including Alligator burgers, alligator pies and alligator sausage on a stick! DS just HAD to have some alligator... I had a very tasty Cajun hot dog, yummy! For the record, DS thought the gator was a bit tough but quite tasty :-)

French market cafe

After lunch we did a little more souvenir shopping and walked several blocks up to the outskirts of the French Quarter to see Armstrong Park. It's part of the New Orleans Jazz National Historic park and houses a theatre for the performing arts and the municipal auditorium. It's named, of course, for a famous New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong.

It's an attractive park but we didn't stop long as it was very hot and my feet were sore, time to head back to the hotel for a break in the lovely hotel courtyard by the pool.

Hotel courtyard.

Music and performance are a huge deal here. There are musicians and street performers on every corner. In the early evening i sat on our balcony listening to a Jazz band playing up in the square in front of the cathedral. Jackson square is surrounded by artists selling their works and by tarot card readers. Voo Doo is huge too, with many shops selling books about Voo Doo and even Voo Doo dolls and charms.

Sax player in Jackson Square

for our next dinner we ate at Gumbo Shop which serves classic Cajun/Creole food so we were able to try some of the local specialties which we hadn't had a chance to try yet. DS had alligator again, followed by Shrimp Creole. We all LOVE the food! It's definitely been one of the highlights of our time here.

A little evening browsing in the shops and a final walk through the pretty streets . The moon was rising over the statue inthe rear garden of the cathedral just magic!


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Old 09-27-2012, 07:10 PM   #137
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One word.....AMAZING! I am so glad that we have decided to stop here but so upset that we only have two full days, three nights here. How many days did you spend here? The Riverboat Natchez looks amazing, we are doing the dinner cruise on it and those beignets mmm mm mmm! New Orleans looks like it may be the highlight of my trip! Thankyou so much for putting so many pictures up!
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #138
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OK then, New Orleans has been added to my bucket list
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:47 PM   #139
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Yep, New Orleans looks awesome! It's already on my bucket list, but it may have moved up a couple of spots

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:00 AM   #140
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it looks awesome. on our last trip we were meant to go but got stuck in New York with the 2011 Boxing Day blizzards.
telling dw that it is a definite on the next trip
one question - we went to Memphis in 1997 on our honeymoon. arrived at 4pm on a Monday and place was dead. i reckon we were lucky to see anyone out and about in the city. it was eerie. is New Orleans like that during the day in the middle of the week, the pics make it look awfully quiet.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:38 AM   #141
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OMG, loving the latest update. New Orleans is my big regret from our trips to the US, in that we haven't gone there yet. When I copy your road trip in a few years we are so going there.

Funny story, DH was just asking me if i knew what a Po Boy was. I said yes they sell them at POFQ where we are staying. A lady he works with just came back from New Orleans and was raving about them. So then 2 minutes later I jump on the Dis to read your latest update and I swear I stumbled across the picture of you eating at French Market and low and behold Po Boy's were smack bang in the middle of the menu board . We both had a chuckle when I showed him.

I love to hear that there are street musicians everywhere. That is exactly how I imagine it and can't wait to soak it all up. The images of the quaint street were divine.

And the church imagine, no words, oh wait, I do have one - AMAZING!!!!!

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:09 AM   #142
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Fantastic update, Andona. Just love your images and picture telling of New Orleans.

Keep it coming.

Those beignets do look AMAZING!

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:36 AM   #143
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We are staying right out the front of Louis Armstrong park. Do you think that's a good location Andona?
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #144
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Looks like a great stop. So much to see and do.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #145
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Wow. This TR is just keeps getting better and better! DH and I are following along and oohing and ahhing and taking it all in. DH is especially interested in New Orleans as it is his number one spot to visit on his list! He also served in the Army, so is especially interested in the museums that seem to be so good in the USA.
We have picked out some places each where we want to spend extra time and New Orleans is the number one for him! One of mine is Pigeon Forge in Tennessee!!! Can't wait to kick back in a log cabin and watch the world go by!!!

Looking forward to more!!!
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:33 PM   #146
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Your trip is sounding so perfect - and now you have all if us adding New Orleans to our lists!

Loving your photos

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:40 AM   #147
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LOVING your trip report - vicariously reliving the big road trip DH and I did in the early 90's through the US - we did Key West-WDW-Atlanta-Memphis-N'awlins too - totally fell in love with New Orleans and went back once since - would love to go again one day - when the kids are older maybe, as it is kind of a "grownups place" lol....
Can't wait to see your pics as you head West - and continue down memory lane...
Happy trails!
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:44 AM   #148
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Its amazing driving along the highway surrounded by water our kids wanted to turn around and go back so they could see it again
your update looks like your having an amazing time
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:57 PM   #149
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Great update yet again!! Fabulous photos, too!
New Orleans has always been on my list to visit, but I've never got there! But I think it will be soon!!
Thanks for letting us tag along!

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:03 AM   #150
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love, love, love this TR.

new orleans is also on my bucket list. carlo and i keep adding things to our 2014 trip so now it includes going back to nyc, hitting up chicago and new orleans and going to wdw for star wars weekends and a 7 night cruise on the fantasy.

that's going to be one hell of a $$$ trip

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