About a month ago, Hubby and I made our first trip to New Orleans. I have to say that we both really loved the city. From first stepping foot in New Orleans, it’s obvious it’s a city rich in history, mystique and charm. You can easily see and experience the Creole and Cajun influences and traditions, although, Creole is probably more prevalent. The Big Easy is definitely a unique blend of cultures and heritage that make up this lively city. I can’t wait to go back, again.
Some of the highlights from our trip:
We had a few rides on the St. Charles Street car and saw the gorgeous mansions running along the avenue. We hopped off and ventured around for a self-guided walking tour of the Garden District to see more old yet beautiful Victorian mansions and Lafayette Cemetery. For some yummy grub, we headed uptown.
During the day, we checked out the French Quarter’s shops, especially the Voodoo ones, and had a few beers while we walked (got to love public alcohol consumption). We had the most delicious dinner at NOLA and R.E.M. was dinning at a nearby table- apparently in town for a concert. Following dinner, we went to a jazz club which had playing a fantastic three piece jazz ensemble. Bourbon Street was hopping at night with people ready to party for Halloween.
A day later and a stroll over to Jackson Square yielded a nice view of St. Louis Cathedral and the Mississippi River followed by indulging in some delicious beignets.
One day we ventured out of the city for a swamp tour and to visit some old plantations. We opted to visit a Creole plantation, Laura, and learned about the Creole family and the history of the plantation. They had a lot of preserved artifacts from the family and the slaves who worked the plantation.
One of my favorite things we did while in NOLA was a swamp tour on an airboat- like the ones in the everglades. Those things can go fast and they move without much water. We saw heaps of gators, turtles and birds. The bayou was actually quite pretty and had such unique trees with the hanging moss- it really was quite magical.
On our last day, we wanted to see some of the areas ravished by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We headed to the Lower 9th Ward and we saw the devastation immediately. The area was like a ghost town- really depressed and shattered. It was a sad sight but more so because after three years Katrina wrecked havoc, our government has done very little to help this area and it’s people. Street after street, block after block, homes are destroyed and uninhabitable. For those who have returned, many are just trying to piece together their home. There was an occasional sign for Habitat for Humanity or some missionary charity working on various housing sites but it will be such a long time before this area is revitalized.
We did see some of the green homes Brad Pitt’s charity, Make It Right Foundation, has been building. I’ve seen them on the TV and for some reason was led to believe there were a lot of them. Unfortunately, seeing them in person revealed there are only six green homes built. The foundation has raised funds for about 85 homes with the hopes of ultimately reaching 150 homes. I’m happy there’s a foundation focused on rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward, but unfortunately, I suspect it will be many years before they are all completed.