Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Road Trip, Days 7 through 12 - New Orleans, Louisiana

Week two of our three week road trip was spent in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The hotel we stayed at was dirty and disappointing.  And, Bourbon Street was disgusting.  But, we were determined to make the most of every single day of our trip.  And, we kept believing that there was good things in the French Quarter.  So, we kept walking the streets and looking.  We found the secret!  Keep going past the crowds!

Here are a few of the cool things we saw along the way...

The carriages and mules were fun to see.  And, they're so darn cute!

Jackson Square and the cathedral were neat.  Here's a picture I posted on Instagram...

We went to a harp concert in the cathedral on the first day of the conference.  It was beautiful inside!

I loved that they didn't use a microphone for the harp.  The acoustics were amazing!

We saw a Kora player on the streets on the first day.  It's a harp type of instrument from Africa.  My daughter had just done a research paper on them over her spring semester of college.  The sound was surprisingly rich for how small the sound box/gourd is on the instrument.  Beautiful!

We walked through the French Market on the north end of the French Quarter.  I had expected produce and foods.  There were a few places to eat and some spices and honey to buy but most of the vendors were selling souvenirs.  It was fun to walk through and shop though.

As we headed farther from Bourbon Street and the crowds, the streets were cleaner and a lot more enjoyable to see.  The "iron lace" metal work, the shutters, the plants on the balconies and so many of the details were interesting to see.  There are lots of little shops on the bottom levels.  The upper levels are where people live.  There are also a lot of vacant buildings.

The northern part of the quarter was so much cleaner and nicer.  We liked it a lot better up there.  We found out later that the north end is where the locals go.  Of course...they would know!  I'm so glad we figured that out!

When we were on the north end of the quarter, the sky began to flash, rumble and rain.  Better music was coming from the bars and restaurants on that end and at volume levels that were pleasing instead of deafening like in the crowded areas.  We decided to pop into a place to listen to some gospel/blues music and enjoy a drink.  The music was great!  And, while we were there the rain really started to come down hard.  That brought in more people and we all had a good time watching it from inside.

After a while, we decided to head out in the rain and start walking back toward the hotel.  We thought it would be fun to do a little bar hopping too...something we'd never done.  So, we grabbed another drink and sat down to listen to some old school blues.  It was great!

As the rain started to calm down a bit, we decided to take our drinks and keep walking.
It's legal to walk around in public with alcohol there!  That was fun!

We had arrived on a weekend...the busiest and craziest time in the Quarter...besides Mardi Gras.  Things calmed down quite a bit when the weekend was over.  That was much nicer.  We continued to stay away from Bourbon Street though!  Many of the other streets were so much nicer.  Here's one of those iconic scenes we've all seen pictures of.  Pretty!  It was next to Jackson Square and there was a restaurant on the corner called, "Stanley" that a local had recommended.  We were desperate for good, stick-to-our-ribs food by this point.  Let's just say that eating healthy and gluten free in the south is a bit challenging.  Add "affordably" and it's nearly impossible.

We had a window seat and this was our view!  Like a story book!  And, yes, those are clouds.
There was rain every afternoon while we were there.  We enjoyed that!

The food was exactly what we needed...hearty, delicious, and amazing.  Not sure about the healthy part though.  It was corned beef hash that had pastrami in it, perfectly seasoned potatoes, a poached egg, and it was smothered in Hollandaise sauce.  YUM!  It was So good!

Food did wonders for our outlook and mood that day!  :-)

This chalkboard sign was outside of a little shop.
We didn't go in but I thought it was cute.

There were lanterns throughout the French Quarter and even in neighboring cities that run on gas.  They have a small tube/pipe that sticks up from the bottom for the gas and the flame.  I've heard of gas lamps but never seen them...until Louisiana.

This was the driveway/entrance to one of the neighboring hotels to where we stayed.  I thought it was interesting and kind of pretty.  The chandelier in the front was made with brass horns.

There were electric street cars that ran around parts of the French Quarter.  Here's the station near the aquarium and the Mississippi river, at the east end of Canal Street...

They ran right down Canal Street...where we were staying.  There was a Starbucks across the street that I visited a few times.  I snapped this photo one morning to post on Instagram...

While we were there, I really wanted to pop into the Westin at Canal Place...where I'd stayed years ago and was nothing but impressed with.  It was sad to see that they'd redecorated and taken away all of the antiques and beautiful furnishings that had been in the lobby/sitting area.  But, it still didn't disappoint...especially the view!  Check this out and look at those storms in the distance.  Amazing!

Here's a panoramic shot.  That's the Mississippi River to the right, the French Quarter on the left, and the view is looking north.  Click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view.

My daughter got a lot out of the conference and was happy to have gone.  She even got to go to a masquerade event on the closing night.  She bought a mask just for the occasion.  They handed out beads....lots of them...at the event.  She's such a cutie!

I have one more post about one of the highlights of our time in the French Quarter.  So, stay tuned.  Then, we were off to our next destination!  See you soon!  Thanks so much for stopping by!


mamasmercantile said...

Quite amazing, some beautiful sights.

Mereknits said...

I have never visited New Orleans but I hope to some day, the cemeteries are supposed to be spectacular. Glad you are having a great time,

LindaLee said...

Several years ago, my cousin and I spent a week in and around New Orleans, and enjoyed it so very much. The food was amazing for sure and so much interesting history there. We also got out to a few of the old plantations and went through the beautiful homes. Amazing and your post has brought back so many good memories.

Susan said...

Your photographs are wonderful! I feel like I'm there with you. I had heard the same thing about Bourbon Street - I guess the best thing to do is follow the locals. Where to next???

Art and Sand said...

I had to scroll backwards to see what I missed - love those red purse handles.

I love New Orleans with the beautiful architecture, culture and crazy people.

Delighted Hands said...

Beautiful photos! Nice place to visit...