AmeriCanada 2015.

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. Bob's comments, after Sharon's comments, will be in red.

Day 50. Saturday, September 12, 2015. Nawlins, Yall.

Below in blue is today's travel area. The long straight line ending in several jags and cemeteries, then Jackson Square, is our shuttle into the French Quarter. The Anthony Bean Community Theater and Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar were places we saw when riding the streetcar in the afternoon. The taxi that brought us back to the KOA went up to Interstate 10, then west, then south. {The RV camp told us they had a "shuttle" that would take us to the French Quarter of New Orleans. What they didn't say was that our driver would give us a tour on the way in, giving us history and chances to take pictures. What a treat as we only have one day to spend here and couldn't go to many places on our own.}

Today's report has by A MILLION MILES, the most photos of any report. We just couldn't stop shooting.

It's ten minutes to nine, Saturday morning, and we're waiting for the shuttle to take us down to New Orleans. The weather is overcast but pleasant. Somehow, this cat reminds me of sister Shirley, who loves cats. The two boxes in the second photo are bicycles, just packaged up. There are actually two transports this morning - a big van and a smaller four-door pickup. They start calling names of people who have reservations, and we make the big van.

The girl in the black outfit and the girl to the right of the man scratching his head are from Europe and have just biked from New York(?) to New Orleans. They are going to fly back home. {Hence the packaged bicycles to fly back.}

We're off and the New Orleans Saints football team practices in this building. A famous mansion calls for a stop by our driver, who is talking at 100 mph while driving 35. He is so full of facts and figures that he can hardly catch a breath in between factoids. But it's too much and too fast. After while I have to block him out and just look at the sights.

New Orleans is fascinated with death and the dead, voodoo and ghosts. Here are some of the cemeteries 'featured' on our drive.

There is not much Spanish Moss, but here is a beautiful scene. A biking family is enjoying their Saturday.

My mind is blown at the "Worship the Music" sign, because when you look at the next line, it says "Voodoo Music"!!! At right, they left in place a boat that got blown all the way to this back yard in Hurricane Katrina.

A house that the painter Degas lived in for a while is marked. This is a particular area where houses are brightly painted, but I forget what the driver said was the influence - Puerto Rican? Barcelona? Don't remember. {Spanish, here before the French influence. He said the iron balconies were made from the iron of ships that made it here but not back to Spain.}

Somehow he took us underground. I love the colorful murals painted on the support columns.

The long line of people leads to the world famous Cafe Dumonde, where they serve their world famous beignets (say 'ben-YAYS') for breakfast - well, I guess any time, but we're here for breakfast. The long line is moving pretty quickly, though we're not ready to get in it yet.

I like the horse-ful carriages ready to give rides for $19 a person for a half-hour, commentated tour. {Of course, you can see and we find out that these are all mules as "It's too hot here for horses to do this."}

Before we get in line, we go to a nearby indoor mall for some of us to use the restroom. I do what comes naturally when waiting.

Back out on the street, there are marvelous sights in every direction. Below right is a group of runners in an open-top bus, advertising their race today.

Here some carriages seem to waiting in front of the cathedral. Later in the day, we will take the gold one at lower right.

It's just fabulous the way they doll up everything on the carriages, including the mules.

At first, we couldn't understand how they got today's date on a tee shirt already, but it turns out that it's associated with the charity race today. We finally get in line at Cafe Dumonde.

YAY, Beignets! Yes, that's a pound or so of powdered sugar on the deep fried, crunchy goodies.

I look down and I have spilled powder all over the back of my camera. Dangit. I am able to brush or blow most of it off, but what was I thinking? The St. Louis Cathedral is very storybook-looking to me. Wait. What? Do I have powdered sugar on my nose? Sharrrrrrrrron! {What a treat this was. Nancy had been talking about these for quite a while as she had been to New Orleans and knew this was the place to be for beignets. She had their chicory coffee and Bob and I had the hot chocolate, YUM! Have you noticed we are eating our way through the famous places?} By the way, if you haven't seen the movie "Chef", you are in for a treat. They do some beignet-ing of their own.

After our doughnut-ty like things, we take the steps over the barrier to the Mississippi to check it and the railroad tracks out.

A Great Egret shows how deep the water is.

The Steamboat Natchez is available for Mississippi River rides. I like the big hotel with the "JAX Beer" sign on it.

That train is coming right at Sharon, but at 2 mph or so. No worries. {They yelled at me but I was pretty sure I could get out of its way.}

OK, that's it for the Mighty Mississippi and the train tracks. Back to Jackson Square. Hmmm, can't think what these little twin girls remind me of. Hmmm. Claire and Gvie, any ideas????

Sharon and Nancy want to go into the St. Louis Cathedral, which is actually on the opposite side of Jackson Square. So we head over there. Here's a Mardi Gras dude giving local color.

Sharon shot these inside the building.

I like this bright green against the dark and black background. Here is a Tabasco shop, where you can pretty much guess what's inside.

We are all up and down the streets of the French Quarter, and carriages show up at random times. Sharon likes this rain spout that's a fish.

You can get coffee and a smoke in here, apparently. Love the name.

Yes, Dorothy, there IS a vampire store in New Orleans. Check out the help wanted qualifications at right.

This truck is a permanent advertisement. You need to know some stuff. NOLA stands for New Orleans Louisiana. A Poboy is a gigantic sandwich with a huge sliced roll, then heaped with twice what is humanly possible to eat at one sitting.

The T-shirt is the "before" attitude.

This olde, olde blacksmith shop is a famous bar now. And a sign tells us what Bourbon Street was called when it was Spanish.

Pretty cool killer whale mural in a small parking lot. I love the look and feel of the two and three-story buildings with their ornate grillwork and hanging plants.

I wonder if this mule knows how cool his color pattern is.

Some rich dude marries this lady in Iowa, then brings her to New Orleans. She's homesick, so he builds her this house, adding the corny fence to remind her of Iowa.

I'm a sucker for a good row column-ade.

Sharon and Nancy were immediately drawn to a second-story, second-hand clothing store. {I knew my daughter-in-law, Stacey , would love this store so visited it in her honor.}

While they're inside, I'm watching this fellow move his scooter from this side of the street to the other. This couple reminds me of daughter Tara and husband Cihan.

Here's a lady guide. The mule, I mean. At right is a concrete block cornerstone of stairs going into a building. There is a chip out of it, and somebody added an eye, an eyebrow and lips to make a lady mouse.

The driver has talked us into paying $19 apiece for a half-hour narrated ride. The mule is outfitted with a portable potty - a porta-potty.

We don't know anything about Joe, but he's got some stuff in here. I'm assuming the fellow with the necktie and traffic cone has been drinking, and this is not his normal gear.

I busted out laughing when I saw this fellow's sign. And here's a lady all decked out for the party that is life. {As the day moved on, there were more people in the streets. A lot of batchelorette parties and more drinking. We saw one group that were on a scavenger hunt with the girls saying to men "Are you Paul?" as they tried to check that off their list.}

We skip the House of Voodoo, and also Nola Poboys, whose advertising signs we saw earlier.

I'm a sucker for a clever sign. The fellow at right is a sword-swallower, on a cigarette break.

This is apparently a second-story restaurant or coffee shop. Everybody has something to say about auto-correct.

Sharon took this Chihuly photo, {a famous glass blower artist we like.}but I'm not sure where. I never saw it. And a lady named Lola is running this shop.

Here are two U-hauls and a piece of a third. At right, you can see signs for three restaurants, and ours is the third - Oceana, whose menu has attracted the ladies. {We tend to Google " 10 best places to eat" wherever we go and Oceana was near the top of the list.}

While we wait in line, I catch the back of what is apparently two dead people.

From inside the restaurant, we can see a gator, up on the interior wall. And as we finish up and leave, we see this sign over the bar. {No pictures of Nancy's "Taste of New Orleans" which had a variety of specialities. I had a "Seafood gumbo" just to have the crayfish. I asked the waiter, "how do you get into the claws and such, it is so small"? He said "We just tend to use our teeth and fingers" so I do. Tasty. I forget what Bob had.}Bob forgets too.

This fellow has a need to stop traffic, then give the peace sign as he moves out of the way. {Look at his tall drink glass. I though there were rules about only using plastic cups out on the street, but I guess not.}

 

Below left are four ladies dressed for the evening. When they saw my camera, they stopped and posed, and I missed it, but on the rear end of one, who turned it towards me were words about her dare your air. I love the drippy skeleton.

Sneaky Pete's is a bouncy name for this restaurant. Below right, a beaded gator lets Sharon examine his teeth.

Sharon has wanted to take a street car, and we learn which one goes to the elegant houses and buildings she wants to see. {Again, Nancy had suggested as a way to rest our feet (we had been walking all day) and to see some of the beautiful mansions on the outskirts of town that we take the trolley.} We purchase our tickets and are off. Or on, rather.

Colorful characters abound.

It's hard to see, but there is a jogger just to our left of the railroad track. He was running IN the track, which is how I wanted to photograph him, but he moved out of the way before I could get ready. {We saw this more than once. The trolley tracks run down the center of the street so joggers can run here and be safely out of traffic. The trolley goes slow enough that they can move out of the way when it comes.}

When the driver gets to a fork in the track (take it?), he has to stop the car, get out, get a long lever, and move the tracks so we divert to the left rather than going straight. Awesome.

If you are a normal human being, you will get tired of looking at home after home after home. So if that happens, just scroll down to where that's the end of the houses. {I especially loved the old houses, Southern mansions.}

There are two colleges across the street from each other - Loyola (seen below right) and Tulane.

Coming to the end of the line, everybody has to get off this car, then take the next one back, which may actually turn out to be this one.

And now we're on the return route.

I imagine these two people are talking to each other on their phones. They are just across the street from each other. {No, what Bob said at the time is that they are married, don't see each other and are saying to each other lies about where they are. "I'm at the grocery store, what are you doing?" "Oh, I'm just going into the gym. I'll see you at home." That Bob. Always making up fun stories. And then apparently forgetting them.}

The most famous player on the New Orleans Saints football team is Number 9, quarterback Drew Brees, and as far as quarterbacks go, he's short. I didn't remember him being this small though.

Eyewitness News just passed us by.

I love the artistic gulls or doves on this Jewish synagogue, if that's what it is.

The fire hydrants are all on risers, I guess in case of simultaneous flood/fire.

Across the street from the Superior Seafood restaurant is a tree full of beads and bangles. Nancy tells me that whereas the big Mardi Gras parade used to be on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, now it goes down this street. And beads thrown from floats that land high, stay there.

This is the same guy who was up on the stationary, going-nowhere ladder you saw earlier. I miss a sign on the bucket that says if you take a photo of him, please leave a tip. I don't tip him, and Nancy says he flipped me the bird from his leading hand. Pretty cute, but HEY, you're not supposed to move. {It's hard to tell from this still picture, but he is frozen in this pose and never moves. It's pretty clever and, yes, you're supposed to tip him if you take his picture. Or so he says.}

So the last thing I want to do in New Orleans is listen to some Zydeco music. Sharon gets on the google and learns the name of the number 1 club that plays Zydeco. We take a taxi to a couple blocks from there, then walk the rest of the way. But, What Ho? Cried Daniel, that ain't no Zydeco. We listen for a while, til it becomes clear that the young crowd doesn't want Zydeco, they want the Uptown Funk to do it to 'em.

When we were in the previous taxi, the driver was speaking a language over the phone I had never heard before. I asked him what it was, and he said, "Creole." Cool, my first Creole.

We try and try to hail a taxi from the non-Zydeco location, and finally Sharon makes a phone call to order one. She gives the address, and immediately when she hangs up, a cab appears. We flag it down, then Sharon calls in and cancels our order.

The driver is a young Russian, here with his young family. He is personable and agrees to $30 fixed price to take us to KOA West. But after we get going, he realizes that that's near the airport. He is familiar with that drive, and thinks that is normally $35 or $40. But, he says, he already made a deal for $30.

When he delivers us to the KOA, I give him $40 anyway, including the tip, and he's off. And we're back home.

What a great day. When I first planned this trip, we were going basically a straight line from Pensacola to Dallas, but when I realized how close New Orleans was, I changed the plan to include two nights in NOLA.

That's it for the day. Happy dreams. Yall'ns.

Began: Pensacola Beach RV Resort, Pensacola Beach, Florida
Pass Through: Mobile, Alabama; Gulfport, Mississippi, Slidell, Louisiana
End: KOA West, New Orleans, LA
Miles Today: 0
Miles for Trip: 10,310

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