Category Archives: Louisiana

5 days in the BIG EASY

NOLA 12

There are not many big cities on our list of things to see and do while we are away for 8 months – I guess that is somewhat telling about our interests… we are just not big city people. Our stop in New Orleans was all about history and culture – closing off our work on American History, experiencing the mighty Mississippi River and learning about the southern culture through food and music.

To make the most of our visit we stayed at the French Quarter RV Park. As it is 5 minutes north of the French Quarter, it is very expensive and right next to I-10 but well worth it as we were able to park everything and just walk everywhere. It was even a novelty to be able to grab a taxi when it was pouring rain and go out for dinner.

We woke up on our first morning at the campground to this really cool view out the window – the Ghostbuster car! It turns out that they were here for a VIP event at the NADA conference that was in town. You can rent it from Bob’s Prop Shop in Texas…

In order to get a history overview and see as much of the old city as possible, while still having fun, we did a bike tour with Crescent City Bike Tours. Their business is just in it’s first year and is run by a very friendly couple Kristine & Richie and it reminded me very much of Boreale, our local bike company. The tour was close to 3 hours and we learned lots of neat facts while seeing some great architecture and being active. The pace is quite easy and the bikes are big cruisers so it’s a great idea for almost anyone.

Just around the corner from the RV Park was historic St. Louis Cemetery (#1). Right next door to us was the larger St. Louis Graveyard (#2). We stopped into #1 on our way downtown one day and checked out what a historic graveyard is like. Due to the water table here (at, below, or barely above sea level) you are not able to burry anyone underground here. In many cases, families have crypts with up to 8 people in them!

We took a wander down Bourbon Street late in the afternoon one day to get a sense of the area without the chaos of the evening crowd. At 5pm things were definitely getting warmed up. Hunter thought it was much too loud and chaotic for his tastes. I figure that’s a good thing!

One of our outings was on the Creole Queen – a paddle wheeler that takes people down the Mississippi River for history cruises. We went on the afternoon cruise out to the Chalmette Battlefield – site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. It was a sunny day, which was nice after a number of rainy and cool ones. We enjoyed being out on the river and seeing all the boats, barges and tugs. We were really disappointed to learn that the Battlefield site, which is a National Historic Site managed by the National Parks Service, is closed on Sundays and Mondays. This made it a very flat experience with me reading information off my iPhone.

Our culture efforts were focused on food and music.

  • We started out at Mulate’s (Business District) for live Zydeco music (band there every night) and Cajun Food. We boldly got a sampler platter to start with and tried frogs legs, grilled alligator, fried crawfish amongst other things. They also had yummy crawfish étouffée and jumbalaya
  • We experienced live Jazz at Preservation Hall (FQ) and this was Hunter’s favourite and a bargain at $20.00 per person (they let Hunter in free)
  • We did the House of Blues Gospel Brunch (FQ) for yummy southern food (waffles & fried chicken!) and amazing Gospel
  • Cafe du Monde (FQ) for Beignets and Hot Chocolate
  • The Grill (FQ) was an awesome find when we couldn’t get into Deanie’s (FQ) – true diner layout and service, really good food and dirt cheap prices
  • Hard Rock Cafe (FQ) because Hunter really wanted Ribs and the House of Blues was closed for a private party

The absolute recommendations that we have are The Grill for any meal, Preservation Hall for intimate Jazz in a historic building  and the House of Blues Gospel Brunch for anyone that hasn’t done Gospel before.

We spent our last planned day at the National WW2 Museum, which is located in the downtown business district. They have an extensive exhibit section, multiple small videos and then 2 hollywood style movies/experiences. We chose to do everything since we were there. I personally was a little disappointed with the lack of a global focus – it really is about the US’s role in WW2 and there is very little about the events prior to them becoming involved. I found myself doing a lot of explaining to Hunter about what started the war. The scale and scope of the exhibits was impressive and certainly captured Hunter’s attention. We had lunch at the soda shop on site which I would not recommend due to high prices and very slow service.

NOLA road closures jan 29th

Our 5 days actually turned into 6 thanks to Winter Storm Leon (I didn’t know that they named winter storms like they name hurricane’s). It rolled in on Monday night from the west (the direction we are going) and brought snow, freezing rains and high winds, which resulted in road closures, school closures & city shut downs. We hunkered down all day Tuesday and then decided to venture out on the back roads Wednesday to try to make some progress towards Texas. It only took us 6 hours to travel 200 miles…