Today Bill and I took a tour of the City and a Cemetery here in New Orleans. The driver was our guide and he has lived here nearly 35 years so we got an in-depth view of things for many years prior and post-Katrina. It was an informative tour… In some ways too informative.
Bill had never been to a cemetery with crypts and so I think he was fascinated by it. The best thing that came from our tour was the location of a Cuban restaurant in the French Quarter that became our dinner spot. Initially we thought the tour was 2.5 hours and we planned to come home for dinner but the tour ended up being close to 4 hours which left us starving. We hopped on over to the Cuban restaurant that the driver promised was the best Cuban East of Miami. A bold claim I looked forward to testing. We both had Cuban sandwiches and they were fabulous. There is a restaurant in Seattle that CLAIMS to be Cuban food but from what they serve I doubt they have ever HAD Cuban food. This was a beautiful sandwich.
We had had Muffaletta for lunch and Bill may have a new favorite. It may have been the Olive and vegetable marinated mix on the tasty Sicilian meats and cheeses.
The best thing I have enjoyed here is the food. Crawfish Etouffee, The po-boys, the muffaletta. Just great food all around.
No we are not in New Orleans at the right time of year to partake in any of the Mardi Gras festivities. However we did spend a few hours at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World today. Mardi Gras World makes the vast majority of the floats, props and sculptures that make the Mardi Gras parades what they are. Blaine started working on Mardi Gras floats in 1947.
We started our tour in a room that had some props and costumes that have been used in parades. We then watched a movie that explained a lot about the history of Mardi Gras. There is not one Mardi Gras parade but a good number of them that run over the course of a couple of weeks. The parades are put on by individual groups called krewes (pronounced crews). The krewes collect dues from members and run various fund raisers to raise the money needed to put on a parade. Each parade is put on by a single krew. The larger parades are put on by the super krewes which can have around 2500 members. In addition to paying dues krew members pay for the items they throw from the floats during the parades.
After the movie we had a piece of King Cake and then moved into the work area of the factory. The props (items that go on the floats, etc.) are made in a few ways. Some are made by putting paper mache over a frame, others are sculpted from Styrofoam covered with paper and then painted, and others are molded from fiberglass. The props are stored and refashioned and re-used when possible. Mardi Gras World has about 20 warehouses full of floats and props going back about 50 years.
Mardi Gras World - heads
The krewes come to Mardi Gras World the week after Mardi Gras day to start the work for next years parade. The krew has an idea for a parade theme and start working with the artists at Mardi Gras World producing sketches. The sketches eventually end up as full color drawings like the one shown here that the sculptors and painters work from.
Mardi Gras World - Float Sketch
We then moved into an area where the floats are assembled. Looking down the row of beautiful floats was amazing.
Mardi Gras World - Jester Float
Mardi Gras World - Flower Float
Mardi Gras World - Devil Float
We took about 185 pictures since I could only add a few to this blog you can go here to see them all – Mardi Gras World Pictures
Today we drove out to Barataria Preserve National Park, part of the Jean Lafitte National Park. It is a large Swamp Preserve with some hiking trails. We drove down and grabbed my hiking poles and off we went. We only went on a 2-mile roundtrip trail but it was a beautiful day and so we started over to the Battlefield where The Battle of New Orleans was fought. Unfortunately they close earlier than we expected so we will be down in that are tomorrow.
Beautiful walk through the swamp that made me feel like home.
Yesterday we moved things around in Serenity, pulled the slides in and continued our trip east. We had an easy travel day since we were only going about 140 miles down the road to New Orleans. After we got set up in our new RV park we headed out to grab some dinner.
We used a Groupon we purchased a few days ago knowing we would be in New Orleans. This Groupon gave us $30 of food at a local restaurant for only $15. If you have never heard of Groupon it is a very useful site (www.groupon.com). Basically they run a deal in a good number of cities across the US. Generally the deal will save you somewhere between 50 and 90 percent. The deals are for everything from food to tours, spa visits, dental care, and all kinds of things. If you would like to sign up for Groupon you can use this link (http://www.groupon.com/r/uu15209973) and we will get a credit off a future purchase.
After dinner we figured we needed a little dessert. Since we are in New Orleans what better dessert than beignets. And if you are in New Orleans the place to go for beignets is Café Du Monde. The beignets were piled high with powdered sugar and were wonderful.
Cafe Du Monde New Orleans
Since we were in the French Quarter we wandered around some, but it was a bit cold with the wind so we returned home.
Today we went back down to the French Quarter to wander around some more. We wandered around and walked along the Mississippi River for a couple of hours. One thing that really stood out was the wrought iron railings on the various balconies.
Wrought Iron Railings
Wrought Iron Railings
While we were down in the French Quarter we went thru a museum that detailed New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina Later in the day we were searching for a Post Office and drove through an a section of New Orleans that must of have been hit kind of hard. There were office buildings that were empty and missing parts of walls, and houses that were boarded up and missing parts of their roofs. It was really eye opening.
Tomorrow more touring of the area.
If yesterday was slow I don’t know what to call today. Grin
We spent the morning not doing much then went out to the post office to mail a few packages. Afterward we came home and didn’t do much.
We did finally get the manuals for the RV organized. I never saw so many manuals in one place. We have manuals for the fridge, washer and dryer, all 3 TVs, dishwasher, sleep number bed (never had a manual for my BED before LOL) at least a dozen more, and then there are the ones we have for things we brought in. OY! Manuals galore!
Had more Cajun for dinner. Decided we didn’t want to dirty more dishes before we move tomorrow. Initially we were going to get to New Orleans today but when I called an RV park we wanted to stay in they were full but had availability tomorrow so we decided to hang out here another night. A little more Crawfish Etouffee won’t hurt anyone.
So tomorrow we are off to New Orleans. We will be there a week or so and then finally headed down to Orlando to see my darling niece. It is hard to believe she is nearly 3 months old! I cannot wait to love on her. Grin! Happy Monday all!