Around this time in February two years ago, we'd flown down to the other end of the Mississippi for a few days of Louisiana culture & cuisine.
It's getting to be that time of winter here in Minnesota, where a hint of wanderlust sets in. We have a trip planned in a couple of weeks, but for now I've been looking through some photos of past explorations, and they brought me back to the bayou.
Louisiana was really a three part trip for us:
1.) Our visit to New Orleans' French Quarter.
2.) Our stay on Grand Isle, barrier island on the Gulf.
3.) Last but certainly not least, the Spanish moss, southern live oaks, antebellum mansions & plantations of the deep south.
Three very different experiences in one region, that I'll share about individually.
New Orleans was founded by the French in 1718 and named after the
regent, the Duke d’Orleans.
Passed to the Spanish for a while, it went
back to France long enough for Napoleon to sell it to the very young U.S. in 1803.
Part of our stay was with my aunt & uncle, who have spent many years in the NOLA area & know it well.
first day there, they drove us north to the city, to visit the French
Quarter. Not the kind of sightseeing we normally fancy, but something
you must experience if you visit New Orleans.
From the river walk to Bourbon Street, there were artists & street performers of all walks of life surrounding us. Music, from jazz to blue grass to classical violin, filled the air.
After spectating over a street show near Jackson Square, we stopped inside St. Louis Cathedral, the city's center of worship for 280 years, and the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the United States.
I was amused at the contrast to the life just outside.
Next to the cathedral is The Cabildo, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed.
The architecture & history of the French Quarter is very charming.
All those balconies!
Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre' (below)
My aunt & I bought yarn at the Quarter Stitch, seen here with a French Quarter Mule.
More musical variety:
There were tubas booming outside the St. Louis Cathedral doors.
We caught a glimpse of dueling copper covered pianos at Pat Obrien's.
The shot below does not include the washboard instrumentalist that was with the group.
Doors at Preservation Hall, below:
"Preservation Hall. Now that's where you'll find all of the greats." -Louis Armstrong
Not going to lie. Bourbon St. was a little much for us.
sounds & architecture are charming, the smell, and some of the
sites, were quite unexpected to my modest self. Most of the time we just
had to keep our heads forward & walk.
We had lunch at the Gumbo Shop. I tried more new foods in just a few days in Louisiana than I usually do in years combined.
uncle Tom was determined that we experience a Louisiana crawfish boil, so we
tried every restaurant & oyster house in the Quarter. There had
been a crawfish shortage, though, and we didn't find any until the next
day in a small town away from the city.
Another taste new to our palette were beignets at Cafe Du Monde, which we enjoyed after dark.
For some reason I didn't get a photo of Cafe Du Monde, but I made up for it in boxes of beignet mix brought home.
We wrapped up our day with more views of Jackson Square, and watched the Riverboat Natchez, getting ready to head up river.
A long & winding way from the quiet Mississippi River banks I grew up on.
Next up: Grand Isle, Louisiana (The other end of the Mississippi, Part 2)