New Orleans

IMG_881824 October

After our few days in Memphis we have a long journey today with a cloudy sky keeping the sun from making the car journey hot and sticky, down the I-55 towards New Orleans. The cloudy sky is welcome but the forecast for New Orleans is not good with rain for at least two of the days. Oh well, we can’t do anything about it.

Giani building apartment
Giani building apartment

Our apartment is in the Giani building (which I had booked through StayAlfred.com), a town centre 3rd floor apartment on the corner of Canal Street and Camp Street.

A bit difficult to find the entrance (which is on Camp Street but the address of the property is Canal Street) as a first timer to New Orleans but we managed it, negotiated the two sets of numbers to access our modern apartment.

After both getting some washing done, we are out at 7pm to find somewhere to eat.  What greets us though is a cacophony of sound, a parade of some sort.

Horses in the Night Parade
Horses in the Night Parade

It isn’t Mardi Gras time so it must be a Halloween parade and what a parade, with floats galore, horses, dancers (both male and female), beads, cups and sweets thrown into the crowd and general good natured merriment.

Halloween parade
Halloween parade

The parade goes North along Canal Street and returns on the other side, probably about a half a mile long each way.

Sadly, I hadn’t come prepared so you, readers, will have to make do with pictures from my phone.

An hour or so and the parade is over.

Mealtime with beads
Mealtime with beads

We head off into the French quarter and opt for a meal in King Fish.

Another good meal, the steak was great and service good as well. Food bought for breakfast and we settle down for a good night’s sleep.

25 October

It’s raining! We understand they have not had rain for some time, maybe four months, so we are just unlucky as this is like Isle of Man rain – horizontal – but at least it is warm rain.

Not the best of fashions
Not the best of fashions

Late start and buy ponchos first before walk into French Quarter, stopping first in an up market shopping centre to book a hair appointment for Sylvia.

Try to get on tour this afternoon for town and graveyard but have to settle on tomorrow as today’s is full.

Manage to dodge raindrops to photograph the cathedral in Jackson Square but Cafe du Monde had too long a queue in the rain for us to wait so a nearby cafe got our custom, with our first taste of Beignets which are basically the same as Jersey Wonders but with sprinkled icing sugar on them.

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc

Walking past a very golden statue of Joan of Arc, we browse the French Market housed in a vast undercover long building that is open to the elements on both sides, buying a photo as a souvenir as in all probability there will not be a photo opportunity whilst we are here due to the weather.

French style house in New Orleans
French style house in New Orleans

Amble back past some very French looking buildings, it is still raining and we dodge the showers but do manage to see a wedding ceremony with a jazz parade, Harry’s corner and many other wonderful buildings; too many to provide photos of here – perhaps I will do another blog just with pictures of New Orleans – what do you think?

Wedding procession, New Orleans style
Wedding procession, New Orleans style

Book a City tour tomorrow as the weather forecast is just as bad as it was today.

Book table at Palace Cafe tonight as it is the nearest – despite this we are absolutely soaked again crossing Canal Street, the weather has got worse – rain is now definitely horizontal and does not stop for hours!

Nice meal although a bit pricy bearing in mind what we have paid earlier in the two weeks.

Lovely murals on the walls upstairs, not sure who they all are except that one looks like the former ITN newsreader, Sir Trevor McDonald!

Soaked again when crossing Canal Street back to apartment.

26 October

Today’s City Tour begins near us near us at Chartres and we stop at a few hotels for other pick ups, having to wait for latecomers on more than one occasion.

Abandoned property 10 years post Katrina
Abandoned property 10 years post Katrina

We then have to change buses for the tour proper which takes us past the Cafe du Mond, the French Market, Joan of Ark District and into the Ninth Ward, past some of the devastation still evident 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Tour bus doesn’t hang around making taking pictures difficult.

Regeneration after Katrina
Regeneration after Katrina

Some properties still abandoned and repossessed by the local authority, some still being re-built and some new ones that have replaced damaged ones.

Part of the area is set aside for musicians only – Musicians’ Village – with houses quite colourful in the “shotgun style” favoured locally changing hands for about $75,000 and a dedicated Centre.

Above Ground Gravestones
Above Ground Gravestones

Out of the ward we stop at the City Cemetery No. 3 but as soon as we are out, the heavens open and we have our commentary in the bus, getting out in between showers to go to see the above ground graves – so called because they buy a plot, put a big box, building on it, when some one dies, they leave them there for a year and a day before getting the remains put at the bottom of the vault.

Now off to the city park for a coffee and Beignets before heading to the more plush area of St Charles Avenue.

Sadly, the Windows on the bus were too spotted with raindrops to get good pictures, so perhaps a tram ride tomorrow might be called for.

Street Band sheltering from the rain
Street Band sheltering from the rain

Drop off at Jackson Square for a wander back to the apartment via many boutique type shops selling everything you really don’t need (maybe want, but not need) and manage a few minutes inside the fantastic church.

Ceiling of St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans
Ceiling of St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

Unfortunately, the adjacent museum was closed today.

A good street band on one corner, entertained us for a few minutes although the rain was so bad, getting a good picture without the lamppost was difficult.

Dinner tonight in Domenica, part of the Waldorf Astoria building and served by a somewhat pregnant waitress who probably should be resting a bit more than she did.

27 October

Apartment bedroom at Giani
Apartment bedroom at Giani

Our last day here and at least it has stopped raining. Cloudy and mid 70s temperature outside but of course we can’t work that out from the confines of our air conditioned apartment.

We are told that the ferry to Algiers is free and takes to a quiet sleepy suburb over the Mississippi. The ferry isn’t free (cost is $2 for us and $1 for over 65s) with plain plastic bucket seats on the ferry.

Crossing is under 5 minutes and we get out into an area with no idea of where we are going.  Fortunately, a large map is spotted some yards away along with a statue of Louis Armstrong.

They do love their Dr. Who? around here
They do love their Dr. Who? around here

There appears to be nothing else around here but after looking at the map we head for the British Pub (Rose & Crown) which amazingly has a Tardis doorway.

1950s scene or 2015?
1950s scene or 2015?

Turn left after the Pub and you begin to come across lots of lovely houses tucked away down all the streets including a lovely church, a war memorial and a scene that could be out of the 1950s, an old car and tin bath.
Coffee in the Louis cafe, did he really frequent this cafe which seems to be the only open cafe in Algeria, and head back along a different street, stopping to talk to a local who explains the human involvement in the disaster of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago ( outsiders doing things that the locals said would not work, not finishing projects on time, all contributed to the lake breaching the levees and flooding parts of the city).

Lunch at Huck Finn's
Lunch at Huck Finn’s

Return on ferry and lunch in Huck Finn’s with a cheerful waitress and off to the Green Tram for a ride out on St Charles Street to the end of the line past wonderfully grand houses upon house many of which are decorated for Halloween.

Halloween decorations on St Charles Street
Halloween decorations on St Charles Street

Return immediately at the end of the line, along with virtually all the remaining passengers, and manage to sit the other side so as to see the grand houses on that side.

A small crocodile of toddlers stop and give us a wave as we slowly trundle by and we also pass what must be one of the largest Halloween displays around – it must have cost them a fortune – and back to Canal Street, apartment and a rest pre dinner.

Yet another Hotel Foyer
Yet another Hotel Foyer

Go our separate ways for dinner as Phillip not hungry at he time we wanted to eat and opt again for Domenica only this time, just Sal & I and no alcohol!

Exit through the grand foyer of the hotel ( American hotel foyer’s are often grand I have found ) find Bourbon Street and head back to the apartment for an early night as we have an early start tomorrow on our journey to Kissimmee.

Yes, you’ve got it, there is another blog on the way in a few days time.

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