Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Orleans, December 23

New Orleans December 23
Going to Louisiana, without visiting New Orleans, is kind of like kissing your sister. So we loaded up, Danny and Janelle, Connie and Gary, our fearless tour guides, and left for a day of fun. Hearing all the reports of crime and seeing the damages from Katrina were two things that weighed on my mind, and while they remained, we managed to have a very enjoyable time.
We started on tour of New Orleans on the paddle wheeler Natchez, riding up and down the shoreline and listening to the guide speak about the City. It was cold and windy, but still enjoyable and I finally got into the spirit of things when the guide stopped talking and they started to play jazz on the ship. Renita was tapping on the deck and for the first time in a while I felt the calmness of the moment. Peace.
We left the ship and went to one of my favorite places, the Café Desmond. A hot latte and beignets hit the spot and warmed my hands and my heart. I remembered when we were last there, listening to street musicians playing jazz, in the hot and humid June sun.
Connie then took us to her favorite spot, the Southern Candy Company. Oh my! The candies were all we expected and we left with a large box of assorted chocolates and pralines. Life is good.
A short walk then took us to the trolley and we rode though the flood damaged areas to Vionnes, an Italian restaurant that had been rebuilt since the flood. AS we rode you could still see boarded and destroyed buildings, along with the water mark from the burst levee. However you could also see much has been rebuilt and signs that the City has rose from the waters.
The food was excellent; we had a great house salad and a thin crust pizza, recommended. After the meal we returned to Bourbon Street via the trolley and walked down the street passing urchins that were tapping, poorly, with shoes capped with cans. It was quite busy, as a Saints game had just been played and lost, so fans were commiserating in the quarter.
The goal was finally reached as Gary led us to the Tropical Island bar where the Bourbon Street Cajuns were playing Josephine Est Pa Ma Femme and Jambalaya. We danced to the Cajun band and watched Santa Claus and an elf gets down and dirty. Before Christmas! We also watched as an old woman in red who walked in, put on her dance shoes, and proceeded to out dance everyone on the dance floor!
She also was dirty dancing with the band. We had a blast but regretfully had to leave and drive back to Grand Isle. A long but enjoyable day. Next time we are going to spend the whole day in the French Quarter, and spend a night. Clear skies.

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