Black Skimmers

Black Skimmers
Black Skimmers

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Best Christmas Gifts: Adventure Three

December 21, 2016

Disclaimer: This is going to be long. I had hundreds of pictures and these are the fewest I could not give up. 

My last adventure with Steve and Charie  (you'll have to read the previous posts if you are in the dark here) was a visit to the French Quarter in New Orleans. We left their RV which was parked at Bayou Segnette State Park, a beautiful place, and drove about ten minutes to the ferry dock at Algiers.  We payed $5 for parking at the ferry,  $1.00 each for the ferry, and $.65 each for the trolley we took to the Old U. S, Mint. (This is the old fart fee.  If you are unfortunate enough not to be this fine, you will have to pay about double.) And the ferry is the BEST way to see old the Old New Orleans skyline.

New Orleans from the ferry

Sharing the Mississippi River with other ships

View of the Paddlewheeler, the Natchez

That strange green structure is part of the aquarium

A lovely church that we didn't have time to visit

It's going to be a beautiful day
We wanted to visit the new Jazz National Park, which is a concept park and currently  housed in the Old U.S. Mint. Hence the ferry ride. When we arrived, we found out about a tour and a concert and made plans to attend both. Then we spent a good part of the first hour enjoying the mint.

Some of the old scales used in producing coins

A huge coin press

This was used to make counterfeit fifty cent pieces

The piano in the Jazz Visitor Center

 Then we decided to just walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the marvelous architecture and ambience. Since all three of us are avid photographers, we can stay entertained for hours of this kind of activity. I'm sure we all had several hundred photos from our little walk.

Think this is featuring Catfish Collins

Every bit of metal work seemed to be custom made - we didn't see two alike

The streets satisfied my love of diversity and color

And everywhere the details demanded a closer look

And the houses were of many different styles

The street signs were built into the sidewalks

A tiny gem

The corbels were also custom to each house

And were endlessly interesting

I enjoyed the mule-drawn carriages whose drivers also were tour guides

This is purported to be Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and is definitely
the oldest building used as a bar in the United States

An even more personal mode of transportation

There was lots of Christmas finery about

This was my favorite wreath - so New Orleans - and so to my taste

This was the corn hotel

I was enthralled by the corn fence

Just another street view

You can find your color here

Loved those posts

Oh yes, where more is always better and Mardi Gras colors are loved

We enjoyed the signage as well as the buildings  - didn't get a praline though

We got back in time to go on a ranger-led tour around the neighborhood to discuss the  jazz and food that abounds near the Jazz Visitor Center. Then we made it to the last half of a jazz performance which included some of the rangers.

This was the soloists for several of the songs

Something had happened and they didn't have their drummer.  But this little guy dropped in and played - think he was eight years old

We were too busy to eat until late in the afternoon.  We went to the original home of the Muffaletta, that most delicious of Italian sandwiches.  But the store was sold out of sandwiches, so we walked across the street to eat gumbo, and shrimp etouffee and a muffaletta.

Sherry with her muffaletta and me with shrimp etouffee. Photo by Steve

By this time, we were already halfway back to the ferry so  chose to walk through the riverside park and enjoy the boats, statues, and people.

Hurry, the ferry is coming

Last view of New Orleans

The hardest part about writing this blog was trying to limit the pictures when I wanted to show you just a few more. 

This was the last of the Christmas presents of time with Steve and Cheri, but I was be given another wonderful Christmas adventure.  Stay tuned. 

Best Christmas Gifts- Adventure Two

December 20, 2016

I continued my first day with Steve and Chari, with a drive to Thibodaux to visit the another of the six Jean Lafitte National Park sites, the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. Since we finished out Chalmette tour in late morning, we figured we could easily drive the eighty mile drive. We enjoyed the little museum while waiting a few minutes to join a tour.  Actually, we WERE the tour. A ranger took us around several blocks of the town to discuss the history of the town as expressed through its architure.


Just across the corner from the Visiter Center was an Acadian cottage.  The cajuns had brought the steep roofed cottage from a land where houses needed to shed snow.  The young men of the family lived upstairs an most of the houses had a separate entrance to the top floor.

The style of house the Acadians built, when they first arrived

Around the corner, we passed the cemetery, and stopped to hear stories about some of the important movers and shakers buried there.

The graves are above ground, in most cases,  because of frequent flooding

 Then we passed Victorian homes, a bunch of different arts and crafts homes, and Beaux Arts Building. We also stopped to admire a church that incorporated several styles. We ended the tour at one of only two Second French Empire homes in Louisiana.

This dress shop was in what once was a bank.  The safe was too large to remove so it forms part of the beautiful decor. 

St. Joseph Co-Cathedral

The Thibodaux courthouse is a Beaux Arts building. 

A closer view of the courthouse

Close up of some of the fancy work on the courthouse

A beautiful topping

I think this was the first instance of the Louisiana State Seal. It is a picture of a brown pelican feeding here three babies from her own flesh. Birders and biologists know that pelicans only lay two eggs, and usually only one bird fledges. And they are fed fish.

Loved the ornateness of this building

Second French Empire House - belonged to a doctor

Detail of the Second French Empire house

We ended the day with supper at Fremins, which started life as a pharmacy but now is is beautiful, upscale restaurant. Loved the smoked oysters. And the rest of our entrees were also delicious.

This was on our tour but I took the picture as we stopped at our restaurant 

I loved how the evening lights had brought out the detail in the plaques 

A tour I hope to take another time is the boat tour on Bayou Lafourche.  The bayous were the first highways, so all the houses were built to face the bayous. But this tour is only offered in fall and spring. 

We were full, tired, and happy when we arrived back at the RV.  We only had time for a cup of hot chocolate before going to bed. We planned to go to New Orleans the following day. 

I spent Christmas in Louisiana and then went back to Galveston for parties, a Christmas bird count - another Christmas gift. Now I'm back in Louisiana and getting Physical Therapy for my shoulder.

Happy New Year to all of you.  I hope you achieve your goals and find it the best year ever.

PS.  I intended to get this out a week ago but had various computer and operator troubles. Computer is fixed.  Now working on fixing the operator.