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Sat. Mar 4 to Fri. Mar 10- New Orleans

Saturday- Direct TV had lost our special from last year. They had snatched $169 out of our checking account, instead of $87. Bob had called them and they said that that the special had disappeared off our account. He kept up talking until he was transferred to Customer Retention.

The special we were under is gone, so the Direct TV guy he talked to made the decision to put in the computer system that we were moving. The meant that they had to send someone out to the MH to “install” the system. So we had to stay home and wait for the repair tech to arrive.

He called early and said he would be at the park between 9:20 and 9:40. He arrived at 9:35. Bob had alerted the park manager and he brought the tech right to the MH. 

Bob explained what happened, and they guy ran a system check and left. He agreed with us that this was stupid and a waste of money for Direct TV. Not to mention, that under the new special, we are now paying $76 per month for the year….. Not our monkey not our problem!!!

We left and drove downtown. We went to the French Quarter and parked. Since it was Saturday, it was pretty busy. There was a long line for the carry out at Café Du Monde We walked past the line. We looked into the window, and shook our heads. The guy who was cleaning the tables and floors, said no problem, just go in that door and sit down at that table. So we did. There was no line for going inside, just for the carryout. We think the people in line did not realize that! They do not escort you to seats.

We ordered decaf and beignets. Surprisingly, the decaf was delicious! As of course  were the beignets.

We continued walking and visited the French Market. It went for blocks and had lots of “stuff’ for sale. There were some restaurants in the Market as well as other vendors.

We walked to the top of the levy and took this picture of the Mississippi.

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Below is the Cathedral in Jackson Square from the levy.

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Jax Brewery from the levy.

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We only stayed 2 hours, as that was the time for the parking. We returned home, ate a late lunch, and took a short nap.

At 4:30 we fed the dogs and started getting ready to go to dinner. We were meeting a friend of Bob’s at K Paul’s restaurant. We arrived at the Omini Hotel to find that there was a lot full sign up. I told the guy we were going to dinner at K Pauls and he told us to come right in. So we did!

We thought dinner was just going to be Steve and his wife Cindy, but they brought along Scott and Beth. Scott works for Steve, and they brought Mimi, who lives next door to Steve and Cindy and owns a restaurant/catering business. Mimi remembered Bob, as she always cooked Jambalaya for him without bell pepper, when Bob visited the area.

We had an awesome dinner! Thank you to Steve and Cindy for introducing us to such a wonderful restaurant.

We had a great waitress, Sheila, who took this picture for us. She was a hoot. She hugged us all before we left, twice! She has been there 18 years, and we can see why. She knew her stuff!!!  Mimi had tried to order a salad. Sheila told her no, she couldn’t. Huh??? Sheila said, you can get a salad anywhere, but the food here is so awesome, don’t waste you money on a salad. That would be too much food anyway! Okay…she was right, as we all took home leftovers! This is Bob, Steve, Me, Beth, Cindy, Mimi, and Scott.

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Sunday-  We did our usual Sunday tasks, including bills and laundry. We ate lunch, then went to Steve and Cindy’s home in Bell Chase, which is farther south in the Louisiana  boot heel.

They have a beautiful house and gardens. They drove us over to their citrus farm, located right on the Mississippi, which Steve had inherited. His family has been in this area since the 1700’s.

We walked out and took this picture of the levy which is right behind their orchard. The levy is made of dirt with concrete on the side facing the Mississippi, while there is a gravel road on top.  While walking thru the orchard, we nibbled on some oranges and kumquats.

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We toured their beautiful home, which they have recently remodeled. We returned to the MH, ate dinner, and watched TV.

Monday-  We left early to go downtown to catch the “Hop on and Hop Off “tour bus. We paid, and then had to figure out which bus to board. There were several there. One of the gals took us to the correct bus.

We decided that since it was not raining, we would go to the Garden District, which was stop 12. Actually, on this bus, it was the first stop. We walked the three blocks to the Lafayette  Cemetery #1.  This house was on the way.

New Orleans

New Orleans New Orleans

The Cemetery is on the grounds of the former Livaudais sugar plantation and is still maintained by the families who own the tombs and by the City of New Orleans. Although the cemetery is American ( not Creole), Latin based above ground entombments had made it’s way into local American burial traditions. There is a self guided walking tour, although while wandering through, we ran into the Sextant, who gave us a private tour!. Each tomb is built over a below ground vault known as a caveau ( French for cave). After a year of burial, due to the heat and humidity, tissue is quickly decomposed, leaving nothing but skeletal remains. When the chamber is needed for the next interment, the oldest skeletal remains are carefully taken and placed in a bag, and dropped into the below ground vault. Many of the tombs have dozens of names on them, and they are all together in one family or society tomb. This continues to be a functional, working cemetery.

This is an empty tomb.

New Orleans

As you can see, there are shelves and the underground cave.

New Orleans

We walked through the cemetery visiting these graves. Below is Fire Company Society Tomb.

New Orleans

In addition to family tombs, there are various societies, including orphanages. There are over 7,000 people buried in this one block cemetery!  Below is the author, Ann Rice’s family.

New Orleans

Below is the Folger ( coffee) family.

New Orleans

This tomb below has over 36 people buried in it.

New Orleans

The fronts of the tombs are changing. The original fronts were of concrete, but that is disintegrating, so now the fronts, as they are used, are being changed over to marble.

We returned to the bus stop and took the bus back to the French Quarter. Along the way we traveled the Mardi Gras route. There were lots of trees like this. They throw the paper and beads into the trees. The paper disintegrates and leaves just the beads. New Orleans

New Orleans

We drove past the Mardi Gras float builder and museum. Below is the Hurricane Katrina Memorial. The plaque dedicates it to the people who survived and those that did not in August 2005.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Above is one of the famous Creole Restaurants.  We walked over to the restaurant below for lunch, as the tour guide recommended it and gave us discount coupons.

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We ate out on the patio in the courtyard.

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Lunch was very good and relatively inexpensive.

We walked back to Stop 2 where we joined the walking tour of the French Quarter, which was included in our tour ticket.

New Orleans

Above is a park which is where the original inhabitants had their water supply. Below is a convent, church, hospital, school. This building survived the hurricanes, floods, and fires that occurred since it was built in the 1700’s.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Above is the entrance to a French Bakery. There were two entrances. The men and the women who were not “ladies” entered at the next entrance. The Ladies, meaning the rich ones, entered at this entrance. Things were different way back when….

New Orleans

Above was a pretty building. Note the support on the balconies. Below noted the balcony with no supports.

New Orleans

New Orleans has an interesting history. Many different people settled here, including Germans, French, Spanish and Irish. St. Patrick’s day is a very busy day with lots of parades, next to only Mardi Gras for the insanity. It started this weekend, before St. Paddy’s day and runs through next weekend. There started to be lots of decorations and there are several parades. This was our tour guide.

Tour guides in NOLA are required to study and take a test. They are licensed by the city. Note that she is wearing her license in the packed around her neck. This is the only place we have seen this… There are only 28 people allowed on a walking tour. If there are more, the guide, not the company, has to pay at $500 fine per person. Whew! She kept a close count on us! Also, one tour cannot move to within 50 ft. of another tour!

New Orleans

The French Quarter has an architectural committee who overseas everything. In the Quarter, any outside changes have to be approved. People do a lot to the inside, but let the outside slide, as their taxes go up significantly for outside upgrades.  Below is a garage! Pretty fancy for a parking garage…

New Orleans

New Orleans New Orleans

Above on the left is to keep boys from climbing up to girls rooms. The saying is that you can go up “Romeo, but come down Juliet”… Below they are getting ready to party!

New Orleans

We returned to Stop 2 and took the bus back to the car. On the way we passed this memorial to the 11 lives lost on the oil rig Horizon in 2010.

New Orleans

We returned to the MH and had a quiet dinner at home.

Tuesday- We were off to our second day on the tour. We took the bus to the business district. Below is the Whitney Bank.

 New OrleansNew Orleans

Each Whitney bank, on the older buildings, had this clock. The newer buildings have a picture of the clock on each building.

We got off the bus and walked over to Lafayette Square .

New Orleans

Interestingly, there were two statues, neither was Lafayette. The first was Benjamin Franklin and the second is Henry Clay. There was no reason given as to why they were there. Across the street was the first courthouse, with no sign on it.

New Orleans  New Orleans

We did see this interesting sculpture on the top of a building.

New Orleans

We walked back to the bus stop and took the next bus. It took us to the Super Dome.  Doesn’t it look like a flying saucer? It can be seen from outer space.

New Orleans

And we drove past a statue of Robert E Lee.

New Orleans Robert E Lee memorial

On the evening news they were talking about how the confederate statues are all being removed, so this one is going into storage. We passed the WWII museum, and are saving it for our next time in New Orleans.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Above is a million dollar ‘shot gun’ home. The homes in NOLA were built narrow, as they were taxed by the front footage. They are long and narrow. They are named Shot Gun homes, as you can shoot a shot gun shell right through the house.

New Orleans

NOLA is a sister city to Paris. When the Eiffel Tower was being repaired, a builder in NOLA bought these pieces and moved them to NOLA. it was originally a restaurant, that failed. It is now a wedding and party venue.

From here we went to the Mardi Gras Float Museum. We were told by two tour guides that it was free to walk around. We arrived to find that you had to pay. We were not interested in the 2.5 hour tour, so we just took pictures at the entrance.

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

We hopped back on the bus, and went to Jackson Square. Andrew Jackson is not popular in NOLA, as he did not treat the folks well.

Andrew Jackson, New Orleans

We went to the Cathedral.

New Orleans New Orleans

New Orleans

It was just before 1200 and Mass was to begin, so we left. We walked over to Jax Brewery for lunch.

New Orleans

Bob had a flight with 4 beers. I had a Hurricane, as I had not had one. It was so strong, I had the waitress take it back. The bartender took out some of the rum and put in more juice, then I could actually drink it! It is a drink with rum, orange, cranberry and pineapple juices.

We walked back to stop 2 and took the bus back towards the car. On the way we saw one of the newer famous trolley’s and the entrance to the park.

New Orleans

New Orleans

This park is dedicated to Louis Armstrong, but is a “Congo Park”. That means that it is a park where slaves went on Sunday’s. NOLA had a law that slaves had to be treated well. The had to be well cared for, fed well and  they had Sunday’s off. This was a Catholic City, so they were off on Sunday’s to go to church. After church, they would congregate at the Congo Parks for picnics, music, and dancing.

We returned to the MH and relaxed.

Wednesday- We left early and went to Café Du Monde  again for the delicious decaf and beignets. We arrived and pulled right up to the first parking meter in front of the Café! How lucky was that!  I was able to take a picture today as the line has not yet formed!

New Orleans

We ran over to the Garden District and drove through some streets that we knew we would not see during the walking tour. We drove back to the tour parking lot. Part of the parking lot was taken up by Hollywood. NOLA is known as Hollywood of the south. We know that there are at least two movies being filmed and The Preacher ( SiFi TV show) all currently. Needless to say NCIS NO is also filmed in town, but we think they have wrapped up for the season.

New Orleans

Below is the Ritz Carlton hotel which has a long history in the city. Right after Katrina, Bob had to travel to NOLA for work. Most of the hotels were closed. He was able to stay at the Ritz at the Government payment. He boarded the elevator one morning and looked at the guy in the elevator. He said to him, you look just like John Ratsenberger. The guy said, that is because I am! You just never know who you will run into…

New Orleans

We continued on the tour arriving at stop 12. We hopped off the bus, and waited until 11 for the Garden Tour. Our guide was Jamie, who reminded me of Jay Leno. The house below is an example of one of the block homes. What that means is that it took a whole block. Most of the blocks at this point have been subdivided and smaller homes built on the property. This house has all the types of NOLA architecture, Creole, American, French etc. .

New Orleans

The house is for sale. It last went for 8 million, but will go for a lot more this time. Across the street was this house. It is being totally remodeled inside to bring it up to today’s standards. The outside is also being redone. The steel balcony has been repaired and painted. The renovation has been going on for 2 years, so far!

New Orleans

Below is a French inspired house.

New Orleans

Below is one of the gardens. This area was called the Garden District because of vegetables grown here, but the rich started growing flowers.

New Orleans

Below is an interesting house. It was originally a church. When a new, larger church was built, it became a convent. Then the chapel was de-consecrated, and  it became a home. It went through several owners and was eventually purchased by Nicholas Cage. He purchased it for 6 million dollars. It was worth 3 million at that point. This is the second home we saw in NOLA that he purchased and taken for taxes. The bet is that his business manager told him the cost was 6 million and may have stolen the other 3 million. Also, the business manager did not pay the taxes on the two houses. Who knows… ! The bank bought the house from the IRS and then resold it for its worth.

New Orleans

The next house belongs to Sandra Bullock. She has adopted two children from NOLA and wanted a home in the area so that the kids can get to know their birth families culture. The house is a bit of a mess, having been added too over the years. If you look at the dormers at the top, each one is different! You can literally see where the additions were put on the house.

New Orleans

We walked back to Magazine Street. We went to lunch at Another Cracked Egg. We had a great lunch. We each had omelets.

We returned to the bus stop and took the route back to the parking lot. We returned to the MH and settled in for the afternoon and evening. We ate dinner at home.

Thursday- We took the dogs to the Vets at Petsmart, Banfield. We liked the vet there! She was very nice as was the tech. Karlie was overdue for her Rabies vaccination. Banfield is a national company, so they had the dogs in their system. Unfortunately, they had the wrong date for Karlie, so we had to get that corrected. We produced her certificate and they made the change.

We returned home, stopping at the Crepe Place to pick up crepes for lunch. We did some tasks around the MH.

We left around 5:30 to go downtown to the Cheesecake Restaurant, which we had passed several times while on the tour bus. We met up with Pricilla ( Pree) and Chris Mercadel. Pree and I went to Nursing School together. I was the Maid of Honor at their wedding in 1974! Chris had been in the army and they left and went to Germany, before moving to NOLA, where Chris’s family is an old Creole family. Chris is a retired NOLA police officer. Pree is working in infusion services at a local hospital. It had been 43 year since I had seen them! I love Facebook for this very reason, you can find your old friends!

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Friday- Moving day. We had planned to visit one of the plantations today, but the weather was going to be iffy. We keep a close watch on the weather and decided that we should leave today due to winds. So we requested a refund ( which the park granted) and we left. We have been staying in the 9th Ward. This is not a great area, but we did not have any issues. Our NOLA friends have been appalled that we are staying here, and we may not again. While we did not feel unsafe,(although I did hear gunshots one evening in the distance)  there was nothing in the area. We had to drive a long distance to a grocery store or the Vets.

We turned right out of the park. Every other time we left the park, we had to make a U-turn to go to I-10. We could not make a U-turn at this intersection with the RV, so we ended up driving through the 9th Ward to go a different entrance to the interstate. We made it to I-10 and drove west.

We stopped in Beaumont TX at Gulf Coast RV Park, a very nice PA park, where we paid $22.50 for a FHU 50 amp site, on concrete with a nice table.

It was pouring rain, and it rained all night.  When we went to drive the MH into the site, with the car hooked up, the back right tires of the MH slid off the concrete. It did not damage the concrete, but we landed in mud. We were not the first to do this, as there were other tracks. Bob ended up gunning the engine and we pulled out, but we had to disconnect the car to do this.

I drove the car around to the front of the site and we maneuvered into the site. The stress evidently set off an A-fib attack. This is the first one Bob has had for awhile. 

We had a quiet evening at home.

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