Our Visit to "The Big Easy"

Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
Trip End Nov 21, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The story of our lives on this trip has been "Let's get an early start" and it just never seems to happen!  It is hard to do when you're gathering up stuff and trying to spend just a little more time with family.  Again, our best intentions of getting an early start do not come to pass when we are leaving Alabama.  We all don our "Crimson Tide" t-shirts that Judy gave us and get ready to say good-bye after 6 wonderful days here. 

It is a windy, cloudy, hot and very humid day as we head out, finally, at noon!

Leaving Alabama, we make a short drive through Mississippi and enter Louisiana as the storm clouds start to roll in.  Driving by Lake Ponchartrain--which is so HUGE that it looks like an ocean--I am reminded of the news reports during the big oil spill that showed the damage reaching up this far.  Hard to believe because we are quite a way from the Gulf of Mexico as we are heading to New Orleans.  I'm getting excited because I've always wanted to see the French Quarter, and Ike is getting excited  'cuz he wants to have "frog legs" for dinner!

As we head through town there is lingering evidence of the damage from Hurricane Katrina; windows are still boarded up after all this time and some ruined buildings stand abandoned.

Our walking tour of the French Quarter has us looking for a restaurant that serves frog legs, which we thought would be a pretty common thing down here in Louisiana since it is "Cajun Country".  Every place that we ask sends us to another restaurant.  It is a very interesting walk down Bourbon and Orleans Streets as we look for a place to eat. I'm surprised at how narrow the streets are; there is the sound of music coming from all of the bars along the street, and I didn't know that people are allowed to carry drinks out in public.
We run into quite a variety of locals along the street; one guy even charges us for asking him about where to find a restaurant serving the frog legs Ike is determined to have for dinner!

We enjoy our stroll and get a kick out of seeing all the "VooDoo" shops on the street, and I threaten to find a doll that looks like Ike so I can stick needles in it when I'm mad at him!  I'm having a hard time imagining what the throngs of people in the streets and hanging from all the balconies during Mardi Gras would be like.  I've always thought that I would like to see Mardi Gras, but now I think I would prefer to visit "The Big Easy" any time other than that.  I wouldn't want to be part of that crowd!   

After "gawking" the streets for nearly two hours, we finally give up on our frog leg search and just decide upon a seafood restaurant.  Pier 424 Seafood Market serves up a very tasty meal of "alligator bites", fried okra and seafood gumbo.  I enjoiyed drinking a "Hurricane"; $10.00 drink but I got to keep the lovely plastic souvenir glass! There is so much food that I think we will be eating this for several days!!  It is time that we best get on the road and head toward a place to camp or we won't be making much progress on our trek towards home.  Our parting scene from New Orleans looks like something you would see on "Cops" during the Mardi Gras:  Officer on Segway standing over a passed out drunk on Bourbon Street!!  This guy is so good he is out cold and still holding on to his drink!!

We made it out of the city and got just west of Lafayette when the storms finally got the best of us and we just couldn't drive in it anymore. Even though it is still very warm out, the sky is completely streaked with lightening and rain is just pouring down.  There were tons of big trucks on the road and we couldn't see a thing.  This is what my grandpa from Tennessee would have called a real "gullywasher"! We found a KOA and proceeded to hook up in the dark, wet, muggy night. After getting settled, Ike let Auggie out and the little brat took off! We called and called to no avail. Ike got disgusted and said "heck with him" and went to bed. I couldn't stand it and finally got up at 12:30am and went looking for him with a flashlight. Still very warm and wet out and I finally found him, soaking wet and just out sniffing around and having a ball exploring. The next morning Ike said he was worried about him being eaten by an alligator or a snake. I hadn't even thought about that while I was out looking for him in the dark with shorts and my flip-flops on!

The storms have abated, the skies are blue and it's 75 degrees by the time we take off, actually getting an early (for us) 9:30 am start.  On the road for an hour, we see a big billboard advertising "Cajun Tales" Restaurant and pull over, where Ike finally gets his frog legs!! Who cares if they are for breakfast, at least his desire for "cajun cooking" is fulfulled!! 
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