New Orleans (aka Norlans)
Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
23Trip End Nov 28, 2012
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Another few interesting anecdotes:
Before a body is placed inside the tomb, it lies somewhere else until it basically shrivels away to nothing. It is then placed in a bag or packet. The front marble of the tomb is removed as well as the bricks behind it
Unfortunately we didn't drive around in an open top bus so it was too difficult to take pics but we were taken down to lower 9th area where the devastation of Hurricane Katrina is still evident. Katrina hit New Orleans on 29 August 2005. Incidentally, the city has 24 massive pump stations located around the city to pump water out. This failed dismally when Katrina hit because the pump stations operate on electricity and obviously all power was out so the pump stations didn't work. The majority of the city is built below the water line and levees are built around the Mississippi and the bayou's as a means of protecting the houses. Apparently what happened in the lower 9th area is a barge bashed into and broke the levee in this area which caused the majority of the flood damage
We were also taken to see Lake Pontchartrain which is 24 miles long and 47 miles wide. Lake Pontchartrain has a roadway running the entire 24 miles across and is the longest bridge in the world. You can't see the other end of it. In fact this entire area of New Orleans is completely surrounded by water in the form of lakes, bayou's, swamps and the massive Mississippi River. The Mississippi river is 2340 miles long and runs from Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the third largest river in the world next to the Nile and the Amazon.
Some other interesting bits of information received was about Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is celebrated annually and actually means 'Fat Tuesday' and it normally takes place on Shrove Tuesday. The legend behind it is that you feast and fatten yourself up on Shrove Tuesday in time for lent which starts the next day, Ash Wednesday. The floats run along St Charles street and if you drive along this street, you can still see the beads hanging from the trees. Incidentally, Sandra Bullock lives just off St Charles Street.
I really am starting to feel like a Chappies wrapper: " Did you know...?"
Right, enough lessons learnt... Once the tour was over and I had my bearings, I honored those in the know, and went to Cafe DuMond for my Cafe Au Lait and Beignets. For just a little more than $5 it was a real treat. I seriously could've eaten another 3 but I was saving myself for the Muffuletta, which I had also been advised to try. That, as well as the fact that I had icing sugar all over my dark clothes
Then it was time to walk the French Quarter and the flea market which was great with fresh fruit and veggies and then other bits and bobs. Mainly Mardi Gras and Voodoo related stuff but also your general junk. And of course, some African carvings - so not out of place in New Orleans! Seriously??
And then I went and queued for my Muffuletta at the Central Grocery Co. Interestingly Franks next door also sells Muffulettas yet the people queue at Central Grocery and there's not a soul at Franks. It was only after I bought it did I see 'olives' - blurggghhh! But hey, now may be a good time to start liking them. So I stashed that for later as I was still digesting my icing sugar.
I then made my way down to the paddle boat docking station for my river boat ride. I met a lovely old couple there, George and Delia from New Mexico. George was an engineer for NASA and such an interesting man to talk to. We exchanged email addresses and I will definitely keep in touch with them. That's what I have love most about traveling alone is meeting all these people who are so interested in hearing about South Africa and my travels as I am to hear about theirs
We got back around 5:00pm and I only had 6%25 battery life left on my phone and needed that to navigate my way back to the hotel. I did end up down some side alleys but made sure not to make eye contact with anyone and made it safely back to the hotel. At least I had an idea of which direction to head in. Tomorrow I will do some more exploring and then it will be time to head to Biloxi to visit some good old friends for the weekend.
So till tomorrow then...