Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
102Trip End Ongoing
We actually travelled through 10 states and countlesscities on our way to New Orleans. There isnt actually much to do on these trains so we spent most of the time trying to amuse ourselves. I listened to a lot of radio, my favourite stations being faith fm, saviour fm and preach fm, although after 36 hours, i was starting to think i might become a born again christian... enough of the radio i think!
We also tried for the first time to sew on the patches we had bought from each country, a little reminder of where we had been
After 36 hours we arrived at New Orleans and said goodbye to Janet our attendent. We had got quite close and i'm sure i saw Dan wipe away a tear when we departed! The first thing we noticed about New Orleans was the heat and humidity. In the space of 36 hours we had left New York freezing cold and wet, and travelled South to where it was now so hot, evry step felt like we were walking through the Sahara with our bags, not Downtown New Orleans.
We decided to try a different hostel to the usual Hostel International to make a change, but on arrival we wish we hadnt!. Lets just say it had character! Our dorms looked like they had been knocked up by someone who fancies himself as a bit of a DIYer as the beds were a bit of mdf on top of 4 wooden posts! we also noticed that anyone could walk into our room as it was a wlakway for the the other 4 rooms next to us! With our bags securely locked we headed out. We were only going to be in New Orleans for a night so was going to make the most of it! We hailed a cab (it was too hot to walk) and headed for the famous Bourborn Street.
The street was manic
The night finished when we dedcided to 'interview' a girl on the street with my video camera. We didn't actually realise it was a prostitute unitl the police turned up and started flashing their lights. The look of shock on Dans face is a classic. Try and watch the film if you get a chance.
Thursday 21st October
Because of the very late night we slept through both of our alarms giving us only 4 hours to look at New Orleans during the daytime. we did our best walking through the French District and the Mississippi river finding an old but still operating paddle steamer. Although tempted to take a ride, we stuck out again because of our age. Evryone in new Orleans was over 65! I wasn't sure if Saga was having there annual travel conference in town but we were the only youngsters walking around!
As quickly as our visit to New Orleans had started it was over, we packed our things up again and headed for the train station. Just another 24 hour train journey to Chicago to undertake. Back up to the cold!
Pointless facts about New Orleans
New Orleans was founded in1718 by Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. At first, it was nothing more than a trading camp on a curve in the east bank of the Mississippi River. Later, the city was organized into a rectangular, fortified community, which still exists today as the French Quarter. The resulting streets were named for French royalty and nobility.
As the community grew to the west, north, and east, it followed the curve in the river, and became known as "the Crescent City," because of its shape. Because the city was surrounded by swamps and marshes (with a sea level of approximately six feet at its highest point), the spring rise in the Mississippi River level, and tidal surges from hurricanes resulted in the building of levees around the city and the river
Even to this day, the city's massive pumps and canals drain the city (annual rain fall can be between 60" and 100"). The total miles of canals (above and below ground) in New Orleans exceed that of Venice in Italy.
The lagoons in City Park, along City Park Blvd., are all that remains of what was once Bayou Metairie. Other bayous remain, including Bayou St. John, Bayou Sauvage, and Bayou Bienvenue in Chalmette.
Although established as the capitol of the French colony of Louisiana, it was actually twice the capital of Louisiana. The capital was moved from New Orleans to Donaldsonville in 1825, to Baton Rouge in 1846, to New Orleans in 1864 (during Reconstruction) and once again to Baton Rouge in 1879. Politics is timeless.
Canal Street, once the widest street in the world, was named for a canal that was planed for, but never built, in the median. For decades, the only use for the median was public transportation, mostly by the Canal St
The first New Orleans "Skyscraper" was built in 1807. It was the first four-story building in the city, and is still standing and in use, on the corner of Royal St. and St. Peter St, in the French Quarter. New Orleans also had the first Opera House in America.
Mardi Gras Information
2000 Mardi Gras Total Visitors: 6,135,890
Tourists staying in hotels: 985,890
Day Trippers/or staying with friends: 2,240,000
Overall Spending: $1,056,124,885
Joke of the day
A young punk gets on the cross town bus and sits down in the only vacant seat, directly across from an old man.
The young punk has spiked, multi-colored, green, purple, and orange hair. His clothing is a tattered mix of leather rags. His legs are bare and he's without shoes. His entire face and body are riddled with pierced jewelry and his earrings are big, bright red, yellow and green feathers.
The old man glares at the young punk for him for the next ten miles, as the bus travels across the city.
Finally, the punk looks across at the old man, and yells, "What are you looking at, old man! Didn't you do anything wild when you were young?"
Without missing a beat, the old man replies, "Yeah. Back when I was very young and in the Navy, I got really drunk in Singapore and had sex with a parrot... I thought you might be my son."