The Deep South

Trip Start Nov 12, 2004
Trip End Aug 28, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Thursday, August 4, 2005

We arrived in the hot, steamy and very humid Deep South, a place where nothing happens quickly, the pace of life here is very different to the west coast. Straight away, other differences were apparent too. The people for a start, they all talk with the thickest accent. At times it was hard to even know whether they were speaking the same language as us. One thing was for sure, southern hospitality, for which the people are legendary was brilliant. Everyone was so nice. Not only were they really helpful in advising us where to go, what to see, but they were genuinely interested in hearing about us. All of a sudden our conversations had a depth to them once again, it was two way and they actually listened to our responses. Such a change!

Then there was the food, wow! Southern cooking is famous the world over and for good reason. The flavours of Cajun cooking and dishes like gumbo, crawfish tails, catfish and jambalaya were amazing. Needless to say, we didn't go hungry in New Orleans.

On arriving we found our hotel right in the middle of the French Quarter, the historic centre of the city. Shortly after dropping our bags, we forgot the day of travel and hit the bars along Bourbon Street. Every night, the place was thronging with people in party mode. The 'done thing" it seemed was to wander from bar to bar (and there were hundereds) taking your drink with you. The beers were served in bucket-like jugs, imaginatively named 'Huge Ass Beers To Go'. And then there were the Hurricanes, a cocktail of dark rum, light rum and grenadine, served up in a foot long glass. Ouch, it hurts my head just remembering it. Inside most of the bars there were live Blues bands playing, the quality of the music was so good we've added to our CD collection considerably.

We spent the following few days wandering around the Quarter, taking in the historic buildings, trying desperately to keep out of the humidity. Most of the houses have beautiful lace ironwork balconies overlooking the narrow streets. With the horse-drawn carriage rides passing by it was easy to image how things would have been in times gone by.

Of course, we had to go up and down the Mississippi river on a paddleboat steamer. There wasn't much to see but it had to be done.

Shortly before heading out of Louisiana we dropped in on an old plantation house. It had been preserved as it would have been 100 years ago, even the people working there we dressed in old costumes. The tour of the house was interesting enough but it was disappointing that the subject of slavery was conveniently glossed over. When you consider hundereds of (predominantly) African immigrants were shipped over to work in the house and on the land, that they were responsible for making the place what it was, it really felt like there was something missing from the experience.
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