New Orleans - The Sad City of Jazz.

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Friday, February 24, 2012

We spent  4
days  in New Orleans,  which apparently is one of the most violent & corrupt cities in the USA. Apart from one incident we experienced here, we actually found this place quite fascinating and in some ways very interesting, but sad. 

We stayed in a RV park called the French Quarter, which is surrounded by 6ft walls, security barb wire and gates.  It is right near a nice part of town called the  French Quarter,  and also right near some 'condominiums'  which is project housing and we were told definitely not to go into that part of the city. Even the Police said don't go there!

On  Saturday night Mike thought we could ride our bikes down to the main part of town to look
around.  I wasn't so sure, as we had to ride across a large dark carpark, and the girls on the front desk had said to be careful at night, best to take a taxi.Well for Mike that means, let's ride our bikes.  

I have never peddled so fast, going across that car park, then once again, we were dodging traffic, and pedestrians, and for a light on my bike, I am holding a torch.  Everyone looks dodgy when it gets dark. WOW!!   Talk about being  out of my comfort zone!!!   AGAIN!!!  Here I am, trying to keep close behind Mike, and he would stop suddenly, without warning.  My head is turning like the clowns at the royal show,  checking where the traffic is, not only trying to keep upright on my bike, but also having to make sure I don't slam into the crazy man's bike in front, which I actually did, a number of times!   Ha! 

We rode right to the middle of town, and locked up the bikes to a pole. I did mention at the time, that it wouldn't take much to steal the bikes, but the ever trusting Mike assured me that wouldn't happen.  We had a coffee, went to a fantastic Louisiana up-market antique shop. Would have loved to take so many things home.   We just enjoyed  wandering around looking at the architecture of the old buildings.  

Well guess what!! We got back, and my trusty bright pink 'mongoose' bike was still there,  laying on the ground, and Mikes 'walmart special' mountain bike WAS GONE!!!!  Yep, the lock had been cut, and his bike was no-where to be seen.  He  was NOT very pleased at all.    He loved this bike and was beginning to form a close bond with it, and now it was gone, and
in the hands of the infidel!!        NOT HAPPY JAN!!  

I am not sure what upset him more, the fact someone had got away with stealing HIS bike........AND he now has to pay for a new one,  OR   that he had to walk back to the RV resort,  not to mention the fact that I was proved right again!    We both tried to ride back on my  pink "Mongoose", but I kept falling off!!  It must have looked so funny, two Aussie buffoons, 
trying to balance on a  24inch ladies bike, wobbling down the dark streets, me yelling that I am going to fall, and laughing so much, and Mike struggling to keep upright!    That didn't last long, so I rode the bike while he walked very fast alongside of me.

At one stage he said "Go into the service station, quickly! .... Hurry!  get under the light, there are 3 men with hoodies on, following us". OHHH GREAT!!!  Just what I want to hear!!  Anyway, they took off and it was  back across the dark carpark again.  We made it!! 

The next day we went to the police station to get a report for insurance, then off to Walmart for another bike.  I think we should have purchased him a bright pink one to match mine, but he found one identical to his missing bike, and also bought a strong KRYPONITE lock!  No
one is going to cut this lock.  Let's hope not!  Now we not only lock them up with 2 locks, but he also removes the seats when the bikes are on the back of the car.  

We went on a bus tour of the city of New Orleans, and  visited the areas that  had been flooded  by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  It was the costliest natural disaster in American history, killing 1836 people, and costing the taxpayer $81 billion.  Some areas had been under water
by  15feet (4.5 metres)  and many houses are still there, totally ruined.  The area that was flooded is actually below sea level, so when the hurricane happened,  the levee  wall was not able to cope with the storm surge.  Also a barge broke off it's moorings, and smashed the wall, so the water cascaded over. How scary for all those people affected.

We also went to an area where the government has funded homes that are called 'Brad Pitt' homes.  He apparently contributed $5million of his own money to get this project going, and to help those who had lost everything, rebuild again.  All these homes are environmentally friendly,
they look quite unusual, and have to be on stilts. 

 We visited a cemetery where the bodies have to be buried above the ground, the reason being,
if they dig a couple of feet down, they come to water.  A family owns a crypt, and as a member dies, they then open the crypt, and the body is placed inside, and bricked up again.  Nice subject hey!!  Thought you all needed to know those details. 

We then went to the city park, which is about 1300 acres.   Katrina caused extensive damage
to the park, with winds toppling an estimated 1,000 trees and damaging many more. Almost the entire park was flooded with 1 foot (0.30 m) to 10 feet (3.0 m) of water that remained for two to four weeks, damaging all buildings, amusement rides, maintenance equipment, electrical systems and vehicles, and causing the death of more trees and landscaping - including nearly the entire plant collection in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. They have done a phenomenal job,  it  looks so nice now.

We also went to the Garden District, where all the old  homes are.  We went past Sandra Bullocks  and Brad & Angelina's homes and also the house that a movie about 'Benjamin Button' was filmed in and around.  Some of these homes are magnificent, so we  just had to come back the next day and ride our bikes round the streets. Suzie you would have just loved them. 

We then saw a car had done a uturn right in front of a trolley bus, and the bus had hit the car.  
No-one hurt though.  

At night we went on a paddle steamer called the Creole, and had dinner then cruised down the mighty Mississippi River.  We stood out on deck chatting to a nice couple, as we watched the lights of New Orleans.  As usual, Mike got the subject round to talking about Israel. It is always amazing, how much people know about this tiny nation. ( We notice it has been in the news in Australia, so we will be watching with interest to see how it all unfolds). 
Anyway,  a man heard the Aussie accent, and it made him homesick, he was from Melbourne.  So he joined in as well. He used to be a drummer for the band "Men at work" who sang the song "I come from a land down under". It was a very interesting evening. 

We enjoyed a famous New Orleans "muffuletta".  They are massive, I could only eat a quarter
of it.  We also listened to some jazz music by a street performer while we had coffee and beignets (a type of donut covered in icing sugar)at the outside DuMonde cafe on a lovely sunny afternoon.  We really liked New Orleans, very interesting place to visit. 

From here we headed to Houston, more about that later.... sorry this blog is a little behind ... we hope to catch-up in the next week or so ... just been so busy with everything that hadn't found the time (and it takes a lot of it) to get the blog done!! ......Anyway Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and for your comments,   keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all.  
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Pauline Oliver on

Great to hear from you two again. I was getting withdrawal symptons waiting so long for this blog. Thought something must have happened to you. Love your videos and what was the story with all those bikes? Keep safe and God Bless.

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