New Orleans

Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
Trip End Apr 02, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Friday, March 6, 2009

We then started to head for Cajun country and Baton Rouge, however as with all these plans we went straight through and settled for the night a few miles west of New Orleans.  Once again the scenery changed as we went from Texas to Louisiana.  To start with D observed that it had a real Leicestershire feel - the median (the ground that separates the two carriageways) was green and lush, there were trees either side of the road and the names of the towns sounded like public school children's names (in Leicestershire - Kirby Muxloe and Louisiana - Evangeline Jennings and Cecilia Henderson)!
After travelling through Louisianan Leicestershire, the land started to become very flat, low lying and there were many lakes and rivers, eventually turning into swampland.  The highway was just built on pillars and went through these wetlands.  As we approached New Orleans the moment Yvonne was waiting for finally arrived - we crossed the Mississippi!  As with all these things, it was a slight disappointment, not quite as wide as she had imagined and no sign of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer!
The next day was spent in New Orleans, which does not disappoint.  It is very much what you would expect - lively, colourful and music playing wherever you go - and sometimes even live music.  One of the best moments was when we were passing a fudge shop in the mall, the women who were working in the shop were singing loudly with no accompaniment about making the fudge and they were gathering a small crowd.  Imagine the girls in Thorntons doing the same!
We successfully negotiated our way to the outskirts of the French Quarter, passing the Superdome, and parking up by the Riverwalk along the Mississippi.  On the way in, we passed a procession of cars following a white hearse.  Not a happy occasion for the people involved of course, but it did get us thinking about a New Orleans funeral as depicted in most movies, where the jazz band leads the sombre funeral procession in and then comes out in a lively fashion, and wondered whether this might be what would happen this time.  We didn't see any funeral take place during our time in New Orleans but a couple did get married on the boat we went on!  On reflection - the white hearse could have been a wedding car with tinted windows!
We watched the boats going up and down the river and had a trip on a paddle steamer, although we fear it may not have been steam but it did have a paddle which fascinated Steven.  The captain gave a limited commentary on the sights, which were mainly the other boats, but the highlight was when the other paddle steamer went past and gave an enormous blast on its hooter and played a tune on its whistles! This was Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer territory!
There was still evidence of Mardi Gras which had taken place last month and we had a look around the Mardi Gras event shop which sells T-shirts, gaudy plastic beads, streamers, etc. 
There was little obvious evidence to the untrained eye of the problems New Orleans had had with Katrina a few years ago, although there is still more work to be done there, as Mr Obama has recently announced.  Once again, as with our trip to Hiroshima and the Book Depository in Dallas, there is almost an expectation of still finding the place in the state it was at the time of its notoriety but then arriving and life is just continuing as normal, which, of course, it is!
Weather latest - Yvonne is pleased the temperature is now back in the seventies and despite warnings of tornadoes we are going to head north.  Fortunately, we are going to Memphis and the tornado warnings are for Kansas - where else, Wizard of Oz fans?!
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