Day 12: New Orleans, Louisiana

After a lazy Saturday morning in Meg’s apartment, Meg, Forrest, Sprocket, and I headed for City Park. Due to Jazz Fest traffic we abandoned those plans and headed for “The Fly”–which is a walk along the Mississippi Levee. It was fun to just be outside with the Sprocket-meister. We went to the Parkway for lunch and had Po-boys. Forrest had a gravy smothered roast beef one while I had grilled alligator sausage.

After our po-boys, we dropped Sprocket off at Meg’s and went to the National World War II Museum. It was a nice museum, although even I found it a little heavy on the reading. From the museum we headed to Bacchanal for their free Saturday wine tasting. The shop was cute, although the owner wasn’t too excited about talking about wine. Meg also drove us through the lower 9th ward where much of the damage the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina took place.

We made dinner at her house and then walked down to Cajun Creamery for ice cream. I’m up finishing a load of laundry and tomorrow we set out for Mississippi and Alabama!

Day 11: New Orleans, Louisiana

We woke up, got dressed and headed for the French Quarter because F had never tried beignets. The line at Cafe Du Monde was around the block so we continued down the street looking for an alternate beignets source. We fond a small cafe on Canal Street and ordered coffee and our beignets while Sprocket laid at our feet (I told the little guy he was quite Parisian). After Forrest got a second order of the sugar covered doughnuts we walked around the French Quarter a bit. We headed back to the car then went and checked out St. Louis Cemetery #2, I found the above ground tombs pretty fascinating.

Back at Meg’s we befriended her neighbor across the street and borrowed his hose to wash the jeep. As we were washing it, a thunderstorm started rolling through the area. We were able to wash the car before it really started raining and when it started raining it POURED. Sprocket went into his crate and Forrest and I headed for Whole Foods to get something for lunch. We got pretty soaked just running across the street from the car so we hung out and watched the storm roll by.

When Meg got back from work we headed for the Royal Street Bar (“R-Bar”) for a free crawfish feed. Were treated to big plates of crawfish. They really are just mini-lobsters–all we ate were the tails. The potatoes, carrots, and corn also in the boil were fabulous. After dinner, we wondered around the Marigny district. We were walking down the street and spotted a sign that said “Fosters on tap here” and all were briefly tricked into thinking that the adorable house might be a bar. The resident of the house and his neighbor were sitting around people watching and apparently decided that if someone interesting walked by they’d invited them up for a drink. Apparently the three of us were interesting enough and we had a few drinks and just talked for a bit. After that we walked back to the French Quarter and visited Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop for a grape daiquiri of some kind. From there, we walked back to Frenchman Street to listen to bands at the Spotted Cat. Once we got there, we discovered they were charging a cover so we bagged listening to a band for going to “The Joint” for some good barbeque. We all decided that we were ready for bed so we headed home.

Day 10: New Iberia, Louisiana to New Orleans, Louisiana

Our day started in a downtown parking lot of New Iberia after our night on the town. We briefly stopped at the city park to use the restroom and get ready for the day. Leaving town, Forrest stopped at a doughnut shack and picked us up a glazed and an old  for afashioned–they were really good! (Now I’ve got to find him a beignet here in New Orleans.) I loved the drive down Louisiana 182…there were all sorts of random old houses of all sizes. After awhile though, we realized that we’d be to New Orleans by two o’clock if we didn’t find some other explorations. So we turned south on LA 317, a road towards the gulf with no towns marked on the map.

The road passed over the Intracostal Waterway just as Sprocket started to demand a stop. Forrest drove us down a small road leading to a small plant on the waterway. Just as we got out of the car, a 15 passenger van pulled in behind us. It was a crew for a tugboat getting ready to go on their 28-day shift. Two of the young guys hung out with us and told us all about the job while they waited for the Miss Mollye D to pull up. When the boat got there they invited us aboard for a tour–quite spacious digs compared to the Wecoma!

After we left the Mollye, we headed further south. We found ourselves at Burn’s Point recreation area on Cote Blanche Bay on the Gulf. Sprocket enjoyed getting himself wet and then covering himself with sand. We drove around a bit on dirt levee roads looking for alligators before we headed for Morgan City, hoping to get some cajun food for lunch. After a disappointing stop downtown, we had almost resigned ourself to some non-local food when one of the gas station attendants told me about Rita Mae’s Cafe and promised us that there would be good southern food there.

When we found Rita Mae’s it really was just an old house converted to a restaurant. The service wasn’t exactly friendly, but my crawfish Étouffée was amazing, Forrest’s smothered pork chop was more so so. From there we headed north towards the Mississippi River to check out some of the plantations. They were all closed before we got there (not to mention tickets were really expensive) but I got to walk around the grounds of Oak Alley for a bit.

After letting Sprocket run around in the parking lot for a while, we were still undecided about where we’d stop for the night. As we drive east on LA 18, it became apparent that we weren’t going to see much more amazing along the route and that we were starting to get really close to New Orleans, so I called Meg to see if it was alright that we showed up early. She and her roommates were more than happy to have us a little bit early and we joined them at Juan’s Flying Burrito: A Cajun Taqueria on Magazine Street when we got into town. After dinner, we followed Meg back to her house where it was great just to catch up with her and of course to get showers! Sprocket loved all the attention from everyone as always.