We moved to this city on December 1 and were alone to explore until December 22. We spent a long weekend in Ponte Vedra Florida with our oldest son, Jason, and his family December 15-18 and our oldest daughter Jennifer flew here with husband Rob and son Jackson on December 22 just hours before we flew out to spend Christmas with our 2nd oldest son Matthew and his family in Denver. Starting the new year of 2023 we are almost fully booked with visitors for the next two months. The first to arrive on January 1 are Neil and Audrey who we know from our prior life in medicine. Neil and Audrey have visited us in Paris,
Mexico City and Madrid. Our time with them is notable for the most laughs, the most miles of daily walking and the most money spent on food and women’s clothing.
When Neil and Audrey arrived early evening we hit the ground running (typical of this couple) and headed out to the French Quarter to Pat O’Brien’s. This iconic nightclub has two baby grand pianos and dueling piano entertainment which evolved from the late 1890’s Ragtime era where two pianists “duel” for the crowds attention and tips. It is also home to the Hurricane cocktail which is a rum and passion fruit concoction served in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp.
On the first full day of their visit we walked to the French Quarter, stopping at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice bar, which is a funky eclectic breakfast spot on Magazine Street which we recommend. Arriving in the Quarter we took a ride on the Natchez Steamboat and listened to a jazz band while floating along the Mississippi waterway enjoying the sights. At the end of the day we logged 11miles.
It was a balmy humid day and the fog was just burning off when we arrived.
NOLA skyline from the water.
This is the Domino Sugar refinery that still operates today despite extensive damage from a fire. It is the largest cane sugar factory in the Western hemisphere and has operated on the Mississippi River since 1909, it employs 400 people. Our river view of the refinery makes it look abandoned.
St Louis Cathedral located in Jackson Square is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in North America. It was founded in 1720.
Day 2 began with breakfast at Elizabeths which serves “real food done real good”. Recommended for breakfast or brunch.
Our walk took us by Crescent Park, a 1.4 mile linear park along the Mississippi which is part of the Marigny and Bywater neighborhood districts.
We bought these compact travel umbrellas before our trip here not realizing we picked the colors of New Orleans.
They introduced us to Bacchanal which is a wine and cheese store that has a backyard patio where musicians perform. You pick out your wine and cheese and they plate it for you and deliver it to your table in their back yard patio. We did not try it with them, but will be coming back here.
After brunch we walked to Chalmette Battlefield which as the sign above us says was the site of the last major war battle of 1812.
These are reconstructed American ramparts. In the distance is a cemetery that holds more than 14,000 graves of American servicemen from the War of 1812 and up to Vietnam.
100 foot Chalmette Monument
They treated us to many gourmet meals. This was a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel. Since we walked 13 miles this day we did not count calories when ordering.
The city is so beautiful to walk through especially at night.
This is a view of the roof of the World War II Museum lit up at night.
Here is St Charles St boulevard where the Streetcar line runs.
We took a long walk along the Bayou St. John and enjoyed seeing the wildlife.
We were disappointed we did not see any alligators and that the kayak rentals were not available as traditionally we do some boating activity with them when they visit us.
We did see a variety of birds.
Video of Jim stalking a Great White Heron.
There are many big beautiful homes along this stretch of the bayou, that is an island.
This home in a nearby neighborhood is decorating for Carnival/Mardi Gras.
We had a light lunch at a beer garden and a celebratory drink after walking 10.7 miles.
Despite Jim’s grin we were sorry to see them go and they were sad to leave. Good news is they are already booked for Kyoto with us in April.
Laissez le bon temps rouler (let the good times roll).