Thursday, February 09, 2012

NOLA Part 2

On the Friday morning I headed down to the Quarter after breakfast (possibly at Pinkberry) and joined a free walking tour.  It was at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (which is really a building in the French Quarter, close to the Mississippi, that they have preserved and set up as a small museum). It wasn't super long and they really only took us down towards the River because the city doesn't want a 'free' tour going on in the Quarter where all the other paying tours are going on. The information that the guide shared was incredible!!

The Cabildo Museum, holds a legacy of historic
 events and cultural diversity about the state of LA.

When the France took over New Orleans, they told the French people it was mountainous and hot and sunny...well when the French came over it was hot, humid and swampy!  Word got back to France that this 'new land' wasn't so great and no one wanted to France emptied out their prisons and married the criminals and prostitutes and sent them over!  Many died on the long journey over from disease and from 'new disease' when they got the founders of New Orleans were criminals and prostitutes!  LOL

Pretty ironwork on a door

If you visit NOLA, I highly recommend the free tour!!

Our guide also told us that when Spain took over after France's 40 years there, few Spanish families came to settle, so the Spanish men married the French's daughters!  I guess that was a 'tsk, tsk' type of thing too!

Lots of these entranceways into beautiful courtyards or restaurants

Through the entranceway into the courtyard

In the 1790's the Spanish, are the settlers who built all these courtyards...they would build the homes/buildings right up to the sidewalk, leaving a space of beauty, an oasis, in the middle for themselves to enjoy...they could shut out the 'bad' of the outside world.  The big openings with the gates (two pictures up), were for the horse and wagons to enter and exit from the courtyards inside.

Beautiful ironwork on one of the large entrances

One of the gates into Jackson Square

A bench inside Jackson Square

Evidence of Mardi Gras

I liked Royal St., there were a bunch of cute shops there to browse in and the sign still had some beads hanging from it..evidence of the ever popular Mardi Gras, that happens on any Tuesday between February 3rd and March 9th. It is the day before Ash Wednesday.  The best place I found to pick up the cheaper beads (all the others seemed to be speciality ones, ie. NFL teams, or some kind of a theme) was in the French Market.

If you are walking past Cafe du Monde, keep going a few blocks and you'll come to the market...there were lots of great places to eat at and a flea market type spot at the far end. These beads were the cheapest and the kind for throwing away (like Mardi Gras). Along the way in the market, I came a cross Rod Broussard, a local photographer, he had the best work (to me anyway) that I saw the whole time I was there....take a moment to check out his site...I think my favourite was the 'Weeping Angel'. I didn't purchase this one, but I did buy one of the 'French Quarter Door' prints, with the red doors and turquoise shutters.

When I made my way back towards the 'Square' I passed these gentlemen. Take a quick listen!! I then went around the back of Cafe du Monde and you can see them in the kitchen making the Beignets! Quite interesting!

Comes out of the roller and through the rectangular cutter,
then they get tossed into the deep fryer behind them!

The Horse heads

These aren't really considered 'old' when it comes to New Orleans history, or so I was told anyway and some locals in the shops had no idea where to send me when I asked about them...I just happened to come across them. I believe these were on Royal St. as you get closer to Canal St., these ones still had their rings. They were used to tie up the horses when people would stop and go into the shops...many have had their rings stolen and some are all chipped up, but this was the nicest bunch I came across all in a row.

Canal St. trolley

Canal Street was considered 'neutral ground' between the early settlers in the French Quarter and the working class of the Business District. The tour guide from the National Park said that New Orleans actually had many canals running through it and anywhere you see streets with the middle sections, this is where the canals use to be. He said that the French Quarter was built 'right' for proper drainage and then the 'American's' who were in the Business area redesigned their area, covering up the canals and didn't do such a great job...where the flooding was I believe?? Hmmmm....don't quote me though!

Oh! New Orleans actually has a subtropical climate...they had some banana trees growing in Jackson Square that the Guide had pointed out!

Overall I enjoyed the city, there is still so much to do and see there...I have my list of 'to do's' if we ever go back, ie. I'd take a proper tour of the graveyards and of the streets with the massive, southern homes, do the horse and buggy tour around the Quarter and take more pictures!! Oh, plus eat lots more Pinkberry!!

I'll leave you with this funny picture...this is what I looked at the flight to New Orleans...the lady in front of me, ever so kindly, hung her hair (at least it was clean!) over the back of her seat so that it nicely dangled above my tray table!  Hubby and I couldn't believe it! I'm sure my mouth was wide open, completely stunned that someone would do that??!!  Am I wrong?? Seriously. Thank goodness no hairs fell onto my table, I think I would have lost it! I'm not sure what actually stopped me from asking her to move her hair, but I didn't say anything...I think I was just too stunned...(oh, Hubby kindly reminded me it was HIM that stopped me).

Cheeky ladies hair

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

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