Back on the Bayou

By Eilene Lyon

We picked up a rental car at the New Orleans airport and headed to our hotel – a reasonably priced national brand right on St. Charles in the Garden District. For our brief stay in the city, we could take the trollies wherever we needed to go.

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St. Charles streetcar line.
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Aren’t these wood benches just gorgeous?

We took the St. Charles streetcar as far as Tulane University and Audubon Park where we strolled around and through a nearby neighborhood. Then back the other way to visit the renowned Lafayette Cemetery.

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The Blind Pelican where we had drinks and appetizers our first night in New Orleans.
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Land shark?
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Three’s company?
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Lafayette Cemetery. We were a little surprised that many of the mausoleums and grave markers were in terrible repair.
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Some rather unusual names turn up.
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Not everything in the cemetery is grim.

For the afternoon, we went downtown and walked Canal Street to the river. It was “Navy Week” and there were many tall ships moored near the aquarium. Had a huge lunch at the Crazy Lobster on the waterfront.

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Tall ships at the riverfront.

We stopped briefly at the Jean Lafitte National Park visitor center. Lafitte was a French pirate/privateer who supported the U.S. during the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. We then walked around Jackson Square and the French Quarter. I would not want to be here during Mardi Gras. We are both more than a bit crowd averse!

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A lively street band in the French Quarter.
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A step back in time.

The next day we visited a Creole plantation called Laura. The tour there is excellent and it was interesting to learn about the differences between a Creole-style plantation vs. an English-style one. Laura is also unusual in that the women of the family ran the business.

The main house is small compared to the grand plantations you think of, but well-designed to stay cool in the oppressive southern heat and humidity. Of course, enslaved people provided the bulk of the labor on the plantation. The tour included the still-existing slave quarters.

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Rear view of the Laura plantation house (the front is too obscured by trees for a good photo).
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View toward the levee from the front of the plantation house.
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View of the plantation grounds.
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Some of the plantation buildings.

After the somewhat less-than-stellar bayou tour, we headed out to Grand Isle for the bird festival. We asked a local where to find the Jean Lafitte Woodlands (a Nature Conservancy property) and she replied, “I never heard of them, and I’ve lived here my whole life.” That sums up how much this place is geared toward tourism.

Signage was terrible, but we managed to blunder our way to where we needed to be anyway. There are no hotels on Grand Isle, so we stayed in Galliano. (There is camping in a state park on the island.)

One day we stopped in Houma and toured their Terrebonne Waterlife Museum – which we found very informative. We got an added treat meeting a true “Cajun” (Acadian) who was there for a family association meeting in the building, and he gave us a long rundown on the Acadian story.

I mentioned in my previous post that we visited Avery Island and toured the Tabasco Factory and bird refuge. Afterward we had lunch at the Rip Van Winkle plantation and gardens (where we saw the brilliant peacock). We also watched a raccoon climb a tree, leap to an adjoining tree, and go down into a cavity where it probably had a den with babies.

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Rip Van Winkle plantation home.
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Exotic statuary and features in the Rip Van Winkle gardens.
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While dining at Rip Van Winkle, we enjoyed watching these two tykes playing around the giant tree on the lakefront.

We decided to do our own “swamp tour” by canoe at the Lake Fausse Point State Park. Most of the wildlife we saw there were thousands of crawfish. And of course, no trip to Louisiana would be complete without a visit to a crawfish shack.

Lunch break on our canoe tour in the state park.
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That crawfish on the sign looks way too happy.
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As I recall it, if you bought one of these 3# trays of crawfish, it was all-you-could-eat. The Putterer managed to clean this one up, but that was enough. One guy there, who had quite an “investment” in his gut, managed to polish off three trays worth.

One of our last stops was Baton Rouge. We didn’t have time to see much, but we had an excellent dinner at a restaurant near the university campus. Through our entire stay, we had beautiful weather and everything was so lush and green. April is a grand time to visit the Pelican State.

Feature image: Jackson Square in downtown New Orleans

P.S. If I vanish for a bit in early June, don’t be alarmed. There are a couple probable causes:

  1. I haven’t figured out the WordPress block editor.
  2. I’ll be busy setting up my new computer. I so can’t wait to get rid of the piece of junk I’ve been using. My productivity should see a big improvement.

47 thoughts on “Back on the Bayou

Add yours

  1. Never been so hot as in New Orleans in June. I was there for a convention and decided to walk the couple of blocks to the convention center. It 6:30 a.m. and after half a block, I had to return to the hotel to change my shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the photos. I’ve never been to New Orleans. You’re comments about tourism were interesting because I’ve never heard anyone say they weren’t geared for tourism before. Seems like you had a lovely trip, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It was just the Grand Isle area that was not tourist oriented, which was a little surprising given it was on the gulf coast. The rest of the places we visited definitely had tourism in the agenda.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I do know that the old style will still be an option, but they’re planning to make it part of the block editor instead of a stand-alone option. At least that’s the way it sounded to me. We’ll see what happens! It’s good to learn new things — sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gorgeous photos–and it looks like a wonderful trip. That Rip Van Winkle Plantation–wow, stunning. I’ve never been to N.O., but it’s my sister’s favorite American city–I think a girls’ springtime trip to the French Quarter might be in order. No, we would never want to go during Mardi Gras, either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Garden District is really worth a visit. That’s really all we saw of the city. We enjoyed exploring the southern part of the state. I think Baton Rouge would be worth a bit more time than we gave it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s such a unique place, I loved our evenings and nights spent in the French Quarter. Although I did have a particularly interesting introduction to the Hurricane, which MUST be sipped . . . I learned too late, LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a fun tour to read, must have been even more fun to experience! Don’t get me started on that new editor. I tried it this week and I am frustrated! Spending 3 or 4 hours trying to post…ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, patience is what is needed…make notes on what works. The first time I used it I figured some things out, but the second time, it didn’t seem to work the same way, obviously I’m missing something,… Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful. New Orleans was one of the first places I visited in the US, very early 90s I think. John and a colleague was at a conference and his wife and I had a fine time. I seem to remember drinking lots of Hurricanes (though if I can remember, maybe not that many).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. New Orleans looks so cool, though the thousands of crawfish bit put me off visiting that particular park! I have a phobia of crustaceans and I don’t want to be anywhere near the things, especially not eating them! I’m fine with raccoons and land sharks though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We didn’t go anywhere near the crawfish, which clustered on the muddy banks of the channel we were paddling. They aren’t appetizing to me in the least. Especially after dissecting them in biology class. Yech! I don’t eat lobster, either. I will do crab legs on occasion, though. And shrimp.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful photos! Never been there and like you, I’d never want to be during Mardi Gras.
    I tried the block editor a few times and found it soooo frustrating! And I consider myself a pretty quick learner, computer-wise. I wish I thought to add a P.S. to my last post, in case I vanish. You’re smart!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. NOLA is a beautiful city, and your photos captured it beautifully! When were you there?

    I’ve learned that there will be an option to stick with the Classic Editor after the switchover. I am avoiding the block editor like…COVID19.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were there in April 2012.

      Yes, I did see that option, but it sounded like it was a “classic editor” mask on the block editor, rather than the actual classic editor. Love your analogy!😄

      Liked by 1 person

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