Friday, July 05, 2013

New Orleans Adventure: Second Day Shenanigans

On our second full day in New Orleans we had a number of things to do.  The first was get an awesome breakfast and the Camellia Grill turned out to be the place.  As a matter of fact, the Camellia Grill is the only restaurant we ate at twice during our New Orleans stay.  The counter-only diner sits everyone elbow to elbow at a serpentine counter.  The staff is engaging, funny, and helpful.  The chefs stations are on one wall and visible to the diners.  The staff yell orders to the chefs and you get your food hot and fast not to mention good.

Today was also going to be trolley day.  After the filling breakfast we walked to the Toulouse trolley station and caught a trolley down river.  We missed our first transfer which ended up not being a big issue.  After transferring to the Canal street trolley and then the St Charles Trolley we made our way to the garden district.

The St Charles Trolley in front of the Robert E. Lee memorial.
The garden district is the historic American sector of New Orleans.  Canal street separates the French from the American areas.  They are so separate that streets that cross Canal street change names.  We walked a couple blocks from the Trolley stop to Lafayette Cemetery where we would meet our walking tour guide.  This turned out to be Katy.  Katy was an 80-something New Orleanian in a lovely blue caftan.  Right away she looked like a character and she turned out to be a hoot and a half.  She started the tour in the cemetery giving us a lot of history and explanation about New Orleans burial practises.  We learned about the saying "giving you the shaft" which has to do with the dumping of decomposed remains through a hole in the back of the tomb to a pit in the bottom so that the tomb could be re-used.

After a lot of cemetery talk, and right when we were worried that the whole tour would be in the cemetery, we left and headed through the streets of the garden district.  Katy pointed out different homes owned by celebrities (Trent Reznor, Nicolas Cage, Sandra Bullock among others).  Katy told interesting and often funny stories of people and houses in the district.  It was well worth walking in the heat and humidity.

A home in the Garden District of New Orleans.
After the tour we hopped back on the trolley and headed back toward Canal street getting off at the national World War II museum.  We ate at the restaurant in the museum.  This was the first museum restaurant I've ever eaten at with the chef's name on the door.  The chef, John Besh, has appeared on Top Chef Masters and other television cooking shows.  The food was pretty good.

A bomber on display at the WWII museum.
After the excellent lunch we toured the museum and watched a forty-eight minute movie about WWII.  I was surprised what was left out of the movie.  I guess you had to limit it because of the length of the movie.  The movie was 4D meaning it included motion and special effects in the theater to enhance the movie.  It was fun.  The other thing that I found nice was the number of WWII veterans that were in the audience.

After the museum we got back on the trolley and headed back to the French Quarter.  We staggered back to the hotel and nearly passed out on the bed.  I think the heat snuck up on us and, combined with all the great food we'd eaten already that day, we both bloated up.  You've seen bloated roadkill by the side of the road on a hot day?  Well, that's what I felt like.  We decided to skip dinner that night and ended up just snacking and drinking lots of fluids.

The lights of Bourbon Street.
I recovered a bit by early evening and went out with my camera and wandered around a bit.  My first destination was Bourbon street.  The Wife really didn't want anything to do with Bourbon street and I can understand this.  It can be a bit chaotic and full of drunken people.  I decided that it would be wrong to come to New Orleans and not see Bourbon street at least once.  I got there before the unclean masses reached critical mass so it wasn't too bad.  I watched street performers and listened to the rock, jazz, and zydeco music wafting out of the bars along the neon lit street.  I got my fill and heading off the street and made my way to canal street, down to the ferry station, and walked along the river.

I wandered around until I was sweaty again and headed back to the room.  We hadn't done everything we'd wanted to do that day but we did learn to pace ourselves.  There would be plenty of time to finish what we'd skipped. We also learned that two meals were our daily limit.  A third meal and I think I would have exploded.

Pictures of the second full day in New Orleans can be found in my 2013-06 New Orleans Google Photos album.

2 comments:

  1. oh no tummy troubles! I laughed out loud when you said you felt like bloated roadkill-totally been there.

    What a cool day you two had (or rather a very hot one!) I'm glad you got to see so much cool stuff. I never would have thought bourbon street would have neon signs! I know that's silly, but true. It's very different from what I imagined!

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    1. Miss McC: Fortunately it didn't last for very long.

      Bourbon street is turning into a sleazier version of Las Vegas without the gambling but with all the drinking and sleaze. Many of our tour guides lamented the decline of bourbon street.

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