Friday, July 12, 2013

New Orleans Adventure: Wrapping Up The Odds And Ends

The last full day in New Orleans was filled with odds and ends - things we'd wanted to do earlier in the week and just couldn't manage to do them.  This resulted in a slightly eclectic but busy last day in New Orleans.

We started the day by sleeping in late.  We left mid morning and headed to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.  We stopped at a subway to buy a soda.  An older man was sitting at a table and ask the Wife if she was going to finish her soda as we were leaving.  She asked him if he wanted a drink.  He said yes and asked if we could buy him an orange juice.  I was happy to help the man since at least he was picking a healthier option.

We reached the Insectarium right after a school field trip had arrived.  This enhanced our experience immensely.  It was hilarious listening to the oohs, ahhs,  and AHHS! that came out of the kids as they went from one display to the next looking at all the creepy, crawly insects, millipedes, and spiders.  We stopped to watch the short 4D movie which included seats that moved like there were things crawling down there.  I have to admit the buzz of the bees felt good on my butt.  Everyone, child and adult alike, screamed and jumped when the seats squirmed.  The last stop was the butterfly garden which reminded me of the one at the Omaha Zoo.

A butterfly at the insectarium.
From the insectarium we walked the block or two to the Canal Street ferry station and caught the free ferry (free for pedestrians) to Algiers.  We stopped at a small restaurant near the Algiers ferry terminal to have lunch before walking around the historic neighborhood.  It was nice to visit a normal neighborhood without any of the glitz and tourism.  I could see myself living there.

An iconic New Orleans water meter cover.
Our stay in Algiers was fairly short.  We rode the ferry back to the other side of the Mississippi and caught the shuttle to Mardi Gras World.  We took a tour of one of the fifteen warehouses where Mardi Gras floats are built.  Most of the figures on the floats are carved styrofoam covered in paper mache.  Others are fiberglass.  As we walked through the warehouse we passed artists carving, covering, and painting the various figures for the 2014 Mardi Gras parades for one of the krewes.  Building of next years floats starts the day after Mardi Gras.  One of the floats we saw costed close to $1.1 million and was over 300 feet long.  These floats are serious business.  Despite all the Disney and Marvel characters, among others, no corporate sponsorship or advertising is allowed on the floats.  All the funds come from the krewe dues and krewe fund raisers.  It was fun walking around the giant figures.  After the tour we stopped at the Mardi Gras World cafe and had a free piece of  King Cake.

Mardi Gras World float figures.
Mardi Gras World was the last stop of the day.  We took the free shuttle back to the ferry terminal and then walked back to the hotel.  It felt like one of the hottest days yet by the time we got back to the hotel.

That evening we had a light dinner followed by gelato (two scoops for me - dulce de leche and dark chocolate).  Before we called it a night we wandered around a bit to complete our New Orleans magnet collection and listened to street musicians (This is Tanya and Dorise - an awesome duet).  It turned out to be an early night.  Being Friday night, staying in was a good option considering the crazies out in the street partying.

The day turned out to be a full but quiet end to our stay in New Orleans.  Tomorrow we start our trip home with a few more stops along the way.

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

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