Western Caribbean 2019:
Day 2 - New Orleans


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Western Caribbean 2019: [Day 1 - Great River Road] [Day 2 - New Orleans] [Day 3 - New Orleans Sailout] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Chichén Itzá, Mexico] [Day 6 - Roatán, Honduras] [Day 7 - Harvest Caye, Belize] [Day 8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Costa Maya, Mexico] [Day 10 - Drive Home]

Saturday, November 16, 2019: We were checked out and in line at the local McDonald's before 6:00 AM.
A spooky fog hovered over the landscape.
Blankets of kudzu along the road were topped with frost.
Here's a cute little square ...
... and faded mural in Lexington, MS.
This is the very creative Washington Monument Cell Tower in Ridgeland, MS.
Be still our hearts! It's a Luby's right next to a Fuddrucker's! If only we had the time to spend a weekend here!
We passed the Mississippi Coliseum as we arrived in Jackson. We had last seen it on a trip to New Orleans in 2001.
Here's the capitol building in Jackson.
Cool mural #1.
Cool mural #2.
It took a minute to find Mississippi's Merci Train boxcar by the G&O Depot, ...
... but fortunately, Debbie had previously scoped it out on Google Maps so we knew where it would be.
Here's the boxcar ...
... with a nice plaque explaining it.
The back was in great shape too. The shields on each side were not the original wood. Instead, they were images printed on something like plexiglass.
Behind us was the Old Capitol Museum.
Back on the road again, we stopped at a rest area with the best bathroom tile ever, ...
... then at a pharmacy to buy a bunch of cough drops for Debbie's hacking cough, and every bag of candy in the store while we were at it.
Bienvenue en Louisiane.
By 10:30 AM, we were at the Lake Pontchartrain toll booth. We specifically went a little out of our way so that we could pay $5 to drive on Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
The Causeway is almost 24 miles long.
It's great fun to go up and down the road, with the other side of the lake faintly visible in the distance.
Birds hung out on the tiny buildings along the way.
Some portions of the Causeway were under construction.
Only 4.3 miles left!
New Orleans was coming into clearer focus on the far shore to the left.
The Causeway ends in Metairie, which was our destination for lunch.
We applaud the recent trend of municipalities to paint utility boxes. This one featured an oyster and pearl.
The pipes across this waterway had fancy fencing to keep people from walking on them.
Here's a pretty bird. It's a red-headed duck, known locally as "Dos Gris."
We arrived at our lunch destination, New Orleans Food and Spirits, shortly after they opened at 11:00 AM.
It's great to arrive early!
We started with a cup of their Crawfish Corn Soup and Seafood Gumbeaux, swapping cups with each other halfway through, ...
... then shared an order of delicious voodoo crawfish rolls.
We were on our way less than a half-hour later, because we had places to be. Our next stop was a nearby mailbox to mail a couple of birthday cards, ...
... then we were off to New Orleans.
This must be the place, because there's the Superdome, now called the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It's right next to the Smoothie King Center.
Soon, we were stuck in our own personal hell as we tried in vain to find parking at the Julia Street Cruise Terminal for the cruise we'd be taking the next day.
We drove around. We looked for signs. We asked for help. We gave up.
We drove to our hotel instead, ...
... and paid for $50/night valet parking, which was our backup plan all along. But this did not bode well for our chances at parking the next day.
After that stress, we were delighted to find that our room was ready even though it was only 12:30 PM.
Pretty bathroom. This was the JW Marriott, and Debbie had stayed here back in 2004.
We settled in a bit and then headed out around 1:00 PM. The Audobon Insectarium looked fun but we had a packed afternoon schedule.
We walked down Decatur Avenue, ...
... past the secret hotel on the corner of St. Louis where our friend Pete stayed in 2004.
There was lots of activity at Jackson Square ...
... and a mob of people on the levee, so we had to settle for this photo to add to our collection of pictures of Debbie in this spot. Two different hustlers tried to engage us by telling Tom they liked his shoes.
Our next stop was mandatory.
Of course, it was Cafe Du Monde.
We found a tiny table in the crowded restaurant and placed our order.
Ten minutes later, we had a pair of hot chocolates, and a pile of beignets.
We left 15 minutes later with sugar in our bellies and dusted on our clothes and headed to Aunt Sallie's for a little window shopping. As much as Debbie loves Aunt Sallie's pralines, we decided to wait before buying any so we didn't have to lug them all over the French Quarter.
Next up: Dutch Alley.
Debbie had been here with her family in 1983 so we had some old pictures to reproduce. This is the closest we could get to ...
... this picture of her mother with the same statue.
This statue had been moved so the background had changed.
Here's how it looked in 1983 when Debbie's brother posed with it.
Behind Dutch Alley is the parking lot where her car's window would not roll back up on New Year's Eve in 1994. But what's that in the distance?
Maersk! And the Creole Queen riverboat.
Debbie zoomed in even further ...
... to get a shot of MV Cape Kennedy (left) and MV Cape Knox (right), two Ready Reserve Force ships.
Our next stop was Tujague's.
We went inside to the bar (billed as the oldest stand-up bar in the country), took a look at the pricy drink menu, didn't get waited on, and decided to leave. We saw it. Good enough.
We wandered past the artists and the street performers outside Jackson Square.
This artist's work was pretty cool (Deconstructed Paintings by Joshua Duncan).
It featured painted canvases that were torn and the canvas strips were woven around each other leaving the frames exposed in places. However, we have a firm policy to not buy artwork on the street. Or at least we do starting right this minute.
This cool sculpture at the Presbytère was commissioned in 2018 to commemorate New Orlean's tricentennial.
We walked down lovely St. Ann Street, ...
... got to Bourbon Street, ...
... and turned left. We peeked in the window at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo but decided not to deal with the crowd and security guards inside.
This honky tonk is in the building that used to be ...
... the Funky Pirate, which was a popular stop during the 2004 4D Summit.
This balcony was the site of some shenanigans ...
... back in 2001.
We headed to Pat O'Brien's.
This was Tom's first visit but Debbie's third.
It was a perfect day for sipping a couple of hurricanes on the patio.
The table on the wall way behind Debbie ...
... was the site of her last visit in 2004.
The patio was hopping with activity. There was a 50th birthday party over there, ...
... and a bachelorette party over there (for which we offered our table), ...
... and a group of friends next to us who tried unsuccessfully to finish off the largest hurricane we've ever seen.
Jill called for some advice and Debbie did her best to help despite the noise and her slight inebriation.
Such a sad sight: empty Pat O'Brien's hurricane glasses.
On our way out, to the left was the location of the ...
... infamous 1994 group photo in which Clark (lower right) is wearing a t-shirt with his cousin's band on it. This picture sat on Debbie's refrigerator for a year before she found out that the band was Better Than Ezra at the peak of their fame.
Back on Bourbon Street, we passed the balcony where the 2004 4D Summit party was held. Good times.
We arrived at Oceana Grill around 4:00 PM, ready to eat an early dinner like the old people that we are.
Here's Tom's view out the window, ...
... and here's Debbie's.
We started out with some refreshing beers, ...
... and a hilarious follow-up conversation with Jill.
Our appetizers were barbecued shrimp ...
... and half-dozen oysters, despite the local shortage of oysters.
Debbie's a fan!
Debbie had Louisiana crab cakes with mashed potatoes and greens, ...
... and Tom had blackened redfish ettoufee with jambalaya and greens.
Thank you for taking our photo, kind server!
A very small parade passed by on Bourbon Street for a minute, consisting of a small brass band and a couple of flamboyant outfits.
As we enjoyed a second round of drinks, we watched the preparations being made for a wedding reception at the venue across the street.
We got two desserts to go and rolled out of there at 5:30 PM, and saw that there was already a line to get into the place. Yay for old people timing!
As we made our way back to our hotel, we enjoyed the sights of Bourbon Street.
Here are statues of musicians "Fats" Domino, Al "Jumbo" Hirt, and Pete Fountain.
We passed Remoulade, where we ate in 2001 and created the rule that if the waiter asks you, "Are you sure?", you immediately change your mind and order your jambalaya less spicy.
This gallery was selling Peter Max paintings. More on this later in this travelog. Oh, yes, we have opinions on this matter.
We stopped into a souvenir store, Magnolia Sugar & Spice. It featured a large hot sauce bar, but we did not partake.
If you need a jug - a JUG - of Tabasco, you'd better be a restaurant owner or chef. This much hot sauce would kill a regular person.
We were a little drunk at this point and did not realize that we were committing a tragic error: buying Aunt Sally's creamy pralines instead of original. This sad fact was not discovered until the next day when it was too late to fix.
We passed the Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street, which is home to a carousel bar. Maybe we will see it someday. But the real reason for passing it was ...
... to recreate this photo from 1983.
We doubled back to Bourbon Street to the site of ...
... the very first Debbie-and-Brian squished face photo, a longtime 4D Summit tradition that started on this very corner in 2004. Back then, the Hard Rock Cafe was Howl at the Moon. Businesses come and go around here.
There's a fancy Krystal restaurant. We made a vow to get to a Krystal before the end of our vacation. Spoiler: we did.
We were back at the JW Marriott by 6:00 PM, drunk, happy, and exhausted.
We wolfed down our desserts from the Oceana Grill and went to bed very early.

Day 3 >


Western Caribbean 2019: [Day 1 - Great River Road] [Day 2 - New Orleans] [Day 3 - New Orleans Sailout] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Chichén Itzá, Mexico] [Day 6 - Roatán, Honduras] [Day 7 - Harvest Caye, Belize] [Day 8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Costa Maya, Mexico] [Day 10 - Drive Home]

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