We got off in Carrollton and walked to a little stand in the middle of a neighborhood, and got snowballs, which are basically really soft snowcones available in a hundred flavors and dished out in Chinese takeout containers. I LOVED mine. I was so happy. I don't think Brie and Heidi were quite as excited about theirs as I was about mine. (I'll spare you the shot of my strawberry/raspberry-stained tongue.)
We walked around in Carrollton, which was kind of exhausting because of the heat. Heidi said she knows now why things are slow in the south... it's just too hot to do anything quickly. We looked around in a boutique in the Riverbend district, which used to be an open air market, and walked back to the streetcar, which we took back to the Quarter.
The Carrollton stop:
What happened back at the apartment:
We did rally later, and attempted to go to two restaurants (Port of Call = 90 minute wait, Napoleon House = closed) before settling on a restaurant in the Quarter with some generic name like "Quarter Restaurant," where Brie was tricked into ordering fried duck quesadillas. Everything here is fried.
"The Louisiana diet will kill a man as surely as the sword." ~King of the Hill
We also went to Cafe du Monde and got beignets and hot chocolate. And discussed politics. Just how we roll.
The next day we drove to Slidell (which took longer than it should have because I hadn't yet replaced the spare tire, but fortunately Brie's dad entertained us by singing Ol' Man River on speakerphone as we drove over the bridge) and went on a flatboat tour of Honey Island Swamp, which was about an hour longer than my attention span could handle, but still kind of fun.
An alligator named Yellow Jaw:
A dragonfly named Vilhelm:
A swamp resident whose name I didn't catch:
And cajun air conditioning:
On the way back, we stopped near Bayou St. John to get po' boys at Parkway Bakery, though I couldn't get either Brie or Heidi to get the fried shrimp one, as Heidi does not like shrimp and Brie does not like fried. Then we drove around that area a little to see the bayou and then on to Lake Pontchartrain.
New Orleans is on the river, but all connection to the river is as a port. For recreation, people go to the lake. We saw a lot of people with picnics and frisbees. Further along, cement steps go right down into the water. We drove through the Lakeview area, which was badly flooded during Katrina when the 17th Street levee was breeched, and onto Bucktown, a commercial fishing village that was destroyed. The high water marks here were near or on the roofs of the houses, and many, many of them were still boarded up or were obviously empty inside.
Then we went back to the Quarter, and drove around until we found 521 Governor Nicholls, New Orleans home of the prettiest couple in the world. Why did we do this in New Orleans when we wouldn't do this in Los Angeles? I don't know. It's a mystery.
In case you missed that issue of Star, this is the house, only a few blocks from my place:
After that went home and washed the swamp/lake off, and headed out to the Columns Hotel, where people actually sit on the veranda and sip mint juleps. Besides the mosquitoes, which were out with a vengeance, it was awesome. Oh, Mint Julep, where have you been all my life? The Columns is on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District amidst a bunch of big old houses, so it was really quiet and peaceful. Every once in a while a streetcar would go by, the handful of people inside lit up like they were on a moving stage. In this picture you can see the blurred image of a streetcar, as well as the drunk white-haired gentleman who introduced his friend Nadine to us about six times:
After that, we went back to Port of Call, where Heidi and I split a hamburger and Brie and I tried their famous Monsoons. They like to name drinks after disastrous weather conditions here. We were trying to get to Preservation Hall by 11 in time to catch the last jazz set, and we did get there by 11, just in time to catch it closing. I could write an entire blog entry about the things here that are supposed to be open at various times and are not. I won't. But I could.
Since we couldn't hear jazz, we had to content ourselves with just walking around looking really, really hot. Like this:
And we may have eaten more beignets. Can't be sure.
Dere's an ol' man called de Mississippi
Dat's de ol' man dat I'd like to be!
What does he care if de world's got troubles?
What does he care if de land ain't free?
Ol' man river,
Dat ol' man river
He mus' know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes' keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.
~ "Ol' Man River"
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II