New Orleans Looks so Different!

This was a very relaxing and much needed trip. I was able to wake up each morning and be excited for whatever we did or didn't decide to do for the day. So relaxing and refreshing for both of us. 

It was a bit of a late start driving down to Bossier City, LA for the night. I made it to the booked hotel, La Quinta, to find that the "system" was down {meaning they can't see the availability of the rooms and no official check-in}. The man at the front desk tried calling the head quarters {I'm guessing} to find a way to give me a room, but it was unsuccessful. So, since I arrived at 12:30 a.m., all I really wanted to do was go straight to bed. I waited for about 30-45 minutes until it was time to find another hotel for the few hours I would receive of sleep anyhow. Good thing there were quite a few hotels in the general area, I stayed at a Microtel. It was clean. It had a bed, and that's about all that mattered.

I wake up, get ready and am on the road by 9:30 a.m. to head for New Orleans! I run into a ton of small rain bursts about every 30 minutes, it seemed, but made it to the hotel by 3:15 that afternoon. I did make a quick stop in a small town about two hours outside of NOLA, called Iberville. They had their own really nice welcome center and a heavy-packed inventory gift shop!
I arrived, checked-in to the hotel and we could not wait any longer for the first cajun meal at The Original Pierre Maspero's! It was de-li-cious! 
I started with the Seafood Pistolettes...
...then my main course was the fried green tomatoes topped with grilled shrimp.

I was stuffed to the gill after this meal, but luckily, had a ton of walking/sightseeing to do! So, on to the French Quarters! It always enjoy the Jackson Square area and hearing all the performers {of all types} as you walk through. 
Jackson Square Cathedral
The Roots of Music
One unique thing about New Orleans is the talent! There's a ton of it, but unfortunately, it's not always the best positive for young performers. They are at risk on many levels, being on the streets trying to bring home extra funds for themselves and their family. The Roots of Music is a nonprofit to bring at-risk kids off the streets and promote support to them through music. They also include free school tutoring, meals and other activities. 
I was very impressed with their performance as a group!

Later in the evening, I met up with some of my old co-workers from Moore Norman Technology Center and one of my best friends, Andrea on Bourbon Street! Of course, it's always a wild time and I was glad to spend it with great people!

After long days since I left home, I didn't leave the hotel until about noon. The much needed rest was great! For most of my vacations I've had, there's been somewhat of a plan for almost each hour of each day. I had plenty of ideas for this trip, but it wasn't just my vacation. I went straight to Johnny's Po-Boys restaurant for the best po-boys in New Orleans. I had the oyster po-boy. It was delicious! 
I had done some online researched of a historical tour of the city. I knew there were stores around the French Quarters to book a tour for a set price, but as we were walking past the horse and carriage, the driver pointed and said to us, "We have two open seats!" In the photo online, there was a picture of the horse and carriages in front of Jackson Square {which is where we were} so I figured, perfect! This must be it! The tour I found online was suppose to be two hours and this one ended being about 30-45 minutes. Short and sweet. Only went down a few streets in the French Quarters, but none the less, it was informative.
I love all the bright colors!!
The oldest bar in America!
After the tour, we ventured over to buy some pralines from Loretta's, my personal favorite, for a little dessert. We spent the rest of the afternoon listening to a band play at The Gazebo Cafe and quenching our thirsts with fruity drinks, great conversation, people watching, and relaxing while the rain came down. 

I headed back to the hotel to freshen up, but did come across more street performers! They were great :)
I want to say he was ready for me to snap a picture of him ;)
Jackson Square
The day started a earlier, thankfully, because we had a bit of a hassle. I wanted to ride the street car down to the Garden District. Well, I had forgotten that there were two different lines {old one and new one}. You had to have the exact $1.25 per person to ride, so that was the first goal... break the bigger bill. I went in about four different convenient stores and had four different/odd experiences. I either unfortunately couldn't understand the desk clerk in the store, had to purchase an item from an expensive store, etc... So, I found one store and purchased a soft drink. Exact change... check. I walk across to the center of Canal Street and waited and waited for the street car. I didn't think to look at the street car route until right before it arrived. A woman saved me some frustration and just asked a local about the street car route. The local gentleman explained that this was the "new" route that just travels up and down Canal Street and the "old" route takes you to the Garden District, but you depart from a station about two blocks away. {Whew!
I head to the station that's all coming back to me now, but I do remember the very extensive wait from the past. I waited and waited. I thought if the street car doesn't come by "X" I would just save the street car experience for another trip. Sure enough, still had not arrived, so it was time for brunch! 

I headed back to the French Market to make a few more purchases of pralines from Loretta's and beads for souvenir gifts. On the way, I walked through some areas of the French Quarter and saw some cool art galleries and boutique shops along with some great entertainment from these guys...
I definitely considered The Gazebo Cafe to be the favorite spot for the trip. I claimed another table there and enjoyed the great music and drank a cold one for a couple hours.

I headed back to the hotel to change/freshen up before dinner and other activities to end the trip.
 The past two or three visits to New Orleans with my parents, my dad and I {sometimes the mom comes along} always make a visit to W.I.N.O {Wine Institute of New Orleans}. So, I thought this would be a great treat for my last evening in New Orleans. I usually kept the price of the tasting of each wine to ~$1.60 to about ~$2.20, so just from that, I had quite a good helping of wine to try from all over the world! It was very enjoyable :)
 After, I enjoyed one last meal at The Original Pierre Maspero.
Bread Pudding topped with ice cream...YUM!
Of course, I didn't want to leave and the thought of returning to work the next morning was not as pleasant, especially since I had about a 12 hour drive back home. I made it and I'm sure this won't be my last time in NOLA! Until next time...


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