Wednesday, January 21, 2015


day 2 was the busiest day (and with the most pictures). as with every trip, i wake up early in the morning. i am much more of a morning than night person. i like to see the city before it wakes up. unfortunately, it was a very, very rainy day. so much rain. it was not ideal, but it did make the city glow. also, it kept the crowds away. we made our way to the french quarter...and got lost a few times.

the first stop was the lafitte national park service's french quarter visitor center. they have ranger led history tours at 9:30 in the morning. the tour was from the center down to the levee and mississippi. i love visiting the nps. they are so friendly and a joy to be around. while there, my dad made a joke about the ranger's hat and smokey the bear. i responded that smokey the bear was part of the national forestry service, not nps. the ranger said i should be an honorary ranger and get a nps certificate for knowing the difference. i was happy. 

the levee and mississippi river

then i went to jackson square, where many of the museums are at. the first stop was the cabildo, a building from the spanish colonial period and where the louisiana purchase was signed. today it is a museum about the history of the area from the indigenous to the american occupation.

the cabildo (c. 1795-99)

next was the presbytere which has museum exhibits on mardi gras and hurricane katrina. this was definitelty one of the highlights. the hurricane katrina exhibit was so fascinating. i was rather young when it happened, 12, and did not have a good understanding of what happened and the impact it made. it was the biggest american civil engineering fail. also, as someone who studied public history, it was interesting to see the different artifacts that may not be deemed to some as traditional items. for example, a pair of a denim pants one local businessman wore that had his name, emergency contact information, and his social security written with sharpie. he stayed behind with his business and took precautions so his body could be identified of found. so interesting and eye opening. i wish i could go back and really take my time looking around. unfortunately, i was in such a rush.

the entrance of the hurricane katrina exhibit, with glass bottles and little hands.

a garage door from a local home after katrina.

a seahorse mardi gras costume

next we went to the 1850 house, another house run by the state of louisiana.

the back balcony of the 1850 house.

the servants' quarters

next we walked for hours winding up and down the french quarter. i could have spent even more time walking these streets. so many beautiful homes with beautiful little details, wrought iron gates, and colors. we also made a pit stop at cc's coffee house, a coffee chain in southern louisiana. they have a very tasty white chocolate latte.

many buildings have these signs.

to the right is madame john's legacy, believed to be the second oldest building in the french quarter (c. 1789) and of creole architecture.

fancy mardi gras door.

next, i made my way to the old u.s. mint (c. 1838). today, it is owned in partnership with the state of louisiana and the nps. inside there is a jazz museum, which also houses louis armstrong's first cornet. it is the only mint to make both u.s. and confederate currency.

clarence "gatemouth" brown's instrument, which was ruined by katrina.

we then walked more through the french quarter and saw this funny sign.

it was last minute, but i decided to go to the voodoo museum. i know there are a few in nola and they can be quite gimicky, but this was one that i heard was not too bad. when in nola, you need to at least see one voodoo museum, right?

we then walked even more through the french quarter (i could have continued for hours). also, i stopped at the new orleans jazz national historical park, run by the nps.

jackson square

and right behind jackson square, a jazz street performance.

here is another song by the same band that i found on youtube. i love his voice. i tried for hours searching what song they are performing, but i give up. boo. it kind of sounds like 'minnie the moocher,' but the few lyrics i can understand don't match. it could have been improvised. who knows. one day i will find it.

and now a walk down bourbon street... 

we ate at a little place in musical legends park, called cafe beignet. they also had live jazz music and really decent prices. i had a plate of fried goodness (fish, shrimp, okra, and potatoes), red beans and rice with french bread, and sweet tea.

now for a song...i chose cab calloway's rendition of st. james infirmirary (it's the song from the linked youtube video). his voice is crae crae.

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