Road Trip USA! New Orleans

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On the road in Mississippi.

Day 7 & 8

After a week of visiting the Sunshine State we rolled out of Florida and into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana where the drive ended with a beautiful sunset outline of the landscape.  Hello New Orleans! This is the second stop on our cross country adventure. It was late by the time we arrived so we checked into a hotel in the historic French Quarter  and were looking forward to exploring the city the next day.

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With only one full day to explore this historic city we opted to give the Hop On Hop Off bus a try. We had done this in Barcelona years ago and really enjoyed it. Plus  It was a great way to learn all  about the city while getting around.  One of the first things the tour guide told us was that New Orleans loves it old buildings. Like the French they don’t knock them down, but try to salvage and find new uses for them. The beauty of this is that the city has a charm all it’s own.  New Orleans was founded by the French in 1718, and if you have ever been to Paris, you can see the French influence in this city.

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Gas Lamps in the French Quarter.

A walking tour of the Garden District was our first hop off the bus. Here we learned all about the unique style of pre-Civil war houses that line the streets.  Back in the day they made them with tall ceilings  and porches  so that the hot air would be trapped high above. We also learned that the heavy black wrought iron fences and details that doctorate many of the old buildings is of Spanish influence. The houses in the Garden District were large and grand. After the tour we spent time shopping on Magazine Street. 6 miles of retail heaven.
 
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Pre-Civil War style house.
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Ann Rice House in the Garden District.
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Wrought iron fences and details are popular in New Orleans.

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The mark of Hurricane Katrina. All buildings were marked after a search to show what was found inside. The “0” at the bottom of this mark says that no bodies were found inside this house.

The second hop off the bus was Mardi Gras World, a tour of the workshop that makes all those famous parade floats. Did you know that Mardi Gras is 2 whole weeks of parades? I always thought it was just one big event on Fat Tuesday. Here we learned all about how the floats are made using layers of styrofoam and paper. It takes a whole year to get all the floats ready for the parade.

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The humidity in New Orleans is a beast! 5 hours of exploring in this heat left us all grumpy. Back to the hotel we went for a little recovery before setting out to explore the French Quater. New Orleans is a party city! Streets alive with music, trinket shops,  and people. But Bourbon Street is not for families, and we set off to find great Cajun food at The Royal House

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After dinner we headed out for a real treat at the famous Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee!

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Our walk back to the hotel took us  winding through the narrow streets of the French Quarter  where we stumbled across an open artist studio in the middle of the night. Inside was the most friendly gentleman painting away  surrounded by hundred of canvases. He was happy to tell us his life story and about how he moved to New Orleans and took up painting in his retirement. This was one of those magic gem experiences everyone wishes for when they travel. If you want to know more about Adrian Fulton’s paintings  you can check out  web site here www.laughyet-la.us

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Next stop: Houston, Texas!

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