Big and Loud in New Orleans

We took is slow that morning. Still sore and sunburnt from yesterday, we ate a relaxed breakfast at a local café before heading off on the trolley to see the Garden District. We transferred at the famous St. Charles Line, waiting with the other tourists as they cluster in awed packs. After a short trip on the old-fashioned trolley, we got off and walked over to the Lafayette Cemetery.

We listened in on a few tour groups as we wandered amongst the tombs. Apparently, after something that happened during the filming of Easy Rider, the Church now won’t allow filming to take place in their cemeteries, making this Non-Catholic gravesite the only one in town available to film crews. I haven’t seen enough movies/TV shows set in New Orleans to recognize anything, but others sure did.

“It’s just like in the movies!” I heard one tourist exclaim.

Afterwards, we ended up unintentionally following one of the tour groups around the neighborhood, watching as they listened to the guide and gaped at the pristine, 100-year-old mansions around them. We did our fair of gaping too. The houses were dripping with old southern grandeur and decadence. Besides one, which was clearly labeled as Anne Rice’s house, we couldn’t tell who lived in there and wondered how they felt about the tourists constantly gawking at their home.

Once we got our fill of architectural beauties, we hopped back onto the trolley and got off at Lee Circle. Ignoring General Lee up on top of his column, we walked off in search of food. By passing the art museums and the National WWII Museum, we found a grill/bar and settled down for lunch. We watched the waiters served bottomless mimosas as we ate our shrimp po-boys and enjoyed the A/C.

The tourist map became our guide as to what to do next. We noticed off in the far corner along the river and next to the nearly mile-long convention center was a building marked “Mardi Gras World.” We decided to check it out. After some more walking, we reached the building. It was sight to behold. The warehouse proudly named itself in loud colors and statuary. Inside 10-foot-tall paper mache famous figures and fantasy creatures towered over us and the other tourists with frozen grins. It was in this building that they made most of the fantastic decorations for the extravagant Mardi Gras floats. The place was huge, but they charged $20 each to see father behind the curtain. We abstained, instead taking photos in the lobby and then going out back to watch the Mississippi.

Fading fast, we walked to the closest trolley stop past the convention center and near the outlet mall. After transferring at the casino, we hopped onto a City Park trolley and rode it all the way to back to Bayou Boogaloo. During the previous 48 hours a fair number of locals had recommended it to us, so we made a point to go back.

It was hot and crowded as two bands competed for attention at opposite ends of the park. My mom grabbed a spot in the shade as I roamed, took photos, and bought a couple souvenirs at a craft booth. We didn’t stay long after that.

The shower called us in again, and once we were clean, we went out for pizza at a local, funky restaurant. The bar across the street was warming up for a long night of live music and beer, but we were too tired to do anything else so we went back and settled down for the night, satisfied that we had spent our time in New Orleans wisely.

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