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The French Quarter

January 7, 2013

Louisiana – Thursday, January 3

Since I had ended up on the outskirts of New Orleans, I knew I’d be spending my day there. So I looked at maps of the French Quarter and got some good tips about parking and all from the front desk clerk. It was a little tricky getting down there because there was a great deal of construction and repair work going on. I’m guessing some of it was a result of Hurricane Isaac last August. But I eventually made it and found a good (free!) parking spot for the day and Tula and I set off – my plan was to walk all the east-west streets throughout the French Quarter and then go up and down all the north-south streets. Most of the streets are very narrow and one-way and there was stuff to see everywhere. It was not ideal walking for Tula – there wasn’t so much as a blade of grass to take care of business, so she had to settle for a bit of dirt at the base of a tree! Plus there were quite a few people, and lots of streets to cross, so after a couple miles, I took her back to the car and she seemed content to stay put since she’d been out for a while. I covered some more streets and enjoyed listening to some musicians who seem to just set up anywhere they want. I popped into some shops and now that Christmas is over, they’re gearing up for Mardi Gras, and there’s enough purple, green and gold decorations and junk to buy to rival the red and green stuff for Christmas! And then there’s the Super Bowl stuff too – lots going on in New Orleans! I went through thru the French Market which is where dozens and dozens of vendors gather to sell gifts, souvenirs, food, art, one-of-a-kind stuff etc. I got a couple unique things for the grandkiddos. Then I needed refreshments – I knew whenever I got to New Orleans I was going to stop for cafe au lait and beignets – and I don’t even like coffee!! But I found the Cafe du Monde and it was packed on a chilly afternoon – pretty much all they sell is beignets, which are wonderfully delicious fried dough pieces covered in powdered sugar, and cafe au lait, although they have a few other drink choices. I got a table without waiting too long, and enjoyed my tasty treats. The beignets had so much powdered sugar on them that I put some in the cafe au lait too – it was warm and good. (I’m pretty sure what I was drinking, with all the steamed milk and the powdered sugar, wasn’t very closely related to coffee!).

I headed back to the car to get Tula out again – now that I had my bearings, I knew I could walk her mostly in residential areas where it wasn’t so crowded. On the way back to the van, I listened to a little jazz group performing by a park, and then went into the enormous St. Louis Cathedral. Inside the church, there were 2 “poor boxes” – to collect money for the poor. I didn’t realize churches still had those – I thought they were a thing of the past. I asked the nun that was standing nearby where the money goes, and she said it goes to help the needy through several organizations. I asked if I could put a check in there, and she said of course and to just indicate it’s a donation for the needy, so I wrote a note when I went back to the car, and wrote out a donation check, then went back to the cathedral to put it in the poor box. I don’t know why this delighted me so – probably because it was something I didn’t expect to be able to do! And to find the poor box in such a beautiful cathedral, in a city that I was enjoying walking all around, made it a special donation for me. I got Tula out for another long walk – mostly in the residential area of the French Quarter, but I also took her partway down Bourbon Street too! Walking in the residential area was quiet during the day – all the doors and windows were covered with shutters, and although I suspected there were some nice courtyards behind the gates, I couldn’t see anything! After I finished my walk with Tula, I headed out one more time on my own. There were fortune tellers and tarot card readers; black magic and voodoo shops, shops full of masks and jesters and puppets; tons of restaurants, bars and cafes – one could literally wander the same streets over and over and keep seeing something different! I walked until it began to get dark, and called it a day. I did a little more than 8 miles and still didn’t cover every street! It was a really interesting day!



















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