Monday, October 25, 2010

New Orelans, Day 2

So okay, I didn't get much sleep the night before day 2 because I was creeped out by the story of torture and murder our haunted history guide told us before I went to bed. Took me a while to get my motor running in the morning, but eventually we picked up Katie (who was happily writing away in her hotel, BTW) and headed back through the French Quarter on our way to catch the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, running since the 1920s. Very cool way to travel from just outside the Quarter to the picturesque Garden District, where we spent a good chunk of the afternoon.

Here's Katie with me on the street car, which still has the original wooden slatted seats. Yep, I'd be the pasty white Canadian wearing the black summer dress. It sure felt like summer to me. Wore sunscreen and everything, since I got burned a bit the day before. I think Katie got a kick out of that :)

We'd signed up for a guided walking tour ahead of time, and our first stop was Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. We'd been warned not to enter the cemeteries without a tour group, but in hindsight I don't think it applied to this particular cemetery, as it seemed very safe and in a good neighborhood. Of course I was there in the middle of the day, so maybe it's different at night.

As with the other cemeteries here in New Orleans, the crypts are above ground because the water table is so high. The remains of entire families can be laid to rest in a tomb. So long as a year and a day has passed between interments (a rule that's existed since the yellow fever epidemics), the undertakers simply move aside old remains to make room for new ones. This practice became impossible during the horrific yellow fever epidemics that swept the city several times throughout the summer and fall until Walter Reed discovered the cause and cure for it during the construction of the Panama Canal. Damn pesky mosquitoes.
Below is our tour guide, Val, who's originally from San Francisco. He was a font of information, and patiently pointed out all the celebrity homes we passed, including Sandra Bullock's, John Goodman's, Nicholas Cage (though he no longer owns it), Archie Manning and Anne Rice. Lots of authors down in N'Awlins. Hmm...maybe I could use that angle on hubby and buy a place down there someday. He fell in love with the area too, but he's worse in the heat than I am so I'm certain he'd croak on me down there between May and September.
John Goodman's house.

The house I want to move into. Can't you just see me living here? I'd be happy as a clam sitting on the back porch swing with a pitcher of chilled sweet tea at my elbow and my laptop whirring away on my lap. I think my muse would like it down there. And I have to tell you, this whole area is something out of a magazine spread. Everything here smelled good, like flowers, and the gardens were unbelievable. Lush, green, manicured perfection. Various kinds of palm trees. Banana trees. Bubbling fountains. Fragrant roses. Crepe mertyles. Magnolias. Delicate hibiscus blooming right there in people's yards in the middle of October, and a year-round gardening season. Another reason for me to scope out some real estate! It was quite something to see, that's for sure.

After the tour we headed back to the Quarter and all the way through it to our respective hotels so we could freshen up for dinner. On the way to the restaurant Katie and my hubby patiently waited for this little jewelry shop on Chartres St. to open so I could exchange something I'd bought the day before. Neither of my walking companions are shoppers, so it was very nice of them to wait as long as they did. That's us above, waiting for the shop to open on our forth attempt to get in. Totally worth the wait though, because I upgraded my former purchase to a pendant style fleur-de-lis necklace and matching earrings. Then it was on to K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen for dinner, where hubby and I pigged out on the luscious Creole food. Nothing like it! I think I ate a different kind of bread pudding almost every night down there. Awesome stuff.

After stuffing ourselves Katie wanted to head back to her place to write (jeez, talk about work ethic!), and since my feet were about to fall off I was totally okay with having an early night. Though I certainly didn't get any writing done that night. I was sad to see Katie go though, since we wouldn't meet up again for three more days. (Oooh, cliffhanger!) Still had fun with my hubby, but I was really looking forward to hanging out with her some more and meeting her hubby. Day 3 post to come soon!


Katie Reus said...

I'm so glad you remember all the little details! I just tell people I went to NO, hung out with Mr. and Mrs. Awesome, ate lots of good food, went on some cool tours, and had some beers, lol.