Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Eve in New Orleans

Our home is now parked in New Orleans. It is a very small rv park which sits in a industrial section of town. Not far from this part of the city is a residential area, where there quite a few new homes. There are many damaged and abandoned buildings, however, still standing in mute testimony to the horrific consequences of Hurricane Katrina. We were not sure yesterday how far to venture out because of overcast skies. Not far from where we are located is Chalmette Battlefield, where the Battle of New Orleans took place.
 On January 8,1915 General Andrew Jackson had a stunning victory over British troops on this battlefield. It was the greatest land victory of the War of 1812. After touring the battlefield John and I decided to chance the high prediction for rain and drive to the French Quarters of New Orleans for the last hours of 2010. We had no idea what to expect and, surprisingly we had a wonderful evening in the French Quarters. The weather stayed warm and we only had to contend with an occasional drizzle of rain. The streets were quite crowded, Bourbon Street was closed to traffic. While wandering the streets we were able to grab handfuls of beads thrown down by people who were hanging out from the balconies above the streets. Live music was blaring everywhere from street musicians and also from live bands which were playing in bars with opened doors and windows. It was one big party scene, and we ran into many strange people.
We also were entertained by performance art, people in costume who would stand motionless in a particular pose. It was hard to believe they were real people and not statues! Check out this scary dude with a gun!
 I never would have thought that we could hang around the French Quarter as long as we did, about six hours. We spent some time at Cafe Du Monde for hot drinks and beignets. We also killed time listening to a live concert of Cajun music in Jackson Square. At midnight the fleur de lis, which hangs above Jax Brewery, was lit up by fireworks and a shower of additional fireworks filled the sky above the Mississippi River. It was an impressive fireworks display. We thought there would be a major traffic jam after the fireworks, but the only problem we had in getting out of the French Quarters was with the pedestrians who thronged the streets and ignored traffic signals. There are many hotels in the historic district, perhaps that was why no traffic jams held us up getting home. I think there were more tourists than locals in New Orleans last evening!

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