Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Orleans

John and I have visited New Orleans now several times.  This time we benefited greatly having our niece Kat along as tour guide.  Our first stop Monday was at Lafreniere Park, a park which Kat loves to visit because of the wildlife which can be found there.  It was a first sighting for us of the black-bellied whistling duck.

There were many of them in the park, as well as ibis and sea gulls.  A couple of nutria were also hanging around the birds.  They are a rat-like invasive pest from South America, and look like musk rats.  One other note here, Lafreniere for whom the park is named, was a leader of a colonial revolt in 1764.  He protested the transfer of the French colony of New Orleans to Spain and was executed for his treason.
Our next stop was Metairie Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in New Orleans which is a "showplace of tomb architecture" ( quote taken from AAA tour book).   Characteristic of New Orleans, if a tomb is not in a concrete vault it is above ground.  Many of the larger tombs contain more than one family member.  A favorite tomb which Kat likes is the Egyptian sphinx.  We could have spent the rest of our day looking at the many interesting tombstones, but we still had many more places to visit in New Orleans.
Our stop for lunch was a good one, again thanks to Kat.  We ate at Booty's Street Food restaurant.  It features food from around the world, and the menu is changed daily.  Kat had shrimp ceviche from Ecuador.  It was a cold soup of poached shrimp, tomatoes, onions, lime and cilantro served with a side of popcorn.  That was from Ecuador, I tried it and it was tasty.   John had empanadas from Portugal,  I stuck to what I knew with fish and chips- however I did try the chips with curry ketchup!  Not bad at all.
Out of all the cities which we have visited New Orleans remains the most unique.  And the massive destruction of the city by hurricane Katrina in 20005 did not quell the soul of the city.  There are still the famous iron-embroidered balconies with lush green plants draped over them, as well as many colorful buildings and interesting murals as pictured above.  We parked outside of the French Quarter and walked through neighborhoods bustling with tourists and local shoppers.  Live music can be heard everywhere, even in the middle of the day.  The French Quarter was our last stop of the day, more on that in the next posting.

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