Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Orleans and Cajun Country

Well getting to New Orleans took a little longer than expected, but it was well worth the wait!   We left last Sunday from Boyan’s parents’ house in Cape Coral Florida.  We drove all the way to Northern Florida to Tallahassee. It’s the capitol of Floriday, but boy is it small and boring!  Fifteen miles south however is the Wakulla State Park.  Our Lonely Planet recommended that we stop for a visit and it was worth the stop. A beautiful park where we took a river boat tour.  We got to see manatees, alligators, turtles and all sorts of birds.  Best $8 spent so far! Wakulla is the world’s deepest freshwater spring so the water is crystal clear.  Really beautiful. 

It was off to New Orleans after that.  On the way there, we got a flight tire on the middle of the highway!  There was a popping sound and then a lot of rattling.  We immediately knew what it was L  We pulled over to the side of the road.  Of course the flat was on the side where the cars and trucks were passing and not only that, but it was the inner tire so we had to remove two tires!  The sun was starting to go down so we didn’t want to change the tire there.  We decided to continue driving slowly to the next exit since we still had one good tire.  We found a little town (Bonifay) and a used tire shop that was closing in 15 minutes.  They agreed to help us out. We got a semi used tire installed for $45! 

We were quite relieved.  At least I was!  Boyan doesn’t get too stressed with these sorts of things since he’s on the road all the time and flat tires are all too common for him.  So we ended up sleeping in Bonifay instead of New Orleans.  With the RV, we can basically stop in any commercial parking lot and stay the night.  Stores don’t seem to mind.  Normally we stay in Walmarts, but this time it was a little fast food joint.

The next day we took off for N.O..  We arrived late afternoon and found our home in the Walmart near N.O., in a little suburb called Chalmette.  We unhooked the car and started driving.  Chalmette was completely destroyed in Katrina so everything there was nice and brand new.  The town between Chalmette and N.O. however was not so nice!  A real hood.  Many houses abandoned and those that are still occupied are not kept up.  You can tell people just don’t have the money for upkeep.  Let’s just say that I wouldn’t have wanted to have a flat tire there!

But we arrived safely and New Orleans is everything they say it is!  Would have been nice to been there during Mardi Gras, but there were already decorations starting to go up so we got a little taste of it.  We toured the French Quarter for our first day.  Beautiful architecture and charming, colorful streets.  

We walked around until our feet were aching.  Sophie was a trooper and stayed in her stroller quiet and happy.  She was thrilled with everything there was to admire.  She even partied on Bourbon Street with best of them!! 

We would have loved to stay the evening and have a nice dinner, but one, we were pooped from our day and two, Sophie isn’t allowed in many of the establishments (underage)!  They are really strict about that, as if we would give her a drink!  So back to Walmart we went!

The next day, we visited the Garden District where beautiful mansions line the streets.  We just put Sophie in the Stroller and went on admiring each house.  It’s like the Westmount of New Orleans!  

In the afternoon, we visited some sugar cane and cotton plantations along the Mississippi River!  Wow!  We saw this one plantation that the entrance was line with 200-year-old oak trees.  Simply majestic!

Beautiful homes on large lands where you can feel the history seeping through.  Took a tour that explained the life of the owners and their slaves.  Found out that in today’s money, a slave was worth on average $25,000. Older and sick ones were worth less.  Skilled workers could go up to $75,000.

Yesterday morning we left for the Cajun country.  Lonely Planet said it was a must see in all of the States.  Well, we’re still wondering why.  This is where there’s supposed to be the highest French –speaking population in all the U.S (Acadians that fled Nova Scotia).  We haven’t found a single person that spoke French!  Way overrated of a place.  The towns are puny and really, but really boring.  I think it’s better in the spring or summer when all the festivals are happening.  We did eat some crawfish (écrevisse) and catfish which were very good.  At night we went to a Cajun restaurant for more Cajun  food, music and dancing. We were the only visitors, the only French-speaking (except for the band singer) and the only ones under 55 years old!  Again a lot of hype over nothing.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some! 
On the road again on our way to Houston, Texas!

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