Touring in the rain, but not deterred

We are well and truly in New Orleans, now. So the day must start with a visit to the venerable Cafe Du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait. Huge, crowded, and an institution, le cafe is battened down for the day against a hostile wind and a frigid drizzle. (Important tip: don’t talk with a beignet in your mouth as the powdered sugar gets in your lungs and you’ll die). A lone street musician plays his saxophone just on the other side of the green canvas walls. He seems damp, limp and a bit disinterested. We can’t blame him.

And on to the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Much baloney has been written about voodoo, the centuries-old religion that’s mostly about asking your dead ancestors to help you out with various things. It’s not much of a walk from Cafe Du Monde to the museum, which is small and packed with skulls, altars, and artifacts. We learn many things, including the story of voodoo queen Marie Laveaux and how to make a zombie. We wish we had flashlights as it’s very dark and there is a lot to see. But it’s warm, so we’re happy.

Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral

jacksonFrom there, it’s a soggy walk to Jackson Square. The square, with its bronze of General Andrew Jackson and the looming St. Louis Cathedral and Cabildo is the heart of old New Orleans. In fact, the Cathedral is the oldest Catholic  cathedral in continuous use in the United States. Just so you know. It’s a beautiful building on par with the great cathedrals of Europe. Also on the square are the Lower and Upper Pontalba Apartments, the oldest apartment buildings in the United States. While we are touring the Cathedral, Mary snags her bag on a heating vent she is clutching for warmth and makes a giant racket. We beat it out of there.

In search of water

Despite the fact it’s surrounded by water, you just don’t see the water in New Orleans as it’s all on the other side of berms and levees. We brave the weather and climb the steps to the river walk, to the spot where people scatter the ashes of loved ones on Mardi Gras, and we watch a paddle boat churn by.

Then, off to the ultimate po’ boy

Domilise’s is known as THE place to go for the ultimate po’ boy sandwich. This is an institution, in business since the 1930s. We wolf down our fully dressed shrimp po’ boys while Anderson Cooper looks down on us from his framed spot on the wall. He is smiling.

You don’t have time to see this!

We head to the World War II Museum, Stephen Ambrose’s amazing achievement, and despite repeated discouragement from various people who work there telling us we won’t have anywhere near enough time to see it, we pay our money and go in. After all, we have a coupon. We have time to tour only the Road to Berlin exhibit, but this exhibit alone is worth the price of admission.  The multimedia presentation is educational and riveting — really well-curated and historically compelling. We head up to the fourth floor for an aerial view of the WW II planes, but Liz has an immediate attack of vertigo and has to go down. Mike stays up with Tom and Mary, and takes great pix.

Elizabeth’s where you get real food done real good

If you’re looking for someplace to get praline bacon on top of a hamburger on top of a dollop of bleu cheese, this is the place to go. Again, a flashlight would be handy, but we are able to see our menus with the help of our iPhones. The ambience is great, the food is a pleasure, and we are taken with the incredible display of Dr. Bob art on the walls. Mary and Liz admire the oilcloth tablecloth and wonder where a guy goes to get oilcloth these days, as we would surely buy some if we knew.


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Touring In The Rain, But Not Deterred

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