New Orleans,

Our Cruise to


Customers, after a breakfast of beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

It was nearly midnight when we caught the hotel shuttle from the Louis Armstrong Airport to the quaint (old) Ambassador Hotel near the French Quarter.  Our driver was a young woman in her late 20's, who had evacuated to Fort Worth, Texas, during the Katrina Hurricane.  "I only moved back because my family came back," she said.  "I loved Fort Worth.  Here the schools are bad and the crime's back.  My daughter's one year old.  When she's school age, I'm movin to Fort Worth."  We talked about the city.  "Only about 200,000 people are back," she said.  "You can buy a house for $30,000 to fix up, but you can't buy insurance.  Downtown you can't see the damage from the hurricane.  This is where they came to.  It's outside of downtown where it's bad."



St. Louis Cathedral




In the morning I got up and walked through the French quarter.  At Pondray Street, I was stopped by a police blockade as a cavalcade of floats was towed by with tractors getting ready for the the Mardi Gras parade that afternoon.  Actually, it was the first day of Mardi Gras.  The real festivities would pick up the following weekend.

The French Quarter had not changed significantly since I had layed over there a few years ago.  Employees here and there were hosing off the sidewalks, awakening the faint scent of stale beer from the previous night's revelry.  The shops were bursting with a fresh inventory of cheap masks and beads to sell to drunk Mardi Gras celebrants.  The jazz clubs looked about the same.  The old French, wrought iron architecture was still interesting. 

I made my way to the Cafe Du Monde, situated between the St. Louis Cathedral and the Mississippi River.  I bought some hot beignets (doughnuts) for Pat and me, and a big cup of hot chicory coffee for the walk home.  Did I mention that it was cold, that it felt colder than Seattle?  I hadn't packed for a cruise to Mexico with a lot of warm clothes, and my windbreaker just wasn't doing it.



Morning washdown.


A hotel fountain.

Preservation Hall Jazz Club on Bourbon Street.

The musicians here are old, good, and do it because they love it.


"Mother's", for basic N'Oleans cookin.

You wait in line at Mother's, and maybe share a table.  But the gumbo, jambalaya, and ham poboys are worth the wait.  They add debris to the poboys, debris being the bits of ham that fall into the fat while smoking.


The Mississippi River, our ship, Carnival Fantasy, in the background.





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