Day 14 - New Orleans  
    Mmmmm......good coffee!    
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

Day 14 started with David and I heading down to Decatur Street first thing in the morning to get a spot on the National Parks tour of the French Quarter. This tour leaves at 9.00am every day, and being free it is very popular, so we had to be at the Parks Office when it opened at 8.30 am to get a ticket. While we waited for the tour to commence we had coffee from the adjacent cafe.

The tour itself was very informative, and I highly recommend it. After taking us around some of the quarter and introducing us to some of New Orleans history, it ended at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Most historical parks operated by the National Parks Service are created to commemorate a place, battle or person that played an important role in the history of the USA. The New Orleans Jazz is a different kind of park, authorised by Congress in 1994 as a national tribute to jazz music.

The park itself comprises a building, with indoor and outdoor stages for musical performances, and many historical displays inside. It is well worth a visit, particularly for the jazz fan.

Laffite's Blacksmith Shop, once a stop on Jean Lafittes slave smuggling route, and now a bar.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

After finishing the tour, we went back to the hotel to get our laundry. My suitcase was starting to very quickly run out of anything clean, and in the September heat and humidity the prospect of wearing a shirt twice before laundering it was certainly not appealing! We walked up to 'The Washing Well' at the corner of Dumaine and Bourbon Streets, and dropped off our laundry before continuing to walk around the quarter, enjoying our morning.

Not a sign you see on school walls in Australia.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

After spending a couple of hours having a last daytime walk around the French Quarter, we collected our laundry and returned to the hotel. We grabbed a bite to eat and then headed out of the city on a trolleycar to visit a couple of things we wanted to see, the National D-Day Museum, and the the Garden District.

A streetcar named desire - I desired to get to the Garden District.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji Superia Reala

We took the streetcar out along St Charles Avenue and got off at Lee Circle for the short walk down to the National D-Day Museum. Opened in 2000, the museum commemerates all of the D-Days that American troops participated in, first in Europe, and later in the Pacific Theatre.

While not a particularly large museum, it is an interesting one because a large part of its exhibits focus on the role that American industry played in the war. The museum is actually located in New Orleans because that was where Andrew Higgins invented the 'Higgins Boat' or 'LCVP', which was the landing craft that enabled the Allied forces to storm the beaches at Normandy.

Where would a WWII museum be without an example of the ubiquitous Sherman tank?
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC
A display of German firearms from WWII.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC

From the D-Day Museum David and I decided to walk to our next stop, the Garden District. In hindsight, this was probably not the wisest of decisions, as it was a very warm afternoon, and a very long walk. Next time I would definitely catch the trolleycar!

The Garden District was originally part of a sugar plantation owned by one of the founders of New Orleans, Jean Baptist Lemoyne De Bienville. The plantation was granted to Bienville by the Company of the Indies in 1719 and sold by him to the Jesuit Fathers in 1726. The Order held it until 1763 when it was confiscated after the French and Indian Wars, divided into smaller parcels, or plantations, and sent to public auction.

After 1803, when the State became part of the USA, there was a major influx of Americans into New Orleans. The prospect of living side by side with the creoles, pirates and sailors that frequented the city was unattractive to many of the newly arrived Americans, and accordingly they sought properties outside the French Quarter. At this time, many of the plantations in close proximity to the city were subdivided into plots to meet this demand. The Garden district was one of these areas, and was formed when the Livaudais Plantation was divided into plots in 1825.

The large lots created in the subdivision encouraged gardening, and influenced by the landscape gardening theories of Andrew Jackson Downing the district quickly became a picturesque American suburban refuge from the squalor of the city, and was very fashionable. It now contains many ornate and elegant properties, dating from the late 1830's through to the 1880's.

The magnificent Johnson House at 2343 Prytania Street, built in 1870.
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC
Activities such as cotton and sugar production and related industries such as insurance and shipping were the source of the wealth that built the beautiful homes and gardens in the Garden District. Spacious, high-ceilinged rooms (sometimes up to 20 or 30 in the one residence) and well-detailed plaster and woodwork characterised the interiors of the mansions in the Garden District. The exteriors of the properties were equally impressive with ornate cast iron work and fabulous gardens, hence the name of the district.
The Brevard (-Mahat/Wisdom) House, built in 1857 and now owned by author Anne Rice.
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC
The portico of the Carroll-Crawford House, built in 1869.
Minolta X-570 with 17mm f/4 MC Rokkor. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC (Cropped)

As previously stated, the Garden District was a part of the Livaudais Plantation before it was subdivided in 1825, and it became the Livaudais Faubourg before being incorporated in 1833 with two surrounding Faubourgs into the City of Lafayette. This situation lasted for almost twenty years before the expansion of New Orleans caused Lafayette to be incorporated into its boundaries in 1852.

The Lafayette name is best remembered now for the Lafayette Cemetery, established in 1833, and perhaps the most regularly visited of New Orleans' cemeteries. Due to the city's close proximity to the river, New Orleans residents were interred in crypts rather than being buried so as to avoid being washed away in floods. This fact makes a visit to a New Orleans cemetery a very interesting and worthwhile experience.

The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC
Not a place I would choose to wander at night.
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC (Desaturated, Burnt)

After our extensive walk around the district, David and I headed back to St. Charles Avenue to get the trolleycar back to the city. When the foirst car arrived we went to get on, and then realised that we didn't have the correct change to purchase our tickets! As a result we let the trolleycar leave, and then looked around for somewhere to change notes for some quarters. Across the road we spotted a bar, and made a bee-line for it - after all, on a warm afternoon in New Orleans, after several hours walking around, we both had a taste for a good cold ale.

We got ourselves some Rolling Rock beer, a fine pale ale brewed in the town of Latrobe, in the foothills of Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains. The brewery was established in 1893, but was purchased by the current company after the end of prohibition in 1933. The Rolling Rock pale ale was first produced in 1939, and it was a nice enough beer, but a bit light at only 3.6% alcohol.

Yours truly, in one of the few photos David took on the trip. Sitting outside the bar in the garden district.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD W.Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC

After a couple of beers and getting our quarters for the trolleycar fare, we headed back to the city. We were hungry and looking for something to eat, and miraculously, there was no queue at the famous and incredibly popular Acme Oyster Bar. The Acme Oyster Bar began its life as the Acme Cafe in 1910, and moved to its current location at 724 Iberville Street in 1924 after the old building was destroyed by fire. It has won multiple awards for consecutive years in New Orleans Magazine Readers' Choice Awards for Best Oysters, Best Oyster Po'boy, Best Fried Seafood and Best Oyster dishes. Is it any wonder it is always busy?

We went in and for the first time tried one of the renowned Acme Oyster Bar oyster po'boys. A po'boy is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana, normally comprising meat or fried seafood in a baguette, often with lettuce tomato and mayonnaise. They are called po'boys because they originated as a low-cost food for 'poor-boys'. Now we were both hungry, but the first bite of the po'boy was like eating ambrosia, incredibly tasty and succulent and I something I think I will remember for a long time. In fact it was so good I had to buy another one to take with me!

The Acme Oyster Bar at a quiet time - you should see it when it is busy!.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC

After something to eat, David and I decided to do a last cruise around some of the shops to get souvenirs before we left the following day, and buy some jazz and blues to listen to in the car as we continued our journey. After David got some CDs from artists who are hard to find in Australia we visited a great shop that had some excellent souvenirs, and David purchased the best souvenir of the entire trip - a stuffed crawfish! We considered it only appropriate given the amount of crawfish we had consumed during the week.

A close relative of David's Crawfish - very cute but I definitely did not have room for him in my suitcase.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC
One thing readily available in New Orleans is Chilli Sauce - A fraction of the range available at this store.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Kodak Portra 400UC

Finally, after walking around for a while longer we got ourselves an inexpensive dinner at a restaurant, and then headed back to the hotel. David was ready for bed to get some sleep in preparation for our day of travelling tomorrow, while I wanted to get the rest of my gear and my tripod for some night photographs. Friday night in the Quarter was the busiest yet, and I wanted to capture some of it.

Day 14 (Continued)
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