For our second anniversary, Sweet Husband and I booked ourselves a trip to New Orleans. We make trips to New Orleans all the time but we don’t ever really see all that New Orleans has to offer. We spend our time meeting folks and partying, so we made a conscious decision to do some of the touristy things, see some of the sights that we don’t ever get a chance to do. With that in mind, we booked a Garden District tour and made plans to go to the National World War II museum. We also wanted to make it to the zoo and Tipatina’s, but we didn’t quite get to either of those places. Partly because we’d done a ton of walking and were tired and partly because we just ran out of time.
We started our weekend trip by making a detour to the Chalmette National Battlefield and Cemetery. We saw the sign on the interstate and both said that we’d never been there, had never even heard of it. We almost kept driving, but we decided that we weren’t in any hurry and didn’t have to be anywhere by any certain time. We we veered off to the right and made our way to Chalmette.
We went to the National Cemetery first because we didn’t realize that the battlefield was just a few feet down the way. I’ve always had a thing for cemeteries. I’m not sure what it is about them. Perhaps the history and imagining the details of the lives is what intrigues me. The graves in the Chalmette National Cemetery date back to the Civil War, but there are a few from the War of 1812. I was on the ground taking pictures most of the time we were in the cemetery because I was trying to figure out how to get the focus right on my camera.
I got better with the focusing by the time we made it to the Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812, which actually happened after the war had ended.
Everything was wet when we got there – it had rained the night before. There was plenty of water all of the place, and there were all kinds of crawfish hills (I didn’t take any pictures of those, but SH had to to explain to me what it was). There were some gorgeous swamp flowers, and some beautiful birds, although I couldn’t get close enough to take pictures of the birds.
I hiked all the way to the top of the memorial. I thought I was going to die, and for a moment, I was so very dizzy that I was afraid I was going pass out. It reminds me that I need to do a bit more exercising because that was embarrassing. I made it, though, and I paid for it the rest of the weekend.
After we left Chalmette we made our way into New Orleans and checked into our room at the Sheraton. From there we headed out for some lunch and into the French Quarter.
In New Orleans, they decorate – occasionally lavishly – for every occasion. Easter is no exception.
We began a search for the best hurricane in New Orleans and were sadly disappointed with everything we tried. Especially at Jean Lafitte’s, the oldest bar in the US. About the coolest thing there was the candle-lit piano in the back of the bar.
On our second day, we made our way into the Garden District for a tour. I’ve been through the Garden District several times – a photography tour and a a few other explorations – but our tour guide this time was excellent, even if our group was really large (there must have been 40 of us in the group).
Our first stop was Lafeyette Cemetery No. 1. I’m fascinated by the weeds and the other things that begin to crop up and take over when we aren’t looking.
But there is hope – the fences around several tombs had just been repainted.
I think for the first time in my life, I saw aloe blooms. The plant growing out of the cast iron fence was massive. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an aloe vera plant that large, and I certainly didn’t know that aloe plants bloom. Did you know that?
If I remember previous tours correctly, there are three corn fences in New Orleans. For the one in the French Quarter, the story is that the wife grew up in Iowa and missed it, so her husband had a fence with corn stalks and ears of corn built for her. Such a sweetly romantic story. I don’t know if it’s really true or not, but this tour guide told us that people just ordered the fence out of a catalog – anyone could have one if they had the catalog and could pay for it.
After day 2, while I carried my camera, I didn’t really take a whole lot of pictures with it. We were in the World War II museum, and I didn’t much feel like taking pictures. We just wandered and enjoyed ourselves. Sunday afternoon, though, we did catch a pretty good little band playing in the middle of the road.