Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Orleans

We left our soggy spot at Caswell Springs UMC in Moss Point, MS about 7:30 AM on Friday.  There was a break in the rain so we decided to hitch up and go.  We drove the Roadrunner over from the RV spaces to the big parking lot and hooked up.  It was nice of our NOMADS friends to come over in the drizzle and say goodbye again with some hugs and handshakes.

Then we were off.  It was an easy drive to the Louisiana border where we stopped at the Visitor Center. We talked with Gwen who was very helpful and gave us information, maps and brochures so that we could develop a plan for our add on trip to see New Orleans.  We were originally planning to drive to Houston but ice storms made us think twice and we stayed away, not wanting to take that risk.

We found a decent campground in Slidell, LA.  It is only 30 miles from New Orleans so we figured we would park the coach there and just drive the Honda in to New Orleans.
Instead of continuing west on I-12, we headed south on I-10 a few miles and took the exit for Slidell, LA.

The campground lost 1500 trees in Katrina.  The campsites were small but adequate.
I took a couple of pictures when we arrived and some more the next day when the sun came out.

We got set up and drove into New Orleans.  Our plan was to find some lunch, see the World War II museum, and take a windshield tour of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.  And that is what we did.
We decided to eat lunch in the museum restaurant (The American Sector) and it was a great choice!
We had a great waitress, enjoyed the atmosphere and had a terrific bowl of gumbo and a shrimp poboy sandwich.
After lunch we walked around the building and went to the Victory Theater to see the Tom Hanks -produced-movie "Beyond All Boundaries".  It is a 30 minute documentary and has footage of the war on two fronts:  Europe and the Pacific.  It notes that 65 million people died and is a very good history lesson.
The museum was created with the support and interest of some famous people: Dr. Stephen Ambrose, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.  The museum is really two buildings which cover over 70,000 sq feet of interesting displays and information.  It was very very well done and worth seeing.
After a couple hours in the museum, we drove around New Orleans to get a feel for where things were.  We drove from the Central Business District (CBD) near the museum over to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street.
That was enough excitement for one day and we returned to our campground.  We watched a little golf ate dinner and called it a day.

On Saturday, we drove into New Orleans again and were a little early for our 11:00 A.M. bus tour.
We had some time before the bus tour so we walked down to the St. Louis Cathedral, saw the statute of Andrew Jackson.  Later we walked inside and took pictures of the beautiful interior.
We got underway for the Katrina/City Tour and our driver was great.  The tour was about 2 1/2 hours and we went through New Orleans and also out to the Ninth Ward to see some of the effects of Katrina.

My overall impression of the Ninth Ward and New Orleans is that it is up and running.  The area is fully functional and not the devastation and hopelessness that I remember from the Katrina aftermath.  I have a completely changed view of the area.

We saw evidence of the damage and can not fathom what actually happened.  My imagination is not that big--.  I expected a whole lot worse.  I am sure there remains countless stories of people who were impacted and that will never get their lives or homes back.  But I saw an area and a city that was vibrant, restored and back in business.
 We only saw a few houses that still had the markings with X's.
This is where Fats Domino (yep - the one and only) used to live.  The long building was his house and recording studio next his other house.  The blue display of poles shows how deep the water got in the ninth ward.  Brad Pitt is building some energy efficient homes nearby.

From the ninth ward, we went over to the northern end of New Orleans, past some canals and bayous and to an above ground cemetery.  There are three more well know ones in town.
This is St. Louis Cemetery and we drove by the Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery.  These are sometimes referred to as "Cities of the Dead".

We drove by Lake Pontchartrain which is immense.  We also saw a couple levees that had been repaired.
On our way back, we went through some very picturesque neighborhoods before we approached the Central Business District.

After our tour it continued to be a beautiful (but cool) day and we saw the famous Cafe Du Monde and the French Market and the Flea Market.
It has been a good two days in New Orleans and we are ready to head west.  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  We are glad you stopped by!


  1. Thanks for the tour or New Orleans. I did not realize the 9th Ward had come back so well. The reports we see on the news make it appear that it's still like it was after Katrina.

    It looks like you got some blue skies while you were there. Hope the weather holds up for you.

  2. Both the museum & bus tour looked great... We haven't been to New Orleans for years but you made me want to revisit there. Thanks
    Have fun & Travel safe

  3. One thing I intended to say is that Ninth Ward lost 80% of its residents. Only 20% returned. There must have been a lot of neighborhoods we did not see...

  4. We were in NO just 2 months before Katrina. Although Leonard is a Cajun from LA, he always avoided that area, having grown up in SW LA near the Texas border.

    As you drive I10 you will drive on where his childhood home was. It was moved when I10 came through near the Toomey Eixt 4.

    You were wise to park that rig in Slidell before attempting the downtown streets. Gotta love that Gumbo!

  5. Haven't been to the Big Easy for a long time..Sure enjoyed your tour...We gotta get back!!

  6. Sherri and I enjoyed our time in NO and hope to go back someday. We walked down Magazine st and went to some of the galleries. Now that was an eye opener for sure! Love the old houses. We stayed at the KOA on the West side of town. Was not too bad.

  7. what a great tour of New Orleans!..thanks for letting us ride along..the devastation from Katrina must be quite something to see!

  8. I hope you took time for beignets at Café du Monde!

    I love New Orleans. Thanks for some fond memories!

  9. It's amazing to see New Orleans up and running again. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures!

  10. It is good to see a view of the city that is not thru the media eye.

    Good to see progress in recovery. It will never be the same, but in some cases that is for the better.

  11. Great post and lovely pictures! Thanks so much for sharing that with us. Hope you find only blue skies and warm weather as you head west!

    Stay safe...

    Kerri in AL :-)

  12. So glad to hear things are getting better there at last. We camped near the French Quarter in 2007 and the devastation was still everywhere.

  13. That sure gives me a new perspective. I guess you can't always believe the news.

  14. Wow you sure covered a lot of ground in 2 days of touristing around New Orleans! I was there for four days and didn't nearly see everything you did. Thanks for the nice pics....

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  15. Enjoyed all the info on NO. We would like to see the WW II Museum and take the tour. I was fortunate to gain two friends from Katrina. They evacuated NO for Little Rock during Katrina and both ended up permanently relocating there, but NO definitely still has their hearts.

    Be safe in your travels and thanks for sharing.