March 19th - 21st
Riverboat "Natchez" in New Orleans.
Tour bus in the French Quarter.
Mississippi River tugboats along the bank.
John acting up at Mardi Gras World.
Sissy dressing up at Mardi Gras World.
We made good time driving to New Orleans on I10 (part of the Eisenhower Interstate System) despite construction areas in Florida and Mississippi. We traveled this roadway in Alabama, Florida (again), Mississippi and Louisiana, and we stopped at the Welcome Center before reaching the "cajun city." John's sister suggested we stay at the State Park a short distance from their home, but after determining the campground roads were being repaved, we opted for the KOA East in Slidell. The KOA West was full!
Setting up camp, a short drive around to get our bearings and then dinner were next on the agenda before hitting the sack. It was a long day on the road and we were bushed. The next morning we did laundry and elected to use the coop showers at the campground instead of the trailer.
With all the chores completed, we headed out (under a threatening sky) with the truck. Our destination was the French Quarter and riverboat Natchez for a lunchtime cruise up and down the Mississippi River. We parked in a lot a short distance from the dock, purchased our tickets and then headed for the Jaz Brewery (a food court, small shop mall) nearby. Daiquiris in hand, we snapped pics of the French Quarter and met some very nice folks from Huntington Beach, California (Lenny and his wife) who invited us to stop by during our trip.
On the cruise, we met so many nice people we hardly had time to see the sights. Willie and Claudine (Maryland), the French Four and an English family all spent time with us on the boat. Willie and Claudine also ate lunch at our table and listened to the live Jaz Trio with us.
It began raining while on the cruise (good decision to leave the bike behind), but we didn't get too wet. And, after making our way back to the Jaz Brewery for one more daiquiri before heading back home (parking fee was $5.00 cheaper if we left the lot after 1500), we took advantage of a break in the rain to get the truck. While enroute out of New Orleans through the rain and rush hour traffic, Sissy acquired a CB handle (honey bun) while conversing with a truck driver.
John's sister had dental surgery, so we made arrangements to meet with her the following day about noon. We arrived at our campground to discover the flood! It rained so hard in Slidell, that our campsite was underwater. The nice folks at KOA had put wooden planks to our front door from the paved street, so we didn't have any problems getting to the trailer. A short nap, quick shower, change of clothes and it was down the road for dinner and a little partying. We stopped first at the Longranch Saloon and Grill, but discovered it was a brand new place and didn't serve dinner. We met Ron (originally from Florida), and he took us to Southside Grill (owned by a former U.S. Marine turned biker). It was great! We both had the stuffed shrimp with crabmeat, coleslaw and sweet tater fries, and discovered the meal was a little cajun. Then it was back to the Longranch for drinks and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.
You guessed it, Thursday morning was a little rough. We got a late start to John's sister's home, but we made it anyway. And, after updating the web site using Debi's FAST computer and chatting for a while, we headed to Mardi Gras World (the place where they make the floats for the parades in/around New Orleans).
With Debi driving, John in the front passenger seat, Sissy sitting directly behind John and Amber (John's niece) sitting directly behind Debi, we headed to Algiers, Louisiana. John wanted to rest his eyes a little, so he rested his head on the head rest while everyone else chatted about the traffic and pot holes in town. To John's dismay, somewhat said "Oh, sh...t!" He opened his eyes just in time to see the headlights of the blue car coming directly at his door ... CRASH! Debie had come to a complete stop at an intersection and then proceeded through without seeing the oncoming vehicle being driven by the girl with her brand new driver's license. Everyone was OK, and the Crescent City Police were on the scene in no time. No ticket was issued (even though Debi was probably at fault), and there was minor damage (you wouldn't know it by the sound of the crash).
Well anyway, the Kern's Mardi Gras World museum and tour were great. We learned all about the floats, props, beads, history and employees. We were even able to take pics and see construction of the floats for next year.
After the tour, it was time to call Rod (Debi's hubby) and make arrangements for dinner. Rod and Debi took us to an excellent seafood restaurant in Metarie, Louisiana (Deanie's) where Sissy had the 1/2 Seafood Platter (too much even still) and John had the stuffed flounder (just enough). The food was excellent and not too cajun for us northern folks.
A short trip back to Rod and Debi's home, conversation and instructions on how to get back to the campground were next. Then, it was over the bridges through downtown New Orleans at night and to our campground we headed. It didn't take long to hit the sack for our exit to Mississippi in the morning.
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