Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Orleans with Ken and Ivy December 4-7

After celebrating the newest family nuptials, we stayed in San Antonio for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. We told our stories innumerable times, ate all we possibly could and then set off for New Orleans. On the way we stopped at Avery Island to visit the Tobasco factory. Unfortunately, the weather was too lousy for us to enjoy the birding trails and other outdoor facilities; however, the bad weather made picture taking at the sugar cane factory a real thrill.

Every moment of our time with Ken and Ivy in New Orleans was perfect, even if it was cold enough to freeze spit before it hit the sidewalk. We discovered some new places to eat: Jacques-Imo's, Mother's, the Camellia Grill and The Captain's Palace; and we enjoyed some old favorites like Pascal's Manale and Mulate's. It was far too cold to just sit around, especially after the electricity went off in our hotel so we bundled up in all the clothing we had brought and went out to see the city. We slipped into all kinds of shops: art, books, used clothing, designer shoes, jewelry, antiques, Mardi Gras trinkets . . . The length our stay in any one shop depending largely on how warm it was and how tolerant the shopkeeper appeared to be of vagrancy. We visited the cathedral downtown and consumed large amounts of powdered sugar on beignets.

On Sunday, the weather warmed up a bit and we enjoyed a visit to New Orleans Botanical Garden. Much of the damage done by Katrina will never be repaired, but the garden is being restored by the loving hands of an army of volunteers. The old trees that were left standing after the storm seem to be working overtime to provide a protective canopy. Of course the garden was all decked out for the holidays which made it even more special.

It was a great three days! I'm already looking forward to doing it again. Seeing the city through the eyes of a couple who had actually lived there and knew the place from one city limit line to the other was a great experience.