For once we got a really early start this morning since we were meeting our friend Denali for breakfast at a cafe at 8am. She suggested a great local cafe that has several locations around the city. Unfortunately, we arrived and did not find her and when I called her we realized that I had gone to another location on the same street but in the 200 block instead of the 2000 block. She was going to an all day conference downtown and luckily that is where we ended up so she came to us and we were able to have a quick bite with her before she had to leave.
She has lived in NOLA for 13 years so of course we got her advice on the must see areas and our exploration of the French quarter yesterday had ticked one of the boxes already. She also recommended the garden district and the area around Magazine street which is full of cute shops and antique stores.
We found a terrific self-guided walking tour of the Garden District on the phone and were able to walk around the area viewing 16 different homes and the awesome Lafayette cemetery #1.
The cemetery was a full city block, suitably spooky with ancient looking structures mouldering in the Louisiana heat and damp. One tomb had over 20 family members in it who had died over 100 years or so. Evidently the heat and humidity in the summer create an environment in which bodies decompose quickly and disintegrate thus the room for additional family members.
The homes in this Garden District were simply spectacular. I don’t have photos to share because my phone was running the tour and I didn’t want to lose it by taking photos so you’ll have to take my word for it. The largest home was 12,000 square feet, most were 5-8000 square feet and built in the mid to late 1800’s. The Italianate architecture was amazing and the lacy ironwork surrounding the porch areas were feats of skilled workmanship.
We saw John Goodman and Sandra Bullock’s home on this tour as well as the beautiful home still occupied by Archie Manning and his wife where he raised his three sons, Payton, Eli and Cooper. Every stop on the tour had interesting information giving background on the residences. Super fun and also free!
After our long walk we were in need of a snack so we headed to the nearby Magazine Street area and found a great place for a delicious Nutella and banana crepe and a cup of coffee.
It was in the 60’s, a cool day by NOLA standards but with a light coat on still warm enough in the sun to sit outside.
We picked Gizmo up from his day playing at Camp Bow Wow and headed out of town. We drove to Shreveport, a city of about 190,000 near the North Western border of the state. What struck us on the drive up was the amount of elevated roadway the we drove on, the bridges we passed over and the almost endless amount of water in the fields on either side of us for nearly the entire length of the state. The sense we had was of this area being a drainage for the large rivers in the country up North and it made the flooding issues here make a lot more sense to us. The problem is much bigger than just on the coast.
After finding a La Quinta Inn (our favorite on the road stop since their national policy is pets allowed), we looked for a nearby place to eat. The desk clerk had recommended a Southern eatery so we headed that way. I checked the website before we left and could see that it was an old school place with huge portions and virtually the entire menu was fried. When we found the place, we noticed to our great surprise a Japanese food and Sushi place right across the street and we excitedly decided to give it a try.
This was a great decision! We had Udon soup and veggie Yakitori and it was fresh, light and quite good. We noticed several groups of younger folks in there and it gave us hope that the old “fry everything” mentality was slipping a bit. I know we felt a lot better after eating this food than we would have if we had stuffed ourselves with a huge fried meal.
On to Texas tomorrow!