We walked along Bourbon Street one day. It was closed to traffic as each street corner hosted a musician of sorts. The donation cups were always nearby to catch coins from tourists who wanted to show their appreciation to the performer.
Only two blocks away St. James Square, in the heart of the French Quarter, was bustling with tourists and musicians as well.
While in New Orleans it is a must to at least eat a sugared donut, called a Beignet, at the famous Cafe DuMonde. We found that it was best to eat them while they were still warm. (We took some back to the hotel. They turned into a fat tasting lump of dough.) There was always a waiting line at this outdoor pastry shop.
Buggy rides are an ongoing attraction. We found the mounted policemen, patrolling along St. James to be friendly and quite helpful as well.
We were intrigued at the magnitude and intricate detail of some of the stone buildings in the French Quarter.
Only a few short blocks from our hotel we found a casino. While we didn't gamble at the casino we did stop in one night for dinner. We considered it to be one of the best values of all the restaurants we dined in. The photos below are of sculptures in the casino.
The photos above were taken in the evening outside of the casino.
Plantation Tour - Nottoway Plantation, White Castle, LA
The primary purpose for our being in New Orleans was to attend a National Rose Convention. While in New Orleans we participated in a number of tours and spent little time at the convention events. One of our favorite tours allowed us to visit a couple of plantations. Each plantation home had fallen upon hard times and were either donated or sold as a type of museum. The photos below are of the two plantations we visited.
This home, approximately 8,000 square feet, reminded me of a big farmhouse. The yards were nicely maintained and contained many interesting plants.
We saw quite a few of the green lizards. The one above was sunning himself on a bell in one of the gardens.
As we entered the house the candelabra was one of the first things we saw in the foyer. When I used a flash to take the photo of the candelabra a tour guide asked that flash not be used for photos. All photos were taken using the available (dim) light. The photo (above right) was taken in the dining room.
The photos above are of the music room.
A unique feature of this home is that it had running hot and cold water. Although it isn't a big thing in today's world, it was 200 - 300 years ago.
This was accomplished by building within the structure of the roof a large water tank. The heat of the sun warmed the water. Gravity provided the water pressure.
I never learned how they made the water valves to turn off the flow of water.
The next stop was at a different plantation. The grounds and trees surrounding it were stunning.
Plantation Tour - Oak Alley Plantation
The trees planted along the entrance are Live Oaks. The trees are about 250 years old. Note in the photo (top right) how the weight of the branches are causing them to lay on the ground. As they touch the ground the branch develops roots forming a new tree. The spread of branches on the trees are about 100 feet.
The following are of some of the rooms in the house. Again, flash photography was not allowed.
Our tour guide (upper left) was dressed in the style and fashion of the period.
The drapery hanging over the diner table (upper right) is actually a fan. It is suspended from the ceiling with a hinged frame that you can see in the photo to the left.
To the frame is attached a pull cord woven through a series of pulleys ending in a corner of the room. During dinner a slave would pull the cord causing the drapery to swing thus keeping the diners cool.
The photos below were taken in the bedrooms. For some reason all of the beds had canopies over them.
Note in the first photo that there is a drapery hanging from the canopy. Finally there is an answer to why all of the beds had canopies. The drapery surrounding the canopy hid the mosquito netting. The net was dropped in the evening to keep the biting critters at bay. Remember, there were no such things at window screens back then.
We never thought of touring a cemetery before but they are a big part of life in New Orleans. No one is buried in New Orleans! The reason is that the water table is only 12" below the surface. Thus, all people are entombed in an above ground crypt. Many of the crypts contain more than one person.
The photo (above left) is a series of temporary crypts. The law in New Orleans is that while more than one person can be entombed in a crypt it can only happen if after the preceding person has been entombed for at least one year plus one day. If a family member dies within this time period a temporary crypt is rented for the newly deceased.
Upon the completion of the waiting period the final crypt door is opened, the bones are shoved forward and fall into a chamber that will contain the remains. The new arrival is then placed in the crypt and cannot be disturbed for the same time period -- one year plus one day.
To over come the problem the owners built tombs containing more than one crypt. We were told that the newest one built that could contain a dozen family members was done at a cost of $160,000.
The statuary in this particular cemetery was quite impressive as you can see in the photos below.
French Quarter Garden Tour - Private Gardens
Within the French Quarter are a number of gardens. However, the spaces containing these gardens are very small. We found it interesting how each gardener utilized the space available to create their own distinctive garden paradise.
Water for gardening is a precious commodity in New Orleans. This gardener made use of a wooden water tank to capture water from rain gutters for use in watering their plants.
The entrance to the garden below was through a narrow space between two buildings. You can see the entrance in the photo (above left) as the people are walking toward it. It is a little over two feet wide.
Containers for plants are used in a myriad of ways in these small gardens.
We found plants growing out of flower pots, hanging wall pots, hanging baskets or whatever the owner could find to contain soil.
Some of the artwork hanging on the walls were interesting. Sometimes the artwork would just crawl out and look us over as if to say, "I dare you to touch me to see if I am real."
The most extensive of the gardens in the French Quarter was located at a convent near St. James Square.
French Quarter Garden Tour - Gardens of Ursuline Convent
The convent was completed in 1752, after the original convent needed to be replaced due to deterioration of the wooden structure. The building is the oldest in the city and in the entire Mississippi River Valley.
These gardens did not have an abundance of roses or container plantings although it was advertised as such. The entire building and gardens are enclosed with a walled garden, built of brick and tile, is credited with saving the convent from the great fire of Good Friday in 1788 that destroyed 856 buildings in the area surrounding it.
Its principle features are the statues of the original priests and nuns who formed the original establishment. The detailing of the statues reminded us of the detailing of the statues at the Louvre in Paris.
Notice the detailing and fine features around the eyes. The eye glasses on the statue of the priest are an integral part of the stone of which the statue was carved. It is not a separate piece that was glued on.
Our touring friends and buddies from home - Hugh and Betty Watters.
Private Gardens Tour
Due to a conflict in two distributed schedules, we missed the bus. One schedule stated (the one we didn't see) that the bus would leave at 2:00pm. We were waiting at the bus stop at 2:15pm. Around 2:45pm we started to ask the people in charge where the bus was. To make a long story short, we wound up renting two taxi vans for 12 people. We managed to arrive at the second stop just as the bus after the bus left. We used a tour map to find and visit the gardens. As you can see in the photos below, these gardeners put every available space to use.
We managed to catch up to the bus at the last stop. This gardeners yard was truly awesome. As you can see in the photos below, they used raised beds, formal grade beds, flower pots and containers of many sorts.
As we walked through the arbors it gave a feeling of walking into a new room.
The photo above was taken from the side of the levy that holds back the Mississippi River. The planters that are just to the right above are located in the middle front lawn of the photo taken from the levy.
This is the front yard of their neighbor. Notice that they don't have a rose in their yard.
Another side trip that we took was a dinner cruise aboard the Creole Queen on the Mississippi River. The journey from our hotel to the dock was in the form of a parade. At 5:00pm all those who were signed for the dinner tour met in front of the hotel. The police closed the street and escorted the crowd down the middle of the street. It seems that New Orleans will do anything for a parade.
The photo (left above) is of a trellis. We found these parrots while walking through a mall. The merchant made his money having people pay to pose in front of the birds. Novel idea, ehh.
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