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New Orleans, 2015, 1998 © R. Craig Collins, 1999/2015

New Orleans: August 4-6, 2015
New Orleans: June 14-18, 1998
, and
Fiesta Texas: July 31-August 1

New Orleans: June 4-6, 2015

26th Anniversary
Map of places in New Olreans

August 4
8:45 am: Headed out, hit some traffic near Houston
11:45-12:15: Lunch at Murphy's Deli, Houston; Turkey sub and chips
2:30: Gas and snack stop, Shell Speedy Shop, Iowa, LA
Slow both ends of Baton Rouge, one was caused by a semi stuck on the tall bridge over the Mississippi
6:15: arrive Olde Town Inn, Rampart @ 1001 Marigny Street, New Orleans, LA.
Olde Town Inn Olde Town Inn Olde Town Inn Olde Town Inn
Olde Town Inn Olde Town Inn
Olde Town Inn Olde Town Inn
Olde Town Inn

We had to pay extra for parking in a gated corral, but the street parking seemed to make this a good choice.
The place was old, and not as kept as we had expected. While the office was neat with all the antique typewriters, etc., when the clerk handed us our metal key rings and walked us down the block, we could see layer upon layer of yellow and pink paint. She unlocked a gate, and we walked down the courtyard and up to room 206; we really noticed age issues all along the way. The door knob on our room was loose, there were big gouges and gaps between the door and jamb, the blinds did not cover the window, the wooden floors were not all finished to the edges, and the base boards were pretty rough.

The room, though with high ceilings, just barely held the bed, there was a dresser and desk with a grand mirror opposite the bed, and there were nightstands on each side. If you sat at the desk, no one could walk to the bath. The bath had an open vanity, and old in-layed tiles; the toilet behind the door on the left, and the smallest tub ever on the right. There were gaps in the edges of the tile around the tub. We finally wedged a towel around the blinds for some privacy, and noticed there was no working wifi.

Now, I will say we have been in rooms in far worse shape, and once we settled in the charm did start to soak in. The staff was friendly, the air conditioning was great, the location was close to Frenchmen and the Quarter, and even with the parking charge was reasonable.

7:00, we walked to the Clover Grill that we discovered in 1998.
Clover Grill Clover Grill
We had burgers and tots... the burgers are cooked under a hubcap, and this time seemed a little off, for some reason. The counter man wouldn't sell us tea, as he said the morning crew hadn't made any new and the old was horrid. The people watching was excellent, however.

From here we we walked to Jackson Square, and then over to the River.

Jackson Square Mississippi River

We then went to Cafe Du Monde, and as we did in 1998, we ordered way too many beignets.

Cafe Du Monde Cafe Du Monde

The humidity and heat just had us drenched, so we headed back to the hotel.

1st walk

After walking past the Old Mint, back to the hotel, we waited by the door for 5 minutes to see about the wifi. Returned in a few minutes; she came to the room, saw the issue and said she would reset the router. It didn't work.

August 5
8:00 Breakfast in the courtyard... open air with a fan. Breads, and cinnamon rolls.
Olde Town Inn

9:00, we drove to the National World War II museum.... We paid for parking, and went into the Exhibit hall. We started with with a 'ride' on a train and learned about two WWII participants that we would follow throughout the museum. We had Steve N. Pisanos, the Flying Greek, and Ernie Pyle, the Journalist. We ran into my 2nd cousin, Michelle Dozier and here husband, who I hadn't seen in about 11 years. Small world. Probably the best thing in the Exhibit Hall was on the Tuskegee Airmen. How stupid we were as a country to doubt the people of color, and the Japanese immigrants.

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Exhibit Hall, WWII Museum

We crossed to the Boeing Center to look at some of the aircraft, until it was time to go see Beyond All Boundaries.

WW II Museum WW II Museum

WW II Museum

10:00 Beyond All Boundaries, by Tom Hanks, was a multimedia telling of the war, and was very good.

11:00, we went back to the Boeing Center, and did the Final Mission, an interactive recap of the last mission of the USS Tang. We were assigned crewman's passes, and manned the helm.

We then spent time walking the Boeing Center looking at the aircraft, and going up the catwalks to get closer, and even above the planes.

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Exhibit Hall, WWII Museum

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Exhibit Hall, WWII Museum

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Boeing Center, WWII Museum

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Boeing Center, WWII Museum

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Boeing Center, WWII Museum

Boeing Center, WWII Museum Boeing Center, WWII Museum

We then went to the Road to Berlin exhibit, which included an Enigma machine, important in the development of computers.

Exhibit Hall, WWII Museum

1:30 Scenic drive out St. Charles into the Garden District to try and find food... The Trolley Stop was closed, and other places had no parking available.
2:30 Wound up at Reginneli's, on Magazine.

Reginnelli's on Magazine

Drove around a bit more, basically replicating the tour we took in 1998.
New Orleans driving tour

After dropping off the car, we tried going on line at the hotel, still a no go.

5:30, walked to the French Market station of the Riverside trolley and rode to Poydras, to scope out the Creole Queen, then rode back to Frenchman.

Riverfront Riverfront


We walked to the Market Cafe, had red beans and rice and jambalaya, and listed to some music.

Riverfront Market Cafe

We then walked down Decatur, then up to Bourbon, over to Dumaine, then back down to Decatur, and headed back toward Frenchman.
We stopped at EnVie, ground floor, for carrot cake, latte, and an Italian Soda. Neat wooden bar.

EnVie EnVie

2nd walk

Back past the great music on Frenchman to the hotel.

August 6
8:00 Waffles at the hotel courtyard
9:00 Check out
9:22 arrive at the Riverwalk mall, parked, and walked the length of the mall to buy tickets for the Creole Queen. Ran into Michelle and Ed again. Walked the mall a bit.
10:45 Boarded the Creole Queen. Great narration as we sailed to the sight of the Battle of New Orleans.

Creole Queen Michelle

Creole Queen Spanish Plaza
Creole Queen The competition, Natchez Riverboat.
Creole Queen Jackson Square

Battle of New Orleans siteBattle of New Orleans site at Chalmette

Battle of New Orleans site Battle of New Orleans site
Battle of New Orleans site Battle of New Orleans site
Battle of New Orleans site Battle of New Orleans site

At 1:00, we began the journey back to port, and had red beans and rice, corn bread, and chocolate bread pudding.

2:00, docked, and picked up our picture.

Creole Queen

Map with places visited

2:30, driving back home.

3:45 Stopped for gas in Baton Rouge

5:30 poor dinner in Sulfur, LA

9:45 Stopped for gas and candy, Buck-ees, Waller Texas.

11:51, arrive home


New Orleans: June 14-18, 1998

The trip out:

Day One:

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Details, Details, Details, of the first day
Tuesday, 4:45 am: DEPART
Leave for donut shop (always have to have donuts before a road trip)
  5:30 am ON THE ROAD
Leave donut shot for Love Field in Dallas
Drop car in parking lot, take shuttle to airport to check in
  8:20 am UP UP & AWAY
Board a 737 using tickets set up on the Internet with Southwest Airlines Vacation packages; it is a quick flight to Houston, then another hop to New Orleans.
Land after a short delay circling New Orleans waiting for rain to end. Of course, it takes forever to get to the baggage return, find ours, and haul them to the Alamo rent a car counter to get the car we had received with our vacation package. At this point, they tell us to go back about half a mile to get on a shuttle, as the cars are now off the airport property.
After grabbing shuttle, we wait for 45 minutes to get rent a car (One lady ahead of us turned down 3 cars, and a German group just had problems with the process). We got a pale gray green Nissan Intimal, and begin the process of getting to town during lunch traffic; it takes about 45 minutes to get to the hotel. On the way, we pass the Metarie Cemetery, Xavier University, and the Superdome.
  1:00 pm ROOM SERVICE
We arrive at the Hampton Inn, on St. Charles, in the Garden District. We then find out our reservation, with its 28 day head start with Roomfinders on the 'net still hasn't arrived. Evidently Roomfinders misplaced the reservation, or faxed it to Hampton who then misplaced it. At any rate, the Reservation did not go from point B to C successfully. We fooled with Roomfinders and the front desk staff, and finally get our room at the desired rate. (There was a Full Gospel Baptist Church convention in town, and rooms were hard to find, and expensive... we wound up with promised 50% off on a King sized bedroom with sofa sleeper, separate dining area, view of St. Charles, whirlpool tub, and free parking.
Hampton Inn
  2:00 pm ONE WAY, WRONG WAY
We throw our bags into the beautiful room, admire it for 12 seconds, and run back to the car to catch a 2:30 tour-bus down in the French Quarter. We knew that the Westbank is on the east side of a town whose streets follow a curving river, therefore make no logical sense. We discover this by driving all the way to the wrong end of St. Charles. We make it back all the way to the other end to find that it becomes one way the wrong way at Lee Circle, and then changes name to Royal once it crosses Canal at the far edge of the Warehouse District. None the less we parallel the street through the French Quarter until we get to Toulouse, and down to the old Jax brewery (now a mall) at the riverfront, and actually make it to the bus on time.
Gray Line Logo
We drive around the Quarter, past Jackson Square, Cafe Du Monde, the French Market, and the Old Mint to Esplanade, and up to St. Louis Cemetery #3. In New Orleans, burials are above ground, due to the high water table in the old day. Graves would fill up with water before the casket would drop, and many times after a rain bodies would surf downstream. They are usually stuffed into a family tomb that can range from the size of a dog house to the size of a small Northeastern State.

The way it works is one casket is entombed solo for at least a year. If someone else needs to join in later, the original inhabitant is moved (dumped) at the rear of the tomb, the casket burned, and the new guest is then delivered, and the tomb gets buttoned back up. Some tombs run $30,000 grand or more, but may eventually house more than 200 family or group members.

We saw a new tomb being prepared as well as some very nice tombs, and some very run down tombs. If a tomb has not been cared for for say 50 years, you can 'buy' it from the Catholic church, fix it up, and move in when the time comes. You just move the old marker to the side, and start your new marker on the front.
1,500 acres bounded on the east by St. John Bayou, the north by the old Spanish Fort and Lake Pontchartrain. We drove past the Dueling Oaks, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Botanical Garden, some classic architecture at the Peristyle and Bopp bandstand. We stopped near the Band Stand at the Pavilion of Two Sisters were we saw a lot of ducks, geese, pigeons, and even some crippled birds that were still able to get around. We then drove by kids Story Land, and exited by the Carousel Garden.
We then drove near our hotel, looking at the Garden District. Near the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park, this area has a lot of beautiful old houses, Loyola and Tulane Universities, and of course the St. Charles street cars.
We drove past the Arts district, the abandoned casino all on the way back...
We strolled up Toulouse, and ate outside in a quaint patio coffee shop and bakery, near the Court of Two Sisters.
Patio Coffee Shop
After walking back down to Decatur, we looked about at the Patalba Apartments, the Cabildo, Jackson Square and the Statue of Andrew Jackson, and the Presbytere. Then we went over to Artillery Park, and of course, over to Cafe Du Monde.
Jackson Square
What can I say, beignets and cafe au lait, a stroll on the moonwalk by the Mississippi, and then back to the car.
'Nuff said.
Friday, and
  More details and pictures soon
John J AudobonNatchez
Plantation Plantation

Six Flags Fiesta Texas Excursion

How to spend $260 in about 30 hours ($8.50/hour)
Six Flags Fieta Texas
Road Runner Express Roller Coaster
Left Home at 4:30 pm, Friday
Ate at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill, Austin $31
Stayed Hampton Inn Fiesta Park, San Antonio $96 Breakfast in Hotel (free)

Arrived Six Flags Fiesta Texas 9:30, Saturday

Roadrunner Express Roller Coaster 3 times
Wagon Wheel (Ferris wheel where cars on top are upside down 2 times
Train Ride 2 times 
Little Roller Coaster 1 times (girls only) Car Driving 1 time Truck Driving 1 time Airplane Flying 1 time (girls only) Enclosed Teacups 2 times Water ride 2 times Ferris Wheel 1 timeScrambler 1 time Spinning Platform 1 time Comic Book Action Hero show 1 time Legends of Rock Music Show 1 time Entrance to park (kids free) $56 Drink $3 Lunch $18 Drink $3 Photo on coaster $8 Photo in park $35 (Park total $123) Left Fiesta Texas at 5:30, Saturday Ate at Scholz's Garden, Austin $21 Saw the last part of the Austin Bat Flight (free) Dessert at Kenny's in Round Rock $11 Arrived Home 11:30pm 380 miles @ 38 mpg=10 gallons @ .999=$10 Pics to follow!