Gwen's visit Summer 2003


The beginning

Gwen, my French friend was so nice this Summer and she came to visit me all the way from France. Since she came here for about 10 days we decided to do something fun during here visit here not only bar hop in Raleigh.

Decision: let's go visit New Orleans.

Gwen took care of all the reservation and all the logistic and I ... well, I was working so I didn't do much.

We left on a Thursday afternoon and we got in New Orleans at about 11-11.30 after getting the rental car and stuff. We even got on the street where our hotel was located without too much trouble. Some maps, my GPS and ... no problem.

The problem started only when we realized that the street, Canal Street, where our hotel was, was getting paved and a policeman was directing ll the traffic behind the hotel. Fortunately at the second trip around we found a parking lot that was cheap - the hotel was offering us parking for only $19 a day -.


Day 1

Day one was French Quarter with a self guided tour. Gwen had a French tourist guide and we stick to that. The funny part is that all the other French had the same guide so everywhere we were going we were meeting French people.

We had a good time wandering on all the streets of the Quarter or - le Vieux Carre - like the French call it. We even got on Bourbon street, the famous street that everybody talks about when you tell them you go to New Orleans. Bourbon street was no different that all the other streets in the Quarter... What is so special about it? ... Well, we realized what was that special when we got there at night ... At night, Bourbon street has a life on its own. It has bars each 3 ft. and everything is music, dance and beets. No I didn't got flashed!

What is nice to see in New Orleans ... everything. The history is great, the fact that the medium altitude of the town is -4 ft, the courtyards, the slave stories and of course, the food. I had Jambalaya before but for the first time I tried the Gumbo and the Red Beans and they were fantastic.

After wondering all day, we had a quiet dinner and listen to some jazz at the Preservation Society and then we returned to the hotel.


Day 2

Unfortunately Gwen woke me up at 8.30 am - can you imagine that, ... vacation and I got up at 8.30 am -.

We decided today to do some guided tours through the Quarter so first we went and visited the Gallier house first and then we signed up for a tour with Le Monde Creole. Both tours were fantastic and I do recommend them.

The first one was the tour of a house, Gallier house, and the guide was fantastic, He told us everything about how it was 200 years ago, how the plantation were run, how the businessman were conducting business from the town house during the fall and winter and from the plantation during the summer, we got introduced to the slave quarters, to paved courtyards and much more.

The second tour was Le Monde Creole tour and they traced back the sorry of a Creole family with visits in a bunch of courtyards and one cemetery. The guide was also very, very good (probably this time it helped also since she was a very attractive woman :-)) and we learned a lot.

Since the tours ended at about 3 PM we also went to see the Oak Alley plantation. We heard the same stories about slaves and plantation owners and about sugar cane and architectural style. It was very enjoyable.


Day 3

Day 3 was dedicated to more plantations and an airboat tour through the bayous.

We saw today the famous Laura plantation that was mentioned also in the Le Monde Creole tour since Laura was one of the women from the family Duparc, and after we learned all about the family and the town life, now le learned about the life on the plantation. We saw the whole house, the yard, the slave quarters ... very interesting.

We got back to the hotel at about 4.30 since at 5.30 we were starting out air boat tour. The airboat is a flat bottom boat with a gigantic fan on it that can go in swamps or even on grass Those boats can go pretty fast and it is awesome to go through the swamps so see the cypress threes and the alligator and the Spanish moss.

Our guide explained to us all about alligators and about the cypress threes, the only wood that resists to water and insects. As you can see in the picture, those alligators get very close to the boat since all the time they are hand fed by the guides.

We returned to the hotel and went to have diner in the Quarter and then got back in the room.


Day 4

Today we did a tour of Louisiana. We started by heading toward Saint Martinville where we had lunch and visited the park and the town and the we went to see another plantation house in New Iberia.

The tour was great, and we saw the same fields without end of sugar cane and swamps and more swamps. There are so many swamps that the I-10 interstate it is built entirely from New Orleans to Lafayette as a bridge. I don't even want to think about when an accident happen there how can the police get to it ... Probably by helicopter or air boat.

Next day we started our trip back to Raleigh and even if we hit a little snag in Charlote where we had to wait about two hours for our plane we still got back home safe.

The pictures are grouped on days and you can follow the story and look at the pictures on the same time. Enjoy



Her are the pictures:





Updated September 7, 2003 5:07 PM by Vlad Pambucol