New Orleans, Louisiana: Population = 389,617, elevation = 6 feet below sea level, average January low temp = 47, Average July high temp = 91, average sunny days = 216, annual snowfall = 0”, annual rainfall = 59.3”, air quality index = 30.7, water quality index = 40, comfort index = 22, median age of residents = 39.7
The road from Florida to New Orleans runs through the boot heels of Alabama and Mississippi. The scenery consists of mostly tall, straight pine trees and swamp. For our crossing we had the extra added adventure of a huge storm. Several inches of rain fell in torrents and gusts; cats and dogs, pitchforks and hammer handles. Nearby cities were hit by tornadoes. We braved the weather long enough to get some forgettable Mexican food, and then hunkered down in a Pascagoula hotel for the night. We would look for our favorites, from the last time through here, tomorrow.
The next day, we were disappointed that Bozo’s was closed for painting. Bozo sells delicious little boxes of steamed, peel and eat shrimp, right off the boat. Then we tried to get to Jack’s By The Tracks, but, ironically, a long train was parked across the center of town, juggling cars back and forth, taking forever. We finally did get to visit a favorite, The Shed BBQ. This place looks like it was cobbled together out of junkyard salvage, but the BBQ and Southern sides are excellent.
Just before New Orleans, we slid into Slidell so we could try another favorite, Ky’s Old Town Bicycle Shop. This is a cute little restaurant with bicycles hanging on the ceiling. They are the home of a roast beef po’boy, fully dressed plus gravy, that is one of the best things you can do with roast beef. Wear short sleeves because this is a three napkin sandwich.
From Slidell, it is just an hour to New Orleans. This time around, the run through the freeways was relatively painless. We found light traffic on the freeways, moderate traffic on the parkways, and incredibly bad, decayed, scabrous, deeply pot-holed side streets. Given that those side streets are just barely wide enough for two parked cars and one driver in the middle, two way traffic is a game of Dodge Em and nerves, played on a washboard.
On our first full day in New Orleans, we took the streetcar across town to a Visitor’s Center for maps, guidebooks, coupons, calendars, and so on. On the next day, the sky opened up again with rain and cold and even some hard freezes overnight. More of the same the next day. Not good for exploring so we mostly just hung out in our rental and plotted what to see and where to eat when the weather turned.
The next morning I woke up shivering and sweating and all of those nasty things that happen when a big bug has you in its grip. Marylu was just getting over a cold and then she got this new bug too. The rest of the week we pretty much hibernated, slept, read, laid about in a dull fog.
I hate to leave New Orleans this way. We had high hopes of seeing some of the things that make this a great city: the Mardi Gras Museum, the New Orleans Music Legends Park, the cathedrals, the cemeteries, the food, the music, just hanging out and people watching in the French Quarter. Guess we will have to come this way again some other time.
Next up: Baton Rouge