In the Spring of 2012 we took a short trip to the exciting Cajun Country of Louisiana. I had been a freshman at LSU (Losuisiana State Unviersity) way back in my college days and is familiar with the colorful history of that state. But that has been decades back and my wife, Glenda, has never been to Louisiana.
We decided to drive the 480+ miles from Alpharetta (north of metro-Atlanta) to Louisiana.
Here is a map of the route we took:
The first stop in our trip was Mobile, Alabama. The city is famous for motor oil; so much so that in many parts ot he world motor-oil is called “Mobil”! We stayed the night there in a hotel Glenda smartly picked near the I-10 and I-65 intersection. This way, next morning we were able to get right on the interstate I-10 heading toward Louisiana without much hassle avoiding Mobile city traffic.
The drive from Mobil, through Mississipi, into Louisiana was relatively short and comfy. At the border of Louisiana, we stopped at the Rest area to get refreshed and take pictures! The weather already felt a bit humid, even for the early Spring and even by Georgia standard! We planned 3 key places to visit:
1) The swamp lands of Slidell
2) The historic city of New Orleans and
3) Baton Rouge – home of the LSU Tigers
Below is a more detail map of these places within Louisiana.
Our first stop in Louisiana was an Eco-Tour of the “Honey Island” swamp in Slidell, Louisiana. We wanted to experience the “Blue Bayou” that Glenda so nicely sings when she does a cover of the famous Linda Ronsdat song 🙂 . The swamp tour took us deep into the Bayou land that has all kinds of birds, crawfish, snakes and alligators roaming around. As you can see from the image below, it looks beautiful and yet a bit intimidating!
After the swamp tour we headed out to New Orleans. It is an exciting drive over the great Lake Pontchartrain and you may see a dead Alligator or two by the side of the highway! We reached New Orleans early in the afternoon and immediately proceeded to explore the City.
New Orleans is famous for its French-Creole architecture. We already knew of it’s famous French influence and the “Mardi-Gras” festival. But we learned a lot more in just days exploring the city! Before we dive into those details let me share below a montage pic (source: wikipedia) about the city. You can see in it the famous streetcars, the city skyline (including the superdome) and some historic architectures.
We quickly learned that the best way to explore the city is to use a combination of driving, streetcars and walking. Using our trusty google map app we located a public parking in the downtown area and parked for the day. The rate was quiet reasonable. We then headed on foot to the famous French Quarters. We had decided to use one of the walking tour guides first and it was very helpful to learn about the history of the city, places to eat/shop and how to use the streetcars to get around!
Despite the blow received during Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 (we visited in early 2012) New Orleans has recovered admirably and hardly any sign of the natural disaster is visible until you go outside the main city area. There was NCAA Basketball final-four game scheduled in the city the same weekend we visited so the crowd was quiet big. It wasn’t too much of a trouble until you walk down Bourbon Street in midst of rowdy fans, so we made a mental note to avoid such big events (maybe except Mardi Gras) when we visit again.
To Be Continued ..