We arrived at St Bernard State Park located in Braithwaite, La around 1pm for a 2 day stay. We had no idea where we would go next because it is Easter weekend and the state parks are full. We got situated in our site which is quite nice. We have a cement pad, water, electric, table and fire ring. The park sits on the Mississippi River and was devastated by Hurricane Katrina also. The water in the office was about 8 feet as they have it marked on the door frame. Can you imagine that much water? This area is about 19 miles from New Orleans and was hit pretty hard. They use ferries to transport you across the river – free going over and a $1 coming back. Pretty reasonable but it brought back memories of when we lived on Governors Island and our lives were controlled by the ferry. I loved it there except at night when we did New York City and the last ferry was at 2am. You couldn’t miss that one or you were stuck in the city until 6 am.
This state park is really nice plus senior citizens with a golden age card get the campground for half price. They have nice walking trails which we did most days unless we went into New Orleans for the day. They have beautiful picnic grounds and a swimming pool also. The park comprises of 358 acres – very quiet and so peaceful. They do have a lot of bugs though – they are those small ones that bite but you cannot see them – yuk!
Our visit to New Orleans was a very pleasant one and I highly recommend it as a vacation getaway. It is a fun city for children also but please do not take them on Bourbon Street. I saw a young girl about 8 and her eyes were popping out looking at the stores and bars. We were able to watch a parade on Easter Sunday which actually was pretty good. They throw necklaces, beads, stuffed animals, flowers, and candy at you as they go by. We walked and walked having lunch at a nice restaurant and then splurging on a beignet at Café du Monde. This place was established in 1862 and has continuously served coffee and beignets since the 19th century. Really different – it is a combination of a French pastry and an American donut. It is covered in powdered sugar and served warm. We walked and walked thru the French Quarter which is the oldest and most famous neighborhood. It was founded in 1718 and has a real old flavor. The buildings are interesting to look at so it is fun just to walk the neighborhoods. You will reach a corner and an act of dancing or music will be going on. You can walk the streets with a drink in your hand and it is perfectly legal. We also did the famous Pat O’Brien’s Bar twice – what great drinks they have. We sat outside on the patio and just enjoyed the day.
St Louis Cathedral was another stop to see one of the prettiest church’s I have ever been in. It was founded in 1718 and rebuilt in 1850. The ceiling has paintings which is so unusual for a church but just beautiful. We tried to get into the church one Sunday and could not get in the door – so many people. Glad that we came back so we could really enjoy it. I do love old churches as they have so much more details that are so interesting.
Another fun thing was the French Quarter Festival. This takes place for 3 days and nights with plenty of food, drinks, and music at 18 different locations. Let the party begin. We were smart and parked on Canal Street and took the streetcar down so we only paid $7 instead of $18 to park close. Each day we found something interesting to see or do.
New Orleans has a wonderful zoo with over 2000 animals and covers over 58 acres. We love zoos and each one has a few animals that you have never seen before. They even had a white alligator and a huge carousel to ride on. We enjoyed that greatly and got to see tigers, elephants, monkeys, gorillas, snakes, sea lions, etc. It gave us a good work out for us.
New Orleans was definitely a great stop for us both. Tim enjoyed the food as he eats everything- but as you know I am not a real good eater so I survived on mostly chicken. One night we ate at The Gumbo Shop sitting outside in the charming garden courtyard. The building was from 1795. A young mom and her 8 year old son sat next to us. We enjoyed talking to them and found out they were from Ohio visiting the city as we were.
Chalmette Battlefield which is a National Park was another stop on our journey. They are still rebuilding as this park was hit hard by the hurricane. We went into the visitor center and watched a movie explaining the importance of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. This battle lasted less than 2 hours with 13 Americans dead and 2000 British. The visitor center is located in the Malus-Beauregard House which was built in 1830 in the French-Louisiana style.
After 10 days in New Orleans it was time to head somewhere new. We enjoyed our visit greatly and we will be back some day.