We set out on Day 4 with no set agenda... just money to by trolley passes and the desire to sight-see. And that's just what we did.
Waiting for the trolley, at the corner of Canal St. and Bourbon St. I snapped this picture. Bourbon St. is the most famous street in The Big Easy, but two blocks of it was about all we could take! You're likely to see anything down that street, and according to the local news, there have been 3 different shootings down Bourbon since we've been in the city! But honestly, throughout the rest of the French Quarter, you wouldn't realize such craziness goes on a few blocks away.
We wound up down Decatur St. again and wandered through Jackson Square. In the center of the park stands this statue of General (and later President) Andrew Jackson, who defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1814. (Sing it with me now... "In 1814 we took a little trip!")
And naturally, since we were on Decatur St., we couldn't resist stopping at the Cafe Du Monde for more Cafe au Lait and Beignets!
This is seriously my favorite stuff in New Orleans!
The kids all love the beignets, as well!
Meandering back down Decatur St., we spent some time in the Cigar Factory.
There are several cigar shops in New Orleans, but they hand-roll cigars here (the only place in the city that does). We stood and watched for a long time. The kids were fascinated!
Next we stopped at the Jean Lafitte Visitor Center. Lafitte was a pirate who ran a smuggling operation through New Orleans after the American Government enacted the Embargo Act of 1807. After he and his fleet were "busted", he helped Andrew Jackson defeat the British in the Battle of New Orleans, and in exchange received a pardon.
Below is a picture of the two younger kiddos in the courtyard area of the visitor center.
Inside the visitor center I spent some time looking at a display board full of information, pictures, and newspaper clippings about the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. I knew the French Quarter had not been severely damaged in the flood, but I'd never really understood the facts about how and why certain areas of the city flooded so terribly. I snapped the picture below because - for me, anyway - it was such a clear and succinct explanation. (Hopefully you can read it!)
I wondered what it would "feel" like to be in the city post-Katrina. The last time I visited was in 1994 - and I was a college student - and while it was fun and exciting to get to see the sights, I didn't really have an appreciation of the history and culture. However, after experiencing one of life's great milestones on that trip (my now-husband proposing marriage), I developed a connection... a love... for the city, which turned into a real appreciation for its heritage. I've been so grateful for the opportunity to be here again, and to experience the city and all it has to offer with "adult eyes". The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina continues to break my heart, and many places in the city still have a long road ahead, but it's exciting to see that the vibrancy of New Orleans is still very much present, and that the Crescent City is rebounding the way it is.
And... after a long day of wandering and sight-seeing, we took the St. Charles Street car through part of the Central Business district just to get a look at another part of the city. The kids enjoyed the trolley rides, and as you can see below, it gave them a much-needed rest from walking!
We ended the night with sushi. Yes, I realize that is not Cajun cuisine, but it was a nice end to a long day, and everyone enjoyed it thoroughly!
On Day 5, the kids and I plan to enjoy the Audubon Aquarium and IMax Theater. They deserve something a little more "up their alley" after all the walking and sight-seeing on Day 4. We'll also hopefully finish up some of our souvenir shopping before heading home on Tuesday.