Thursday, August 5, 2010

Goodbye, New Orleans

We are out of here today and headed home to two very annoyed kitties, no doubt.

Yesterday may have been the most pleasant day here. It was still humid, but not so oppressively hot. Slept in a bit and then I connected with an old friend from college and visited with him and his partner at their house for awhile. Chris had picked up some fabulous croissants from a French bakery. He also made some chicory coffee that was so good I wound up buying a can of Cafe du Monde chicory coffee to bring home. Between the Kona coffee I got on the Big Island and the chicory coffee from here, I'm going to be one wired Tigger.

After visiting with Chris and his partner for awhile, Chelle and I set out to tour the World War II museum right by Lee Circle (where there is a big statue of General Robert E. Lee atop a monument, where he stands perpetually facing north so his back is not to the enemy). The museum was a good refresher course on both campaigns of the Second World War. Then we caught the St. Charles streetcar and headed into the Garden District.

There, it was considerably cooler because of all the shade trees. We walked up First Street to Anne Rice's house to gape at her mansion. It's surrounded by surveillance cameras, so no doubt she gets a lot of gawkers, but we were the only ones outside. I posed for a picture and we were on our way. We walked a few blocks over to Fourth and stopped in a bookstore where I found a signed first edition of her Angels. Since I finished the last Dragon book last night, looks like I will tackle this one on the plane today (should be interesting since I've read only her vampire and witch novels). We also popped in for frozen granita at Still Perkin' coffeeshop.

Across the street was Lafayette Cemetery, one of the oldest in New Orleans, and since we'd been unable to make it to St. Louis Cemetery, we decided to peek in. As you can see in the photo and as I explained here a few days ago, nobody is buried underground because the city is below sea level. So there are three types of aboveground tombs: the regular family tombs (we saw some families with dates back to the 1800s leading up to the present--amazing that these people stay put, or come home to be emtombed); the larger society tombs (we saw one for firefighters); and then the less expensive wall vaults (which looked a lot like the places in regular cemeteries where people inter cremated ashes). This particular cemetery was also interesting because some scenes from Interview with the Vampire were shot here. I posted on Facebook that I kept expecting a door to pop open and someone to stick their head out and say "Boo," but that didn't happen.

Actually, no ghosts showed up here at Le Pavillon, either, so Chelle and I must not have looked like much fun to pick on.

We caught the trolley back to the French Quarter and went back to our room to chill in the A/C a bit, then scored dinner reservations at NOLA, one of chef Emeril Lagasse's restaurants. That made for a fine (albeit pricey) meal. The service was outstanding--the waiter even escorts ladies to the restroom if you have to ask where it is. I never saw anything like that.

We finished the day by wandering through the French Quarter some more and picking up souvenirs for friends and coworkers.

I'm about ready for home now. I'll have one final week of relaxation, and then the fall semester starts. This summer has sped by.

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