The Travel and Tasting continue.
We decided to walk over to Jackson Square and check on the progress at the Presbytere. It was still closed, so we looked around for breakfast. Some of the palm readers and fortune tellers get there early so they can reserve a spot.
This doggie gets his own bed
I don't know his story. He was nearby. Maybe just homeless.
We walked down to the original French Market, which started out as a Farmer's Market, but now is mainly food and shopping. We found Joan of Arc.
A fire truck went by and I liked this photo of all the shiny metal.
We found a breakfast buffet at The Market Cafe.
We visited two National Park locations. One had a great courtyard.
And I'd love to know the name of this plant.
Bill did some shopping here.
And I peeked in the windows here.
We saw statues.
And the seedy side. The sidewalks are badly damaged and trash cans line the streets.
We got on the hop on-hop off bus I told you about. The brochure doesn't tell you it's for three days, so I made a big boo-boo by not buying the tickets the first day. Maybe it wasn't a boo-boo after all. I needed all that walking.
We got off at Mardi Gras World - a must if you visit New Orleans. Float parts line the entry.
When the tour started, we had a movie about Mardi Gras and its history and were served King Cake.
The tour continued into the studios where the actual work takes place.
Then we were allowed to walk around and take photos of the floats stored here. They're from the Orpheus Krewe, founders include Harry Connick Sr and Jr. Their floats always have flowers.
These two are always included, and it has become good luck to throw your beads back and try to land them on one or the other. Sorry, I've forgotten their names.
There are costumes to wear for photos.
And they're already starting on plans for next year. They can make flowers ahead and many parts of the floats are reworked. Betsy Ross might become a mermaid, etc.
I don't know who this guy is -
but here he is again.
Thirty percent of the work is for commercial accounts. Recognize the Chick fil A cow?
And they even have a robot now to do part of the work.
The gift shop also has props.
And fun things to buy. Here's Let the Good Times Roll on cocktail napkins.
Voodoo dolls to give bad luck to others.
Or Ju Ju dolls to bring good luck. Maybe I'll make one to see if I can change my windshield luck.
Mardi Gras World is right on the river. You can bring your lunch and eat outside or just have an ice cream, as we did.
Still more props outside the gift shop.
(Sorry, Mike, I blurred the ra-ra's)
Time to leave and finish our Hop on-Hop off tour, take a look at the Riverwalk Mall and find dinner. We decided to eat at The Crazy Lobster, which used to look like this, but some guy had too much to drink and decided to take a ride and broke one of the lobsters. (Photo is from a prior trip).
It's near the Spanish Plaza
Of course, I had fried food.
Bill had char-grilled oysters.
And bread pudding with bourbon sauce, large enough for a family. We both worked on it, but we couldn't finish it.
I decided to end the day and pack and read. Bill went out for music again.
End of Day Four - burp!
We took Highway 90 almost all the way. This was a day of Tasting. We found a cute little diner called The Big Easy Diner for breakfast.
Now I know about pan bread. It's a piece of a roll, buttered and toasted on the grill. Just can't get enough of these southern grits.
Then lunch at The Harbor View Cafe
Bill had salad and linguine with crawdads.
And I had the salad sampler.
Than dinner at The Beau Rivage, where the buffet is well know around the south. I tried Bill's etouffee (the bowl on the left), but found it's too spicy for my taste. A lot of the Cajun dishes taste very similar to me, with onions, carrots, and bell peppers, known as their Trinity.
A dessert sampler, of course. The rice pudding isn't a good as Friend Bev's.
Now that we've covered the food, I'll tell you about a couple of stops along the way. I'm not sure where this is, but not far inside the Mississippi state line, because there was also a State Visitor Center here (closed, of course). We didn't go in because the place would soon be swarming with school children - they were already getting lined up to go in. It's the Infinity location of Nasa Stennis Space Center.
There was plenty to see outside.
My camera screen is barely visible in sunlight (what happened to view finders?), so when I took three photos of the alligator, I got one photo so far away the alligator wasn't distinguishable, one photo of a log, and one photo of muddy water. Fortunately, I had the foresight to take Brother Bill along with his phone camera.
Next stop - Beauvoir (which means Beautiful View), the last home of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.
Beauvoir took a direct hit from Katrina. I was amazed at the progress in its restoration. The museum was formerly in the basement of the main house. Now it has its own brand new building, but many of the artifacts are gone forever. The two smaller buildings flanking the house have been restored as well. There's a movie in the museum and a DVD in the small house which was the former owner's school rooms, then Jefferson's library with some built-ons for living quarters. The DVD is not the same movie as the museum. The other small house was for itinerant ministers and judges. The out-building kitchen has become restrooms.
Photos were allowed, but no flash. There's no wallpaper - everything is painted.
The doors are cypress, painted to look like oak.
According to the guide, the throw is needlework of Varina Davis (Mrs. Jefferson Davis).
The wings at the back of the house.
In the wings, Jefferson's bedroom (and bathtub).
Varina's bedroom (connecting doors).
The Dining Room with Food Warmer
The Kiddies Dining Room
The house for visiting ministers
The school/Davis library (where we watched the DVD)
Beauvoir is on Highway 90 with the Gulf of Mexico on the other side.
Jefferson Davis was a kind and forgiving man, with a life of tragedy. He lost a wife prior to Varina, and four sons. When he was arrested, after the Civil War, he was put in a cell and even shackled. He was a man without a country, a non-citizen, because he would not swear an loath of loyalty to the Union, believing that the constitution gave states the right to secede. He was finally pardoned by President Carter.
"Read the memoirs of Jefferson Davis" has been added to my bucket list.
And now, one of most beautiful hotels you'll ever see: Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS. The theme is flowers and yes, the ferns, blue hydrangeas and yellow begonias are real.
Tiny squares make up this mosaic.
If you like to swim or bake, is there a nicer place than this?
The Gulf is not accessible from the hotel, and the marina was taken out by Katrina and has not been replaced. You have to peer over the wall beyond the pool to see the Gulf.
The view from my room - water side cost more.
Say Goodbye to the Beau Rivage
End of Day Five
Today is a long drive back to West Memphis. We couldn't find breakfast until we saw a sign which said 49 Flea Market and a little sign which said Eaves Cafe.
Breakfast was - well, breakfast.
Pretty boring day until we turned off the highway to look for lunch in Winona, MS, where we met a feisty little lady named Kia, who was an excellent waitress. She says that she's all sunshine and daisies, and I agree. Here she is with the owner of the restaurant, appropriately called "The Tracks".
The restaurant is the old train station, and right next to the restaurant is an abandoned rail car, along with a caboose. We had a delightful lunch, as well as a delightful visit, with the people who make The Track a success. Lots of character -
Great food: Fried Green Tomatoes to share; Shrimp Po Boy for Bill; and Chopped Beef Steak with Mushrooms and Onions plus a Baked Potato for me.
Too bad we were late for the special - such a deal
We hated to leave, but we still had lots of driving to get to West Memphis, AR.
Dinner was at Las Margaritas Fiesta next door to the Days Inn. I wasn't hungry, so I ordered taquitos. I ate two, Bill ate one and we left the other. First time I've ever had taquitos made with ground instead of shredded beef. Bill said his chicken enchilada was okay.
I've been told that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all, so I will tell you that the motel was quiet.
End of Day Six
Homeward bound and not much to see along the way. We happened across this raven in Ravenden, AR.
We made a stop at Mammoth Springs State Park near the Arkansas/Missouri border.
This was a hydroelectric station until the 1920's, but no longer in use.
We decided to have lunch here and the lady at the visitor center recommended Carrie's.
The American Legion had just finished their meeting.
Bill and I both had pork tenderloin sandwiches; mine with fries, his with zucchini fries.
Carrie, the owner, kept checking on us and we had fun discussing food. She treated us to an order of her onion fries, which are excellent, and taste like the Blooming Onion from Outback. Carrie was born here and worked as a waitress for 20+ years until she finally got the nerve to strike out on her own last June. Her place is clean; it's easy on and off the highway, the service is friendly, and the food is good. She should do well.
And then it was time to head for home so I could get to the library to pick up a book they had on hold before they sent it back into circulation. We got there 25 minutes before closing.
End of Day Seven. End of trip. Whew!
Tidbit: I picked up a paper in the lobby while waiting for Bill and look at these chicken prices. Four different stores. Why is our chicken so high compared to theirs? And isn't it fun to see papers from other areas? A Mini Muffaletta Platter. You won't see that in my paper. And Blue Bell ice cream - 2 for $9. I pay $6+ for one.
Thinning and Trimming: Remember the two pounds I said that I gained? I got on the scales this morning and poof! gone. It's magic.
HOPE I DIDN'T WEAR YOU OUT WITH ALL MY PHOTOS.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK