New Orleans, Louisiana
November 12, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
I arrived in New Orleans on November 5, three days ahead of my family. As a student of World War II, I was excited to have the opportunity to visit the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. This fabulous Museum is a must see and, all by itself, justifies a trip to the Big Easy.
I spent four partial days at the Museum-November 5, 6, 7, & 12-and barely scratched the surface. The curators of the Museum have done a wonderful job of telling this epic story of how the Allies saved the world from domination by the tyrannical forces of evil unleashed by the Axis powers of Germany, Japan and Italy.
Lisa, Jeff and Lori arrived in the late afternoon on November 8. I was so happy to see them. I sat in the hotel lobby for over two hours waiting for them to arrive. This was a moment I had dreamed about while on the Big Muddy.
We had dinner at Couchon and then enjoyed a stroll down Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street was a mass of humanity enjoying the wonderful restaurants, bars and loud music blaring out the doorways and windows of every establishment.
On November 9, we enjoyed a two hour “Swamp Tour” with Cajun Encounters, which promised to bring us “up close and personal” with alligators and other swamp creatures. We didn’t see any alligators or reptiles because the water is too cold. I had mixed feelings. I had hoped to see alligators and snakes on the tour, but I was glad to know they won’t bother me as I finish my trip to the Gulf. The adventure was interesting and fun. What interested us the most were the homes in the swampland along the Pearl River. These homes are accessible only by boat. We felt like we were on the Disneyland “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed a cheese plate and fine wines in the courtyard of Bachanal Wine & Spirits. We had a great dinner at NOLA. After dinner, we were back on Bourbon Street enjoying the authentic jazz music at Fritzel’s, my favorite bar on Bourbon Street.
Sunday, November 11, was a special day. It started with the 11am service in the First Pilgrim Baptist Church. We were the only Caucasians in the Church. The entire congregation welcomed us with open arms. The preacher delivered a typical
Baptist sermon, full of fire & brimstone and hope for humanity. His booming delivery was beautiful, alternating between speaking and singing the sermon.
In the afternoon, we toured the French Market, which is right on the Mighty Mississippi.
We had dinner at Commanders Palace, one of the best restaurants in New Orleans. The food was the best. After dinner, we headed to our next destination-Snug Harbor-for some jazz music. Before being seated, we strolled through an open-air outdoor market. That is when we spotted a stand selling blazer jackets embellished with latex paint.
My beloved grandson, Danny Giger, had a flair for style, and his wardrobe included funky coats and wigs. At the outdoor market in New Orleans, Lisa commented “Danny would love that jacket.” I bought the jacket to honor our Danny, who we love and miss so much.
The concert at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro was excellent. This was sophisticated New Orleans jazz at its best. No photos or video were permitted. Of course, I broke that rule.
On Monday morning, we enjoyed coffee and beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. In the afternoon, we took a trolley ride on St. Charles Street in the Garden District. This was capped with several plates of appetizers at the Bulldog restaurant in the Garden District.
My family departed for the airport at 4 pm. As they drove away from the hotel, I already missed them. We had such a great time in New Orleans.
Here’s a funny story. I packed some excess clothes and gear in a small duffel bag to return home with my family. No one wanted to touch this toxic container! I don’t blame them.
The Way Forward
Here is my plan to finish my trip. I am taking November 12-14 as zero days because of rain and bone chilling cold weather. On Friday, I will be back on the Mighty Mississippi headed for the Gulf of Mexico.
Venice is the last city along the River with road access. It is located about 90 miles south of New Orleans. I should easily make it to Venice in three days. I will then paddle 12 miles downstream to the “Head of Passes” in the Gulf of Mexico. Larry Hooper will pick me up in his boat at the Head of Passes and bring me back to Venice. He will store my canoe. KAS Transport will pick up my canoe in Venice and transport it back to California in early 2020. I will fly to “Home-Sweet-Home” from New Orleans.
I have been told the trip from New Orleans to the Gulf is particularly dangerous because of the River traffic and turbulent water. In order to be true to my emotions, I must admit
I’m a little scared. Please send up some prayers for me.