Quick Facts:

  • Miles traveled: 70
  • Hotel: Richelieu Hotel in the French District of New Orleans
  • Gas prices in the last four states: Roughly $2.89
  • Landscapes: Spindly trees and swamps, yet somehow still pretty
  • Disappointments: Not getting to go on a swamp tour because it’s booked. No alligators and snapping turtles for me.

I knew I would like New Orleans, but I didn’t know I would love it. Well I do. I loooove that place. Anyplace where I can look at 18th-century architecture, listen to multiple bands for free, eat yummy cuisine, buy a painting by a local artist, and see interesting, varied, fascinating people ranging from the Amish to prostitutes (I have pictures of both) is a place for me.

Now you might be wondering: What about the hurricane? Yes, there is damage, but your average tourist won’t see the terrible stuff that’s on the news. Because I was in the French District, which was above the water, I only saw a few boarded-up houses–nothing that I would call devastation.

You might have also heard that New Orleans is dangerous. Neither Kyle nor I felt threatened or uncomfortable when we were there. People went out of their way to help us and talk to us. We did see some bums–which is inevitable for a place where you can buy Hurricanes for $1–and the aforementioned prostitutes, but nothing that isn’t in any other big city.

Some things that stuck in my head:

The truffled egg: A soft-boiled egg with the top sliced off so you could see its rich yellow yolk, rolled in truffles and sitting on a piece of toast in a bed of mushroom-and-cream-sauce. Amazing. We were at Bacco, a fusion of Creole and Italian food. “I love when people get the egg,” the waitress said. “It means they really love food.” Flattery! I also had great shrimp at Bacco, although they warned me several times that they leave the head and the tail on when I ordered them. “One lady from New York started crying when she saw the heads, so we warn people now,” the waitress said.

The American chameleon: Walking down the street, suddenly this little guy shot out of the window box and began to stalk a bug. I said, “Is it a gecko?” and Kyle said, “No it’s an American chameleon.” We were about to catch the lizard and put it on different surfaces to see if it changed colors when a local stopped and said, “No it’s a gecko. They are all over Louisiana. They change from brown to green depending on where they are.” Kyle still thinks it is an American Chameleon.

American Chameleon?
I think he’s probably right.

Musicians everywhere: I tend to get bored with jazz, but these bands held my attention for entire sets. And there were no covers.

My new hat: Circa 1930 or so, $12 at a vintage store.

It’s sad when the squinting picture is the best one.

Banana trees: I never realized how banana trees have orchid-like flowers that hang down on long cords, which eventually sprout bananas. I don’t think we can grow bananas in California, which is too bad, because they are gorgeous plants.

“She done run out here!”: a woman exclaimed as a little black girl ran toward her and they embraced. “I done got me some love from this one,” the woman said, covering the little girl’s face with kisses. Adorable!



I just love the balconies.

So in conclusion: Do not be afraid of New Orleans. Go there and have fun.


9 thoughts on “Day Seven: New Orleans

  1. Marcus de la Houssaye


    I do appreciate your positive comments about New Orleans, and I hope if you come again maybe you can do a spin through Lafayette and do my swamp tour. http://www.delahoussayes.com

    I am a local trour guide and I won’t indulge any details regarding stats here, but anyone wanting to research crime in New Orleans can start with a google search for Daniel Breaux and see what happened to our friend in broad daylight as he walked out of the New Orleans Jazz Fest In 2004. Daniels story is not atypical of friends I have known and lost who spent the last day of their life in New Orleans.

    And bear in mind, Daniel has been going to Jazz Fest for decades. He knows the danger in New Orleans.

    You were either lucky or careful not to go into the other half of the French Quarter.

    From Bourbon Street to the river is the tourist side of the quarter, and it is relatively safe by comparison to the other half of the quarter.

    From Bourbon to Rampart is the residential area. (It ain’t so friendly, especially after dark).

    Across Rampart street from the quarter is Louis Armstong Park. To go there, or even walk by after dark, is risking death. Ask any local, and they will advise you to be very careful anywhere in New Orleans after dark.

    New Orleans is and has been pre Katrina, the number one murder capital in the U.S..

    Bury your head in the sand, but the danger in New Orleans is real. And the biggest problem for tourists here is to know which side of the street to be on.

    One wrong turn, and you will wish you had a local tour guide/body guard to defend you, or better yet steer you away from harm.

    I’m glad your Louisiana Experience was a pleasant one,
    but please don’t mislead unknowing tourists into harms way thinking New orleans is safe based on your limited experiences here.

    When you enter a war zone, it is better going in, knowing the risks.

  2. joy

    Marcus, sorry to hear about your friend. But with all due respect, this is exactly the kind of paranoid thinking that keeps Americans from traveling to other parts of the world. Any place you travel can be dangerous. As a tourist, it’s your job to stay out of bad parts of town (through simple research), take care of your valuables, keep your eyes open, and other basic travel safety rules. That is exactly the opposite of burying your head in the sand and it’s exactly what we did, and what we do everywhere we go. No need for a tour guide.

  3. doctorj

    Thank you for helping the recovery of a great American city by visiting. Those lizards are called anoles, and they DO change colors. LOL! And as to Marcus’s post, GIVE ME A BREAK! Yes there is crime, like in any other American city. Be smart, don’t walk down dark unpopulated streets by yourself, don’t try and buy drugs, and you will be 99% safe. I love it when people outside the city make grand pronouncements of what it is like here. Marcus.I remember the murder of Mr. Breaux. I also remember Mr. Breaux’s LOVE of the city and I am sure he would not appreciate you using his name to HURT the city he loved. He, like many here, would be doing what it takes to protect the culture we all love with our whole heart. NoLa Rising! Thanks again, Joy, for the loving post of my hometown.

  4. marcia

    New Orleans sounds great (so does that egg!). In other news, any tourists coming to Petaluma can employ me as a tour guide/bodyguard.

  5. Krista

    I am satisfied by your account and I am excited to the great photos. Have you ever heard of banana tarantulas? They are big and hairy. Therefore, I am glad to not have banana trees in our great state. California misses you!

  6. Krista

    Some people may take one look at Marcia and say “Her?!” “That little thing could never be a bodyguard!” To them I say; she’s light, fast, and stealthy. Like a kitten on the prowl. keeeowww baby. keeeoowww. Oh ya…. and she’s good with a revolver. whaaapsshhhh!

  7. […] New Orleans reallyX3 excited me. I love that place! […]

  8. Deena Jarvis

    Can anyone tell me -would it be foolish to visit in September- which I just found out is the height of hurricane season.? I happened to be heading back from Chicago on train to Los Angeles- and thought I would stop off for a few days in New Orleans- til my friend told me it’s hurricane season!!! I had already booked my hotel but have a few days grace to cancel before losing my whole payment and just plan to come at a better time..?!

  9. joy


    We went in October, which is during hurricane season, and didn’t have any trouble. Personally, I would go anyway, but if it is going to worry you a lot, I can see rescheduling.

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