Thankfully, I have been to a lot of places throughout my life. But, I had never had the opportunity to visit New Orleans. So on our trip to the South, we made it a destination spot.
We had several reasons to see New Orleans. We studied American History this past year, and you cannot study US history without realizing the importance the city of New Orleans played in our country's history. (Above is Jackson Square named in honor of Andrew Jackson. If you don't remember, Jackson helped save the city of New Orleans during the War of 1812.)
A simple walk through the French Quarter and you can feel the history. I loved the old bricks and the gas lanterns and the old windows and doors. We ate beignets at Cafe du Monde. Yummy. We heard different musicians on the street. We heard jazz and saw people dancing with ease and abandon. We happened on a wedding procession being led by a jazz band. Classic.
After our tour of the French Quarter, we drove through the Garden District and watched the streetcar go up and down St. Charles Street. We were amazed by the beautiful homes in that area. They are quite simply beautiful. We saw Tulane and Loyola University.
Fast forward to more recent history. Katrina. We saw the Superdome. We were on the interstate where it showed a different kind of procession -- the people who had sought refuge on higher ground. And then we saw all the abandoned houses. Still boarded up. Hotels in ruins. Shopping centers that are now parking lots. A city that has not recovered...
New Orleans is a city of contrast. You have many cultural influences diverging. Religion and voo doo. French and American. The New Orleans of yesteryear with its strategic location on the Mississippi and the city of today devasted because of its location during a hurricane. A city with great wealth and affluence and a city with great poverty and need.
I am thankful we made it a destination point! It is good to see and experience the contrast and the tension of this city first hand. My daughter remarked, "this is the strangest city I have ever seen." I would agree.