Friday, March 18, 2016

New Orleans One Year Ago Day 2

 On our 2nd day in New Orleans we needed to get up early to meet our bus driver for the tour we had booked through "Old River Road Plantations".  Our pick up time was 7:30 a.m. just down the street from our hotel.

 We went downstairs and had a nice chat with this lovely woman who sets up breakfast daily.

 We loved this little breakfast room and had it all to ourselves this early morn.
 Walked through the town and it was very quiet.

 We met our bus driver on this corner.
 And we are off to tour Oak Alley Plantation

 Our bus driver is great! He's pointing out important sites as we leave the city and
gives us insight to the city and country life.

 Soon we are nearing our destination

 Our driver gives us our entrance tickets to Oak Alley Plantation, our first stop of the day.

Oak Alley Plantation is"a historic plantation  located on the west bank of the Mississippi River  in the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, Louisiana.   It is so named for its canopied path created by a double row of southern live oak trees about 800 feet long, planted in the 18th century, long before the present house was built. The alley runs between the home and the river. The property was designated as a National Historic Landmark for its architecture and landscaping and for the agricultural innovation of grafting pecan trees, performed here in 1846-47 by a slave gardener."-wikipedia

A tour guide leads us through the plantation owners home and gives us historical insight to the family, the times and the grounds.

 One of the stunning features of this plantation house was the wide wrap around veranda

We then toured the slave quarters

a sad and sobering experience

 Before heading to the next plantation we made a short stop at the shop on site.

 We board the bus and head to Laura Plantation a Creole Plantation

The Creole world was both privileged, elegant, and tragic. They lived in their own fascinating insulation from the rest of America, for more than 200 years. The tour at Laura Plantation makes you part of this world, even if only for a few hours. This historic Creole gem in Plantation Country, west of New Orleans, offers a unique historic experience not possible in any other area of the world.

The cultural charm of this Plantation, on the Mississippi River, is that it is much as it was generations ago, with sugarcane fields, the Plantation home, and former slave cabins.

The house was built on the Mississippi River, for purposes of convenient transportation by boat--both for visitors and supplies. The oak trees which grace much of southwest Louisiana shade the main house, which is filled with antiques--some donated by descendents of the original owners.

Though much of the main house has been restored, some of it has been left untouched to give visitors a glimpse into Creole history.
Laura (the plantation's namesake) was the 4th mistress of Laura Plantation. She was born in the house in 1861, inherited it and ran the plantation as a sugar business until she sold it to Aubert Waguespack, who lived on and ran it until 1984.

The slave quarters, which were occupied by plantation employees until the late 1970s, are one of the unique features of Laura Plantation. There are few such facilities still intact, and they are of such importance that they are on the National Register of Historic Places.

 We board the bus for a short ride to a restaurant for a little crawfish etoufee. 

 It starts to drizzle just a bit but then it stops in time for our next journey to the swamp land.

 The last part of our tour takes us to the swamp land. We have absolutely no idea what this will be like.

 "Laissez Le Bon temps Rouler"
 which is what they often say here.
"Let the Good Times Roll"
 We get into our swamp boat-Here We Go!

 On the look out for gators and other wild life that live in the swamps

 The guide for the swamp tour has grown up here. These alligators are like family to him.  He calls them by name. They come out of the water and he feeds them. Yikes!

There was an opportunity to hold a baby gator but we passed on that opportunity...

until we were on land that is!

After a full day of touring we are returned home to our lovely
 Place d'Armes Hotel by 5:00.

With time to kill we decided to take a walk before our dinner at 8:00. Not knowing what was in store we chanced upon a cute looking entrance to a garden bar called Pat O'Brien's.

 This was our first introduction to the famous "HURRICANE" Drinks. 

 We both agreed this was really a great place and we loved our "Hurricanes"

 We vowed we must come back before the end of our trip.

 Our 8:00 dinner reservations at Arnaud's Restaurant.

This is how Arnaud's is described: "Located steps off of Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, Arnaud's offers classic Creole Cuisine and exemplary service in beautifully restored turn of the century dining rooms."  It was established in 1918.

 The dining rooms were very beautiful When we stood outside before entering we peered through the windows and thought it looked like some restaurant in Paris. We were told that was the jazz bistro side and we could be seated there for $8.00 more. The additional cost because there was live music.  We said that would be fine. 

 In actuality the other side of the restaurant without the music (Dixie Land Jazz) would have been maybe even better for us. We discovered this other side en route to the ladies room. Truth be told our music tastes lend themselves more to the Italian side. When the Dixie land band member asked us what we would like to request I said "Something Italian?"....needless to say they never returned to our table.

We had a lovely evening but for me the food in comparison to the restaurants that were to follow was not memorable.  What I do remember with fondness was having the famous bananas foster prepared at our table.  That was fun and completely memorable and delicious.  A great way to end a fun filled adventurous day.

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