Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas in New Orleans

December 22-25, 2016
New Orleans, Louisiana 

Last summer we were in Montana when we first thought that New Orleans for Christmas sounded like a great idea. At the time I didn't realize we have friends here, so it's even better!

It's surprising to find Bayou Segnette State Park just off a main highway of the good sized town of Westwego. But I'm pleased to see that the park itself is a lovely setting among trees along the bayou. We have water and 50 amp hookups, asphalt pad, wooden deck, both fire pit and bbq, picnic table, and we're close to a nice showerhouse. The spaces have good separation with a lot of space behind. We have a few neighbors while here, but the park is never more than 40% full.

Site #4 Bayou Segnette State Park

Our first Armadillos - such weird little critters
Everyone who's stayed at this park has recommended the Algiers Ferry for going into New Orleans.  That's our plan as well, but it turns out that we never use it. The traffic isn't bad and except for our first day, we always find parking.

Friday Bill gets in touch with our friends who live in the area - two brothers and a sister we went to high school with have all been here for years. We arrange to see them the next day so we head into the city to check out the Superdome, home of the Saints football team.

We can see it from the highway, a big gold disc in the middle of downtown. An arena of championship game-play, also stained with the nightmares of Katrina survivors. 

This is the tenth stadium we've driven to see since our travels started, and by far the most disappointing. Because the disc we see from far away is all we see when we arrive. They obviously don't want anyone to see the stadium, it is completely enclosed with a multi-level parking lot that charges $20 no matter how long you stay. It feels very unwelcoming and we continue on.

Been there, kept going.
Downtown New Orleans is busy, but easy to navigate. From there we find our way to the French Quarter. I have no expectation that we're going to drive through it. Every picture or film I've ever seen has people, not cars on the streets. But we drive. All the streets of the Quarter. Even Bourbon Street. 

The Quarter is dwarfed by the newer Downtown. 
Even in the daylight this is a hopping place. Loud music blasts from open doors, competing with the barkers calling everyone to come in and get drunk. Literally: "We'll get you drunker than anyone else in the Quarter, come on in."

Men in gold skirts, couples with matching boas, groups of young men with plastic cups sloshing as much as they're consuming, dogs in leopard print, retirees taking photos. Some of those in their car :-)

This looks and feels and smells and sounds like New Orleans.

I love the character in the non-renovated old buildings
Next we find St Charles Street and enjoy one of the prettiest drives in any city. Giant old oak trees with beads hanging from very high branches, and handsome vintage mansions with ornate wrought iron fences. Before heading home we have a late lunch at the Cheesecake Bistro.

Hard to see the beads in the low light.....but there's lots of them!
Get it all done in one stop!

Everything's so sparkly here

Whatcha eatin' up there??
Our waiter Isiah makes them extra special :-)

Saturday we spend getting caught up with Lois, Bob and Bryan in LaRose, about an hour away. She graduated the year before me, Bob was in my class, and Bryan was a year behind Bill. It's been 40+ years since we've seen them so there's a lot of catching up to do. 

We end the evening with dinner and more visiting at the home of Lois' daughter. A perfect Christmas Eve.

Bill and Bryan

Jodee, Bob, Bill and Lois
Christmas we're planning to take the ferry but find out it's closed. Instead we drive back into the city and park next door to Broussards on Conti in the French Quarter. I wasn't able to make a reservation so we leave our name and use the wait time to explore.

Many places are closed for the holiday, and the crowd is much tamer than our first visit. It's wonderful to stroll the historic tracks, marvel at the architecture and shop windows, and especially to listen to the soulful street music.

The infamous House of Voodoo which I intend to come back to when it's open, but unfortunately I don't :-( 

She's wonderful

Giant bubbles floating down the street

Wonderful shop windows
There are several lovely hotels and restaurants here and a marked difference between their interiors and the streets they stand on. Stepping off the dirty sidewalk into Broussards is like taking off a scruffy overcoat to reveal the shiny tuxedo underneath. 

Our Christmas dinner is divine from beginning to end.

Sazarac - a lovely slow sip

Bill's filet mignon. My fish was perfect too.

This is what bread pudding should always taste like.
We get home just in time for the Steelers game, and their division title win is a great way to close our Christmas! 

Having a tree this year makes it feel more like Christmas.


  1. We've been to New Orleans twice in the past three years for the French Quarter Festival in early April and had an absolute blast! Going to New Orleans for Christmas is now on my list, too. :-) Your fancy Christmas dinner looks fabulous. And I'm so happy that Doreen (the amazing clarinetist/vocalist) was playing while you were there! Wishing you another year of grand adventures. :-))

    1. Wow! I had no idea what her name was - she was indeed amazing. There was less New Orleans colors for the Christmas decor than I expected. The red and green traditional was pretty, but I did expect more Mardi Gras green and purple. Still, it was fun to be there for the holiday beauty and yummies. Wishing you and Eric a 2017 filled with magic and wonder.

  2. We lived in Pensacola, so New Orleans was just a 3 hour drive. We went there several times a year, with one of those times being Christmas. Always been one of our favorite cities, and with the best restaurants! Happy New Year! Maybe our paths will cross in 2017.

    1. How wonderful to be so close to that exciting city! The food in LA is dangerous - we must move on or buy new pants :-)) Would love to meet up this year, we'll be staying west I think.

  3. When we visited NOLA we got caught up in a parade with Larry the Cable Guy. Great food and music in the French Quarter.

    1. Oh how fun :-))) This is a pretty quiet time of year (probably not last night) in the Quarter so while we could find parking, there wasn't the "buzz" of activity.

  4. It sounds like Christmas is the time for people not fond of crowds to go to Nola. Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. How fun! Another place I want to visit one day. Thanks for the tour! Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you and Ron and Rufus! It is a fun place for sure.

  6. Being I'm not a lover of crowds, or cities, I'd say Christmas would be a great time to visit NOLA. But I don't see it on my list so am glad to see it through your eyes. Always nice to have friends along our travels.

    1. It is very much a city, so not for those who don't like them - although the bayous and swamps are pretty darn cool :-)