Christine (electrastorm) wrote in curious_tourist,

Trip to New Orleans

Here are some pics from my recent trip to New Orleans. I was there from January 23 to January 30, 2007. x-posted to my journal.

It's so easy to fall in love with New Orleans. This was my second visit to New Orleans--my first visit was in April 2004. This time my husband had a conference to attend so I decided to tag along. The French Quarter is great--it's open for business but tourism is way down. We remember long lineups, full bars,  and having to make dinner reservations in 2004. There was none of that this time. People were super-friendly and everyone kept thanking us for visiting and asking us to tell our friends that New Orleans is a great place for a holiday. So here I am, tellin' y'awl 'bout it.

There's been a lot of press about the crime rate in New Orleans post-Katrina. But honestly if you use your common sense, no one will bother you. Some of the other spouses of the conference attendees were surprised when I said I was walking around the French Quarter by myself.  As long as you stick to crowds and major streets, there's no problem. I even spent Friday night on Bourbon Street by myself  because my husband had a networking session to attend. I sat at the bar and had dinner at Acme Oyster House, walked along Bourbon Street and then listened to the Paulin Bros. jazz band at Preservation Hall. It was awesome.

It was, however, sad to see the devastated areas outside of the French Quarter and Garden District. Entire neighbourhoods, apartment buildings, suburban malls and hospitals are completely abandonned. There are still a lot of scars from Katrina all around the city, 18 months later.

"Make Levees Not War" in the French Quarter

The Laura Plantation in Vacherie, just outside of New Orleans. Built in 1805, it's considered by Lonely Planet Travel as one of the best historical places to visit in the U.S. It's a one-hour guided tour that describes the saga of a Creole family, matriarchal lineage, slavery and the life on a sugar plantation

The more stately and grand (but not as fascinating) Oak Alley Plantation down the road.

French Quarter architecture

The next few photos are of the swamp tour I took just outside of New Orleans.

More swamp.

All the alligators are hibernating right now, so the tour guide showed us his pet baby alligator instead.

And I was crazy enough to hold the damn thing. It was cold, wet, and weird, as you can tell by my ghastly grimace.

The cathedral in Jackson Square

Inside the cathedral

This is a statue of Saint Jeanne d'Arc. I took the photo because my mother's name is Jeanne d'Arc so seeing a statue of her is cool

We took a tour of the areas that were devastated by hurricane Katrina. This house is located near the 17th street canal.

You can see the high water mark on this house

This is in the 9th Ward. This used to be a neighbourhood street filled with houses.

A Habitat for Humanity House in the upper 9th Ward in a location called the Musicians Village.

Funky house in the Musicians Village

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Thanks for sharing this. New Orleans is one of those cities I think I would truly love to visit just for the architecture alone. The fact it's rich in history is a bonus.

The devestation from Katrina is incredible. I recall seeing some stat that said the current population of New Orleans is 40% of what it was pre-Katrina.
I was in New Orleans as part of the disaster relief in September 2006. I hadn't seen the city before but the people I was talking to were worried that it was never going to be the same again. I don't really think I saw New Orleans either before or after Katrina, since it was just getting back on its feet when I was there. But since you've been there both before and after, what do you think? Is it really on its way back? I don't just mean the population difference or the crime rate. Is it going to be nearly the same as it was for the people who live there?
I haven't been back, but I have friends and tenants from there. My tenants came to Austin, Texas when Katrina hit, and there has been no talk of returning, even now. The city, according to all of them, is a mere shadow of itself, and I have seen articles saying that the vital people to make a city run (doctors/nurses, academia, businesses, etc) who came back are trickling back out again, as they have no reason to stay. I would love to see Tulane and Loyola University's enrollment numbers now versus before. I read just this week that at least 30% of NO residents took the federal payout and abandoned their property rather than take funds to rebuild. I think that's telling. With real estate prices artificially high all over the nation elsewhere, I can see NO becoming the new affordable place to live, even though flood insurance will be at an all time high (if you can get it at all).

Poor New Orleans. I really enjoyed that city when I was there, but it sounds like it's going to be a long time coming (and a lot of federal funds for levees) before people have the confidence to move back and it rebounds.
Yeah, I agree. When I was there people were saying that it'll take years for NO to be rebuilt, if at all. It was creepy seeing all of the abandonned houses, apartment buildings, schools, surburban malls...I don't think it could ever be the same as it was before the hurricane.