See the U.S.A. – 9: On the Road to NOLA ~

It would seem, when the great minds of engineering laid out the path of Interstate 10, they said, “Hey, let’s keep it simple; just mow down the forest and slap on the asphalt.”

No exaggeration, this is the highway across Florida, Alabama and Mississippi - although Mississippi was more swampy

No exaggeration, this is the highway across Florida, Alabama and Mississippi – although Mississippi was more swampy.  And bridges, lots ‘o bridges across all of the water outlets and marshes

We’ve been chasing the sun the past few days and failing miserably.  Mother Nature was really starting to piss me off.  Enough already with the polar freezing cold and the fog and the rain!  We drove across the Florida panhandle from St. Augustine to Orange Beach, Alabama, a little over 4oo miles, 6 1/2 hours and this is what we found when we arrived in Orange Beach.

Yes, that is fog!

Yes, that is fog!

We booked an oceanfront room thinking, “Oh, won’t that be nice?”  Ha!  We had an ocean view alright…

I know, it's pretty anyway but it was raining and the wind was blowing - and to add insult to injury at 5:00 a.m. BOOM - thunder!

I know, it’s pretty anyway but it was raining and the wind was blowing – and to add insult to injury at 5:00 a.m. BOOM – thunder!  Scared me right out of a sound sleep.  Really?  Enough already!

But today, ah today… look what we found in Alabama.

And guess what?  It was 60+ degrees and we took off our jackets!

And guess what? It was 60+ degrees and we took off our jackets!

We pulled into New Orleans right around 3:00 and I swear I thought I was pulling into Vegas!  I had no expectations for this city, but I hadn’t focused on the fact that there is legalized gambling so it kind of threw me.  Well, that and all of the people walking the streets with their cocktails.  The south’s version of Vegas – New Orleans.  What the hell?!

Palm trees, casinos, people with cocktails = Vegas

Palm trees, casinos, people with cocktails = Vegas

We got into Deanie’s for dinner just in time before the crowds began packing the lobby.  Waiting for our drinks we realized we were surrounded by Saints’ fans and oh boy, they didn’t take the loss well at all, but wow, fabulous dinner!  Our on-going culinary journey will be well-satisfied in New Orleans, of this I am certain!

BBQ'd Gulf Prawns for Abi

BBQ’d Gulf Prawns for Abi

And because it is one of the obligatory things to do (is it?) when visiting New Orleans, and since we were right around the corner, we decided we’d walk Bourbon Street.  And besides, Abi wanted to puff the cigar he bought in St. Augustine and what better place to do it? By the way, no, Abi does not smoke.  He just enjoys a cigar once or twice a year.  So, Saturday night on Bourbon Street;  please to describe: crowded, somewhat seedy, a little sketchy, loud, a lot of booze and a whole lot of crazy, but these guys, … they were fun to watch.

As I said, the southern version of Vegas – you’ll find it on Bourbon Street.  It was fun and I’m glad we went.  But now I’m ready to find the other side of New Orleans – and the beignets.  And according to the forecast we just have 1 more day of rain looming ahead and then it’s all sunshine and blue skies.  Here’s hoping!

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Have you been to New Orleans?  Tell us about it!

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20 Responses to See the U.S.A. – 9: On the Road to NOLA ~

  • Jennifer says:

    Sounds wonderful! I’ve been toying with the idea of going to New ORLEANS FOR A long weekend. I’ve heard so many negative things about the city, It is good to hear about your positive experience!! Please share suggestions or recommendations for accommodations!

    • Patti says:

      We did hear warnings about safety in NOLA. I think when you add in the gambling component it adds another dimension. When we checked in to our hotel we asked the front desk clerk where the safe zones were and she was great about it. Honestly, I think anytime we travel we have to pay attention to our surroundings and be alert and we have safety tips we follow when we go out. And I think for a city like NOLA there are different travel times that would impact an experience. The city is very busy and vibrant, but it’s also January, so it’s probably on the more quiet side. We are staying in the Hampton Inn in downtown, just off of Canal Street. It’s a great spot as we can walk to anywhere in the French Quarter and the waterfront, but it’s in a quiet location. Feel free to message me on FB if you’d like further information!

  • Gaelyn says:

    Well I’m not a city gal, too much noise and crowd, but these guys are awesome. Glad I can see NOLA through your eyes.

    Thanks, post card arrived. If you have a snail mail address I’d like to send you a post card from South Africa. It will be a belated birthday card.
    Gaelyn recently posted…Sunflowers near Flagstaff ArizonaMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      Totally understand Gaelyn, we love being outside in the quiet and peaceful, but we also enjoy what the city has to offer, well, some cities! ;) So far NOLA is proving to be quite fun.

  • Freya says:

    Hope you’ll have the sunshine and blue sky soon. New Orleans looks like a lot of fun, I have unfortunately never been but would love to go already for those BBQ’s prawns alone.
    Freya recently posted…Top 5 things to do in Cusco PeruMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      We had a gorgeous day today of warm blue skies, but it is supposed to rain tomorrow – sadly – but that should be the end of it. At least for a while. I’m allergic to shellfish so the prawns were off limits to me, but Abi said they were delicious! The culinary scene in NOLA is pretty amazing!

  • Kim says:

    I can’t wait to visit NOLA someday. I can’t believe I’ve never been!
    Kim recently posted…Biking VietnamMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      This is our 1st visit to NOLA and I really had no idea of what to expect. It’s really a blended city of old and new with French, Spanish and old southern American culture. And the food! And the music! So far I gotta say we’re having a great time!

  • Sue Diederichsen says:

    Have you run into any of Ann Rice’s characters? Love the stormy ocean pic.

  • Gretchen says:

    Not yet, on my bucket list for April/May and plan to eat myself silly. Las Vegas huh? Probably just stay in for the evenings and eat dinner early. Thanks for your insights and pics of all the wonderful food you are enjoying!! Looking forward to seeing you in AZ:)

    • Patti says:

      New Orleans is pretty great, lots of history and the architecture is so fun – and yes, the food… oh the food. There are definitely some undesirable elements but we haven’t had any problems. One just needs to do their homework and pay attention to their surroundings. Common sense goes a long way. I think you’d get a kick out of the French Quarter, the waterfront and especially the Garden District.

  • Mike says:

    As time has gone I’ve lost a lot of interest in ever visiting New Orleans except for one thing. The food!! Oh my gosh so many restaurants that I’ve learned about over the years that I WILL go there to eat at! :)
    Mike recently posted…$200 Giveaway To Celebrate Our One Year Blog Anniversary!My Profile

    • Patti says:

      Yes, Mike, the food is amazing! New Orleans is all about the food and the music – and there is definitely a party atmosphere – which is probably more prominent at different times of the year. It’s actually a pretty fun place, I’m glad we came.

  • Neva says:

    We visited New Orleans for a Barbershop (4 part harmony-not haircuts) International Convention. We had to do Bourbon Street during the day and I found it to be not a very clean or pretty sight. It was in July and very humid, so I wasn’t very impressed.
    I’d like to go back to visit the historical sections of the town that I didn’t have time for the first time around.
    Neva recently posted…Our Secret’s Out – We Love TrainsMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      That pretty much describes Bourbon Street. The rest of the French Quarter is wonderful with the shops, restaurants and the architecture, we’ve wandered for hours taking it all in and the Garden District is also quite lovely. I hope you make it back one day.

  • Corinne says:

    We have only been to NOLA for one long weekend, and I have to admit, we really enjoyed it. As we are also not really city people per se, we got out and took a swamp tour which was a blast. Our boat guide had lived on the bayou his whole life and listening to his stories made the trip really enjoyable. If you have time, I would highly recommend it. And yes…amazing food as well!
    Corinne recently posted…Instagramming the Berlin WallMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      Thanks Corinne! We didn’t have the time for an air boat tour on this trip, but years ago we took an air boat ride in the Florida Everglades and I agree, it was so much fun!

  • I lived in New Orleans for 5 years and I loved it! I miss it so much even now. I hope you’ve been eating well!

    belle + compass

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