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The French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

We wait for rush hour to pass as we need to cross Lake Pontchartrain on the Causeway Bridge. (From Google: The 23.83-mile-long Causeway is the longest bridge in the United States and the longest in the world that runs continuously over water.)

It's a treat to sit on the passenger side and look over the water and the coming city of New Orleans. As we drive along St. Charles Ave., I can concentrate on the beautiful architecture and go back in time if I pretend I don't see the people already saving their seats for tonight's parade. It is only 11:00 a.m. I love the dedication and the spirit of Mardi Gras!

I love the diverse Southern mansion styles of architecture on St. Charles Ave. The beautiful houses are a labor of love and pride in my eyes.

It is time to park and experience the French Quarter!

I am trying to find the right words to describe the energy of the French Quarter. It feels like layers of history blended with the desire for never-ending fun and party. The mix of smells floating in the air teased my hunger in the most delicious manner. The music on Bourbon Street smoothly transfers from bend to bend, creating a new tune with perfect new sounds. Even the intricate, detailed wrought-iron balconies above added a strong essence as they recounted tales of life over the centuries in this vibrant neighborhood.

There are a few 'must' things in New Orleans, and one is sitting in Cafe Du Monde to indulge in the sweetness of beignets paired with café au lait. Yummy!!! The French Market is another experience I enjoy. However, what takes my breath away is the beauty of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. The ceiling is a wonder. The detailed painted ceiling is a true masterpiece. The vibrant colors flood the church from all directions, starting from the stained glass windows that wrap the walls of this sacred place to the high, stunning ceiling.

We decided not to stay for the night parade but made sure to have dinner at Cafe Maspero for the best French onion soup I have ever had and tried a new Louisiana dish, muffuletta. The intense flavor of the olive salad was a bit strong for my taste buds, but again, it is on the list of 'must' try. I am glad I did!

Linda, made sure to introduce me to 'King Cake,' another new addition of knowledge and sweetness that enriches my life. However, I do think I am now hooked on beignets.

It's funny how the influences of the south rub off on me, as I catch myself saying y'all a few times. I am sure with my accent, it is a funny sound.

To my delight, my new gang and I are going for a night parade. Linda, Daphne, and Lark have friends with a sober safe spot along the route of The Krewe of Bacchus. That gives us all a first row standing location.

Night parades certainly have a different flavor than day parades. The dark skies create a backdrop for festive lights flickering all around. By now, I have the idea of reaching my hand up every time a float comes by and being prepared to catch my treasures. 

The next day, Linda and I are back in the French Quarter. New Orleans spells her magic on me! I love the energy and spirit of celebration here. For lunch, we sat in the legendary restaurant, The Court of Two Sisters, for more flavors of Louisiana cuisine. One last stop at Cafe Du Monde. After all, I can't leave without indulging again on beignets. I told you I got hooked.

I am still waiting for my minivan to be fixed. I hope to get back on the road in a few days. It will be hard to say goodbye to Linda; we have endless conversations that enrich my life.



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