Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

By Sam Strait – October 26, 2022

Left Lafayette, Louisiana bright and early for the even brighter lights
of New Orleans.   Two hours later we had checked in to our hotel and are
on our way to walk the French Quarter.  First things first after winding
our way through narrow streets to Jackson Square and the prospect of
finding a spot to park.  Seems that Crescent City is missing the boat on
how to gouge the tourists even more by hitting them up for exorbitant
parking fees.  The City could take part of the Beach Front Park
extravaganza and turn it into $4.00/hour parking for visitors.  What a
money maker. $50 to park in the French Quarter for the half day.

Strolled through the French Quarter for several hours before stopping
for lunch at the “Coronet” for some down home southern cooking and
street watching from the second floor balcony of the restaurant. 
Po’Boys and shrimp creole to start the culinary odyssey.  It seems that
people who come to satisfy their palette can do no wrong in this City,
plenty to choose from and a variety that clearly will appeal to most
tastes.  Down to the river to chill and watch the stern-wheeler
“Natchez” head up river on the Mississippi for a dinner cruise before
returning to New Orleans later today.  Lots more window shopping inter
spaced with sitting on the park bench listening to musician “wanna to
be’s” trying out their musical skills on the tourists in Jackson
Square.  Plenty to do even in the light of day, but after the sun sets
the party begins.

We didn’t get very far on our adventure to the Atlantic Coast, a mere
hundred miles or so, but decided a bit of down time was in order.  Day
seven actually sort of merged into day eight with plenty of music to be
had.

I will leave that one to your imagination.  Late night was had before
returning to the hotel to get a few hours before returning to the French
Quarter for a few powdered sugar coated beignets, a signature treat at
Cafe Du Monde, and hot chocolate, then on to the Confederate War Museum
a bit west of the Quarter.  Oops, too early for a 10:00 am opening but
the massive World War II Museum is right next door and opened at 9:00
am.  Three hours later and on “museum over load” we brave one of the
South’s famous fall thunder storms, with a suitably thunderous down pour
en-route to our parked car.  Four hours later and a parking bill of $16
we are on our way north to Huntsville Alabama, where the US’s Johnson’s
Space Center is Located.   A stop on the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain
for photos then north to Mississippi, our ninth state.  Roads are great,
gas is still hovering at $3.00 per gallon.  Some how these “economically
poor” states can keep their infrastructure together without dipping too
deep in the state’s taxpayer pockets, maybe our local leadership can
come out for lessons on financial responsibility.  Faint hope.

A quick hop across Mississippi, lunch at Meridian, a fill up at $3.05
per gallon, Egads! Inflation, maybe the local County government should
think about tacking on another one percent to inflate the local economy
even more.  I jest.  Tuscaloosa, home of University of Alabama, a
beautiful town, before on to the capital of “Civil Rights”, Birmingham
and all things Martin Luther King. We have elected to stay nearby and
hit another aviation museum in the morning before heading up to
Huntsville and the Johnson Space Center.   Seems our visit of a former
student in the outskirt’s of Atlanta is in jeopardy due to illness. 
Any way, Texas barbecue was on tap for dinner and surprise of surprises,
better than Texas barbecue in Texas.  So it was with that, we staggered
back to the hotel to get this account  of our wanderings in front of
readers in the morning.

Day nine, and onward.

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