We literally drove over bayous & lakes to get to New Orleans. The sight of trees growing straight out of the Louisiana swamps was an alien looking landscape, especially for "newbs" like us.
First stop: Bourbon Street - a rich history, lots of color, raucous crowds, music bars, plenty of alcohol (including huge ass beers :)), & a dash of sleaze pretty much describes this area in a nutshell.
We went to the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Bourbon Street is located, going on a walking tour of the allegedly haunted buildings in this notorious part of the city. We didn't see any ghosts but learnt some interesting history & trivia of the city, including how jazz music originated (music played for prostitutes - "Jezebels"; hence Jez -> Jazz) on their day off, why prostitutes are also known as hookers (hooks were a means they used to pull men into their brothels) and why excrement is also known as "shit" (Ship High In Transit - referring to ships which were used to bring in excrement used for manure).
Tulane University has a lovely campus situated not far from the Garden District. Damaged by Hurricane Katrina, this university has experienced an amazing resurrection with the highest ever number of applicants to its undergraduate program this year. We visited the school with W. who expressed that he really likes it. We will see what happens. :)
The Garden District, in which our hotel is located, has many lovely old homes with beautiful architecture. I wish we had had more time to go on a walking tour of this area. But with our tight time schedule, & the debilitating heat/humidity of the New Orleans summer, not this trip.One of many examples of the lovely homes along St Charles Ave in the Garden DistrictAnd we HAD to try the famous Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee & beignets! Scrumptious donut-like pastries, slightly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside smothered under a generous pile of powdered sugar, I had to control myself & limit my intake to just one & a half pieces (with great difficulty, I must say!). Like many things that are delectable to the taste buds, these unique snacks are, alas, highly caloric.