Monday, March 18, 2013

New Orleans - 03/18/13

Monday – March 18, 2013

Monday – March 18, 2013

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning at the St. Bernard State Park near New Orleans, Louisiana. The temperature is forecast to reach 80 degrees today. A perfect day for a visit to the French Quarter in New Orleans, so off we go!

The mighty Mississippi River winds it way through New Orleans on its way to empty into the Gulf of Mexico. This presents special challenges to motorists driving into New Orleans from the surrounding areas. Fortunately, there are water ferry’s available to provide shortcuts to get into the city. Five miles from the St. Bernard’s State Park campground we boarded the Plaquemine Pride Ferry in our Ford E150 Cargo Van for a seven-minute ride across the Mississippi. The ride is free going and costs $1.00 per 2-axle vehicle coming back. We then drove 10 miles to the parking lot for the Algiers Ferry at 1 Morgan Street in New Orleans. All day parking is $5.00 on weekdays and $10.00 on weekends. The Algiers Ferry transports pedestrians and vehicles across the Mississippi River in five minutes and docks at the entry point to the French Quarter in New Orleans. The ferry is free for pedestrians and charges $1.00 per 2-axle vehicle. Taking the two ferries’s saved us driving an additional 15 miles.

Upon our arrival to the French Quarter at 1:30 p.m., we toured the Riverwalk that runs parallel to the Mississippi River. This is a fascinating area to explore in terms of viewing the numerous massive ocean freighters entering the New Orleans port from the Gulf of Mexico. We were fortunate to observe a cruise ship departing the port that will hopefully provide its passengers with a pleasurable cruise; free of any malfunctions that has recently plagued some cruise lines.

We toured Bourbon Street and Royal Street, two of the most popular streets in the French Quarter. Most of the tourists must have worn themselves out on St. Patrick’s Day, because there were not that many people or street performers on the streets while we were there.

Around 3:30 p.m. we decided we needed to give our legs a rest and have a late afternoon lunch. We discovered a quaint restaurant, Pier 424 Seafood Market on Bourbon Street. We secured a street side table so we could pass our time people watching. It felt so good to sit down and relax in an air-conditioned area after having walked about 5 miles. I ordered ½ dozen of their oyster rockefeller as an appetizer and for our main course we both ordered the jambalaya pasta. We finished off the meal with a piece of cheesecake covered with a berry sauce. The food was delicious, the service was exceptional, the lively activity on Bourbon Street enjoyable to observe. This restaurant is now on our list for a return visit next year.

We returned to the Riverwalk around 6:00 p.m. to hopefully catch a glimpse of any ocean freighters or barges traversing the Mississippi River. We were not disappointed. A barge ship was approaching the Riverwalk area pushing 20 barges, 5 across by 4 deep. We had never seen a barge ship pushing this many barges before. As the barge ship approached us, around the bend in the river some distance behind the barge, was a massive ocean freighter approaching. It soon became apparent the ocean freighter was traversing the river faster than the barge ship and it’s cargo. Within a matter of minutes the ocean freighter caught up to the barge and passed it. Soon, both vessels disappeared under a bridge in the distance.

A magnificent ending to our day of exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans.

We returned to our campsite at the St. Bernard State Park contented with our exploration for the day.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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