We are in New Orleans!
We brought the dogs to a boarding service today so they wouldn't be alone all day in the RV. Good thing we did, a large rainstorm with big thunder hit just as we were dropping off the dogs. Lily hates storms and would have been terrified if left alone at the campsite. Thankfully the storm got the rain out of its system by the time we had arrived to the old part of town.
Our first stop in the French Quarter was Cafe Du Monde to try their famous beignets. I learned this morning that a beignet is a French doughnut. They are covered in powdered sugar that we ended up wearing.
Then we walked around and checked out the area. Had a delicious lunch and then took in a carriage tour. While we generally had a nice time I felt on edge. I don't like tourist hotspots, they make me nervous. There are lots of visitors with money to spend and everyone here-- from waiters and vendors to homeless beggars with a dressed up dog-- wants it. I worry about how they will take mine and I feel like everyone is out to trick me. It isn't a good feeling I need to learn to work on.
We walked through the "nice part" of Bourbon Street on our own as well as part of our carriage tour. So on our way back to find our car we walked though the not nice part. I didn't know there were so many strip clubs down there. Now we all do.
After our day in the French Quarter we retrieved Riley and Lily and went for a drive to the Lower 9th Ward. We wanted the girls to try to understand what happened after Katrina. Most of the destroyed homes have been removed but many many empty lots remain, many overgrown with vegetation. Quite a number of homes near the levee have been replaced, however, and the rebuilding looks innovative. Beautiful homes with solar panels and interesting architectural designs.
Plenty of reminders of Katrina remain. We saw many abandoned buildings in various states of decay. Graffiti and rock-smashed windows add another layer of sadness to the reminders of better times. An old elementary school has even left their reader board with the 2005 registration and back to school dates.