The South Coast, New Orleans and New Friends

So I’m way behind in my blogging.  I’ll try to bring things a little more up to date with this blog and then I’ll maybe catch up on the next one.

When I last posted we were arriving at Wolf River RV park in Pass Christian, Mississippi.  Thursday was a bit of a relaxing day.  After lunch we drove to the beach at Long Beach.  That is just a little east of Pass Christian.  US 90 travels all along the coast from where we are to Biloxi to the east.  The beach on one side and homes and businesses on the other.  It’s interesting to see all of the newer construction (especially homes) being built on stilts.  After hurricane Katrina went through many of the buildings were destroyed.  If not by the winds, the storm surge was so strong and high it knocked over most everything.  There are still some older homes that withstood that storm, but most of them were on raised areas.  There are some beautiful homes all along the coast.  We stopped at a beach near Gulfport and Kim and I walked the beach for a while to do a little beach-combing.  It was a beautiful day and the wind was from the north so the water was very calm.  Kim managed to find a few things but there was no beach glass to be had.  If you are in this area at some point be sure to spend some time along the shore.

We decided to venture into New Orleans on Friday, so we headed out relatively early.  It took about an hour to drive into the city.  The traffic wasn’t too bad on the way in.  Parking is at a premium in the city, especially near the French Quarter, and that is where we were headed.  I had tried to read up on the parking ahead of time so I knew approximately where to go.  We found parking along the river within a relatively short walking distance to the quarter and parked in a compact car spot.  We made sure we weren’t hanging over the lines designating the short space.  If you decide to park close to the Quarter be prepared to pay quite a bit for parking.  It cost us $35 to park for 3 hrs.  If you go over your time or you are parked in a no parking zone there are many parking attendants who are quick to give you a ticket. Your ticket will include a boot being applied to one of your wheels.  They don’t seem to tow vehicles very much.  But the boot is a quick money grab for them.  To have the boot removed you must call a number on your ticket and they will remove it for $98.  When we arrived back at our car we had about 10 min left and there was an attendant busily issuing tickets and putting boots on wheels.  We heard him on his radio letting his people know he had just placed 17 boots on in our little area alone.  There were going to be a lot of unhappy people when they returned to their cars.  A full sized pickup was parked next to us and his was also a compact car space.  I noticed his boot was on.  So if you park in New Orleans be aware of the parking police.  There are some alternatives.  There are parking areas further away where you can leave your vehicles and take transit in to the city but of course they are a little less convenient.

So enough about parking.  We toured around the French Quarter for our time there.  It was a Friday but it was very crowded.  On the main streets it was wall to wall people.  We walked along Decatur St. which is the street that runs close to the River.  There are lots of shops along here as well as restaurants.  This is also where you will find Cafe du Monde which is popular for its Beignets.  We wanted to try some of them but there was a long line of people waiting to get in so we passed it by.  We walked along some of the side streets and checked out the buildings.  There are some really nice historic buildings in the Quarter.  Many with balconies overhanging the streets.  We also walked along the famous Bourbon St.  This is mostly all bars with a few eating places as well.  I know this is a popular area for visitors to New Orleans, but we found it very unsavoury, dirty and smelly.  Once down the street and we were done. 

There is a parklike area in the Quarter called Jackson Square and there were lots of artists displaying their wares and also some buskers.  Right next to the square is a Tobasco Country store and we did go in to look around and buy a few items including some Tobasco Louisiana Steak Sauce for our friend George Yates.  There was a jazz band playing near the square that was very good.  It looked like it might have been a family group.  There was a Sax, Trombone, Tuba and Drums.  They played real dixeland jazz and they were good. 

Before we left the quarter we did manage to try some beignets.  We went to Cafe Beignet..  The line at Cafe du Monde was still very long.  The line at Cafe Beignets was much shorter but it still took 45 minutes to get in and sit down.  Beignets are a square donut-like pastry covered in powdered sugar.  They were good but not what I was expecting.  Our parking time was just about up so we went back to the car and headed over to the Garden District.  Our impression of the French Quarter when leaving was a little meh.  Not real impressed.  We’re glad we went and saw it and some of it was nice, but overall it didn’t live up to all the hype.

The Garden District is fairly close to the French Quarter and is known for the large old homes that line the streets.  We had a walking tour map that we got at the visitor centre in the Quarter and so we toured around the neighbourhood on foot.  In the centre of the Garden District is an old cemetery that is surrounded by a high wall.  As were arrived they were closing the gates for the day so we didn’t get a chance to walk around in the cemetery.  I took a couple photos through the gate.  The cemetery is filled with large family crypts.  These are very old and this cemetery was used by the former affluent residents of the district.  The homes in this area are beautiful.  This is a must see in New Orleans.  There are many different architectural styles and they are all very unique.  Very Nice.  We spent about an hour and a half in the area.  Oh and the parking here is on the street and its free for 2 hours.

So that was our day in New Orleans.  I had hoped to see the ninth ward which is where the brunt of the damage from the levees breaking during Katrina was felt.  But we had run out of time, so maybe if we’re here again we will see that.

We met a couple here in the RV park one afternoon.  Brad and Shelley were their names.  They stopped by one afternoon and we chatted together for quite a while.  They are from the Gulfport area and live in their 5th wheel full time.  They stay here in this park in the winter and then head north in the summer when it gets very hot here in the south.  They returned a little later in the afternoon and invited us on the back of their golf cart for a little ride along the river.  It was a short ride back to an area with a small beach where people like to have campfires and such.  During our conversations Kim asked them where the good local places are to eat and they gave us some suggestions.  Its always nice to ask local people where they like to eat cause you know they are the good places.  They actually invited us with them for lunch the next day at a small local restaurant.  We went to Martha’s with them.  It’s only open for lunch during the week and lunch and dinner on the weekends. Each day they have a different special.  Today the special was Red Beans and Rice.  Kim loves red beans and rice.  The restaurant was fairly small but large enough for probably 40 people or so.  It was almost packed.  And we were probably the only non locals there.  Martha’s probably doesn’t show up on search engines like yelp or trip advisor.  But the food was great.  Kim had the rice and beans and I was unadventurous and had a BLT with fries.  There are a fair number of choices on their menu with some southern dishes in the mix.  Probably one of the best places we’ve eaten at on this trip.  Thanks Brad and Shelley for inviting us.  We spent another evening with Brad and Shelley around their campfire.  Southern hospitality at its best.

We went to the beach a couple more times during the week but none of the other days was as nice as the first.  The winds were blowing in from the gulf and the water was rougher and the winds stronger. We did stop at the Visitor’s Centre near the Lighthouse in Biloxi. This place is very nice. There is a display inside that gives some history of the area and talks about the damage done by Hurricane Katrina. It is well put together and worth seeing. When we entered the Visitor’s Centre we signed the guest register and listed our home city. As were walking around inside a fellow walked past me and I said “Hi” like I normally do. A few minutes later he walked past again and said… “Are you from Ingersoll?” He told me that when he signed the register he noticed our names from Ingersoll and when he walked by and I said “Hi” he knew that I was probably the one from Ingersoll. He said no one around here says “Hi” like that. LOL. This guy was from Otterville, Ontario about 20 minutes from Ingersoll.

Of course we couldn’t leave the area without going out for a catfish dinner one more time.  As we did on the way west back in January, we went to Jenny’s Catfish restaurant in Ocean Springs, east of Biloxi.  Kim had catfish and this time I had the Southern Fried Chicken.  Both were excellent.  The portions were quite large so we had leftovers to take with us.

Hope you enjoyed this belated post. I’ll try to bring it up to date on the next installment.

12 thoughts on “The South Coast, New Orleans and New Friends

  1. georgeyates

    Glad you enjoyed the area, New Orleans, Thanks for the steak sauce, I had a bottle but broke it. The Garden district is quite interesting . We have toured the French Quarter quite a few times first time just after Katrina.Interesting on Bourbon Street, some of the back alley bars etc. Not as nice as it used to be though. We were told a spot that we could park for 7 bucks a day not far from Bourbon st. can’ t remember exactly where though. The devastation there and area 9 was pretty bad. Biloxi as well just after Katrina first time and still lots of ruins from the old mansions.
    Keep on enjoying your travels and soon home.

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    1. I’m glad we saw New Orleans. It was on the todo list. It has taken a long time to recover from Katrina but much of the area looks like they’ve recovered fairly well. The Coast is still quite nice.

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  2. Skay kay

    Nice tour of New Orleans, we went through once and kept going..so I like seeing it through another’s eyes! Too many people. The Garden District looks beautiful though. How nice again to meet people and enjoy their company for a bit. We made a trip through Biloxi and Gulfport to hit a restaurant we had seen on Diner’s Drive In’s and Dives..was good but now it’s closed 😦 Your food looks delicious! Were those chcolate beignets? We are having a disagreement about what kind they are ….hahaha..Thanks for the update!!

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    1. We’ll really liked the coast. The beach is very clean and goes for miles along the coast. I think we were a little surprised by that. When I think of soft white sand beaches along the gulf I normally think of Florida, but these beaches were very similar to Florida’s. Yes, there were a lot of people in New Orleans. I can only imagine how crazy it must be during Mardi Gras. I was expecting they would be apple beignets but I think they were just pastry.

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  3. Enjoyed reading your update. Sounds like you two had a really nice time visiting New Orleans and the area you were at along the gulf in general. The Garden District in New Orleans sounds beautiful and thanks for the information about parking in the French Quarter. Sorry to read, no sea glass was found. It is always nice to connect with people and enjoy their company along the way. Great pictures.
    Take care.

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  4. prichie

    New Orleans is on our bucket list as well, possibly next fall on our way west. Your tips and information is helpful and we’re like you – we’d like to at least see it for ourselves. The Garden District would be my cup of tea, those homes and gates etc. are awesome!
    Love the picture of the two of you, I’ve saved it in my folder. 🙂 Can’t stop me!
    It was great seeing you here at our park and look forward to our next encounter.
    Thanks for the update, now that you are home, you have no excuse!

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    1. It was great seeing you and Bill and Rob and Pat again. Now that we’re home we have some things to get caught up (I suppose including my blog). And soon the nice weather will be back and we’ll be out in the MH again. Looking forward to meeting up this summer.

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  5. Deb

    You are in some of my favourite areas in the southeast. Parking in New Orleans has always been an issue for the almost 25 years I’ve visited. At the end of Canal Street there is parking for trucks and cars that are common in size. It was about $9 per hour last time I was there 3 years ago. The boot thing is new though. The Quarter is enjoyable at most times of the day except the morning when they are hosing the streets down. The night time is always fun, lights, music, folks just having a good time. The Garden District can be visited by using the trolley as well. You don’t have to drive and can ride the line there and back again. Bumpy, still a nice way to visit the district.
    Jefferson Davis House is always a nice visit in Gulfport/Biloxi, as is the Friendship Tree on the University Campus. No visit to the Gulf Coast is complete without a walk on the beach at Bay St. Louis. Just a beautiful little spot. Of course Mardi Gras Parades are fun to see when the season is right. Glad you enjoyed your time there.

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    1. Yes we really enjoyed our time along the coast. It’s funny that we hear so much about New Orleans but there is so much more to the coast than that. Still some things for us to see in the area. We will definitely return.

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