Monday, July 21, 2014

New Orleans -- Monday -- July 21, 2014

Across the street from the Convention Center stands the Scraphouse, made by artist Sally Heller as a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  A shack stands in the branches of a dead oak tree, which is covered with various pieces of debris.  I took the photo from the upper deck of a hop-on, hop-off tour bus. 

Monday morning we walked over to Canal and Royal and caught car 2002 inbound on Canal Street. 

An outbound car passes 2002. 

My wife likes to say I can't pass a "Take One" sign without taking one.  This rack didn't say "Take One," but I took one anyway. 

This sign was on another car.  I'd like to attend that festival some year. 

Stations on the Riverfront line have especially nice signage, although I'm not sure all tourists would guess which direction was inbound and which was outbound.  Inbound cars were headed towards French Market.  I should also mention that all the stations on the Riverfront line have center platforms.  The cars use their left-hand doors. 

Canal Street is Station 6 on the Riverfront line. 

We found a huge crowd at the station, and it kept growing.  Some people said they had been there 30 minutes.  Riverfront service is pretty limited on weekdays. 

While we waited, a HiRail truck went by on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

Another sign at Station 6. 

This sign indicates the point where inbound cars should stop. 

Outbound cars were headed towards the Convention Center. 

Cars from the Loyola line follow the Riverfront to French Market on weekends.  That is the one line I did not get to ride.  Note that riders can text to check for the next arrival. 

I didn't note the car number, but here is the motorman's station at the back of the crowded car.  The T-handle on the left is the combined controller and brake.  Among the buttons on the panel are the ones that open the left- or right-hand doors. 

When we finally reached the Café du Monde, we got in line.  The line always moved quickly. 

Before and after photos represent two orders of beignets.  Visible in the background is a cup of café au lait. 

After breakfast, we went to look for the stop on the New Orleans Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour.  My father always said it was good to take a tour bus around a new city.  It is a good way to learn the lay of the land and see things one might want to explore in more detail.  We caught a red double-decker bus and the driver said we could buy tickets at the Basin Street Station.  We had seats upstairs, but after Basin Street, we had to sit downstairs.  The bus was packed. 

Sitting downstairs turned out to be a good thing because a thunderstorm broke out soon after.  Here is water rushing down the stairs after a stop.  The narrator's helper passed out ponchos.  The narrator recommended two each for the people upstairs, one to wear and one to sit on. 

We liked the narrator and she said the next bus wouldn't be along for 40 minutes or more, so we stayed on the bus.  She talked about the Faubourg Marigny, the Treme, and Black Storyville. 

We decided to get off at Mardi Gras World, which I thought was going to be a tourist trap.  It turned out to be fun and interesting. 

We bought our tickets in the lobby.  They were strings of beads with a jester figure.  The tour led us into a room surrounded by Mardi Gras figures; some of them looked familiar from Disneyland and Downtown Disney.  Guests could put on costumes and hats and pose with the figures. 

We sat down and watched a video about the Mardi Gras season and the many parades.  Then the guide talked about the origins of Mardi Gras. 

We followed her into the studio, where artists were working on figures and decorations for next year.  I think the guide said that Blaine Kern Studios builds the floats for 16 Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, and for many theme parks and other organizations around the world. 

Then we were turned loose in the warehouse, where we could see complete floats and many stored figures, like this one representing "How the Elephant Got His Trunk" from Just So Stories.  Most of the floats belonged to the Krewe of Orpheus. 

When we were done, we found that the rain had stopped.  We boarded another bus and got seats on the upper deck.  We passed the Convention Center and went on past the foot of Canal Street and into the French Quarter on Decatur Street.  We liked the narrator on this bus, so we decided to stay on for another loop around. 

We passed Jackson Square and had a nice view of the cathedral and Andrew Jackson. 

We passed the statue of Joan of Arc next to the French Market.  The narrator said locals call her "Joanie on a Pony." 

We passed the site of Congo Square and then Saint Louis Cemetery Number 1 before we returned to Basin Street Station. 

We passed the terminal of the Saint Charles Avenue line, where we saw car 921. 

We passed car 2003 on the Loyola line. 

We passed car 910 as it went around Lee Circle on the Saint Charles Avenue line.  I went through Lee Circle twice on the streetcars and twice on the hop-on hop-off buses and never saw the statue of General Lee, just the base of the column.  Just as well. 

The Confederate Museum was nearby, in a building designed by William Richardson.  We didn't go so I couldn't say anything unfortunate. 

We would have gone to the National World War II Museum if we had spent another day in New Orleans.  I hope we'll visit again. 

As we toured the Garden District, we passed Louisiana Avenue, where passengers transferred to and from Saint Charles Avenue cars because of track work. 

Some of the track work. 

The Trolley Stop Café. 

Back at the French Market, we got off the bus.  We had dinner at a small place where a jazz quartette was playing.  The saxophone player had a talent.  We both had po'boy sandwiches.  My wife's had fried oysters and mine had shrimp. 

We wandered around the French Quarter for a while.  We saw the Old Ursuline Convent, which is supposed to be the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. 

We liked the buildings in this section of the French Quarter. 

I had to take a photo of one of the funny-looking fire hydrants.  I'm sorry I didn't think to take a photo of the water meter covers.  They were an interesting design that even got made into jewelry. 

The Andrew Jackson Hotel is next to the Cornstalk Fence Hotel. 

We found our way back to the Hotel Monteleone and had a quiet evening because the shrimp po'boy disagreed with me. 

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