Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Just thought I'd drop off another quick note before I head out for the day. The last few days have been overcast and cooler (but still in the mid- to high teens), but today is supposed to be back up to 24^C, so I don't want to miss out.

Yesterday, I got up and ran from the house here in the Garden District to Tulane University campus and Audobon Park. St. Charles Ave. is the main drag through MidTown, and it is simply gorgeous. There are huge magnolias and oaks lining the street, and the old-fashioned streetcars run up and down it from the French Quarter to the Universities (Tulane and Loyola). Most of the nicest examples of southern colonial style homes line the avenue as well, and they are all decked out for the holidays. The area where I'm located is between Downtown (the Central Business District and the French Quarter), and Uptown (at the universities and further west). It is south of St. Charles and an area along Magazine St. which is quite similar to Inglewood.

The directions north, south, east, west are meaningless here since the city is build on the curve of the Mississippi River and the streets turn in a fan pattern with it accordingly. The directions are Downtown, Uptown, Riverside (obvious), and Lakeside (towards Lake Ponchartrain). It's getting a lot easier to travel around once you get used to the lay of the land.

But I digress. After my run, I got home, changed and ate and headed back down to the Quarter to do some more souvenir shopping. I ended up in the Cabildo, which is a historic building now housing the Louisiana State Museum that dates back to the late 1700's. It's where the Louisiana Purchase was completed between Spain and France in 1803, and then between France and the U.S. 21 days later. Lots of War of 1812 ("The Battle of New Orleans" in 1814) and the Civil War information. The region has a fascinating history. I ended up spending about 3-4 hours there. I got back and ended up being a loser and renting a movie for the evening.

Today I either want to head Lakeside to the City Park where the New Orleans Museum of Art is, or head back downtown to the Confederate Museum and the D-Day Museum. I'm pretty much tourist trapped out, and have most of my souvenirs bought. I was considering going out for one last time tonight on Bourbon Street, but I might pass on that.

December 7th was the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, so the D-Day Museum hosted a huge event with parades, etc. There were jet fighters and bombers flying over the city all afternoon. I'm sure the Americans found it all very wonderful, but I found it sort of unnerving. There is also a huge aircraft carrier docked at one of the piers downtown that I've taken about a thousand pictures of. Very impressive piece of engineering.

I guess I'll take a bunch more pictures today, and that will pretty much finish up the trip from a image perspective. I'm trying to write down everything I do so I don't forget anything.

I don't think I'm going to have time or money to go on the Riverboat ($$$) or on a swamp tour. Apparently it's pretty off season to see any critters in the bayou, so I may have to go back to the Audobon Zoo at the Park to see some local flora and fauna. The amount of squirrels around here is ridiculous though. There as plentiful at gophers back home. And everyone owns at least one dog down here, while all the cats you see are strays. Weird....

Anyways, gotta go. I see the temperature is supposed to be -15^C when I get home...great.