Saturday, February 7, 2009

One of the many balcony parties going on - some are at the Hotels along the strip - others can be rented by private groups.
The buildings are getting decorated for the real start of the parades next Friday.

Another decorative and colorful facade.

No comment needed - the picture tells the story.

The street is buzzing with people - most of the street is closed to traffic which makes it easier to navigate. It is also legal to drink on the streets in the French Quarter as long as you are 21 and as long as you don't have a glass bottle - see below for more on that subject. Many of the bars had no cover charges however you are expected to purchase at least one drink if you are planning on staying or even if you want to use the washroom.

More street action - remember I have not had the time to edit these images so anything goes.

These revelers will throw down beads to those on the street - don't know where that tradition started but it is eagerly awaited.

A Jazz group performs at one of the many open air cafes.

With 2 very large Universities in NOLA - Louisiana State and Tulane and not to forget Loyala there were lots of college aged people in the crowd - there were also a handful of younger kids tagging along with their parents.

These are unedited images from my afternoon and night time in the French Quarter and along Bourbon Street.

I also have video of the action and of the parade - will attempt to get it up on this site after I get back to Vancouver.

The answer to the question posed in my last post is none other than Louis Armstrong.

The following are some of my thoughts of this evening events that I shared with some of my cruising buddies.

Well finished up a very hectic day here in the Big Easy by taking in one of the pre-Mardi Gras parades - one gent told me that this one is usually the most raunchy of the bunch because the others have become too main stream with families etc so morality issues are starting to arise. Hugh crowds lining the street and just about everyone including me had a beer or drink in there hand - I now have quite a collection of decorative beads that rained down on the parade route from the balconies. The Pride parade in Vancouver is a lot more sinful than this one was.

Another gent passing on the street ask me if I liked Coors Light and handed me a bottle of it - had to keep it a little out of sight as glass bottles are illegal on the streets. The price for a large 20 oz glass of suds was $3.00 - if I wasn't so tired after walking all around town I would be tempted to head back out for a night cap - One thing I didn't realize is that St Charles St becomes Bourbon Street when it reaches Canal Street so it was fairly seamless for me to get there.

Tomorrow its time to board the ship - we only have about 30 people on the roll call and only half of those are active so there is no formal meet and greet but an informal one on our first full day at sea.

On a completely different matter it looks like the Canucks are on a roll tonight - last time I checked they were up 6 - 1 and with Calgary winless in February the race could be tightening up in the Northwest Division - most of the scorers for the Canucks tonight are in my fantasy pool so I should pick up a few points.



For the second part of my day I retraced my steps back down to the riverside - found the walkway that I can use as a short cut to the cruise terminal tomorrow - then headed for the ferry "Thomas Jefferson" and the short five minute trip over to the town of Algiers.

After you get off the ferry the levee that is suppose to hold back the water from the River has been renamed the Walk of Jazz Hall of fame - any one know who the good looking guy in the picture is - answer in my next post.

The area around the ferry terminal is a historical district with lots of restored houses - here are a couple of them.

After touring this little part of New Orleans I headed back on the ferry to the downtown core and took in the French Quarter, Bourbon street and a pre Mardi Gras parade - more on that in the next post.



Spent this morning walking around much of the tourist area of downtown New Orleans - two things that impressed me were the streetcars which run on three routes - Riverfront, Canal St and St Charles - I hope to ride them later this afternoon. The other thing was Jackson Square which is in the French Quarter and which is seen in the first image.

Later today I hope to get down and take the free ferry across the Mississippi to Algiers and then complete my tour with more time in the French Quarter - there is a parade there this evening and then it will be off to Bourbon St for a couple of beers and watch the entertainment - saw the cruise ship terminal this morning - it will be a 15 - 20 minute walk tomorrow - will only take a cab if it is raining - there is a chance of some T Storms this afternoon as the clouds are rolling in.

One thing that Vancouver could learn from NOLA is signage - on just about every corner there are either directional or info signs - the main city appears to be clean and well maintained - viewing stands are cropping up every where as the first of the big parade is less than a week away - the area outside the Parc St Charles already has then stands completed.

Also although it is in the warmer climate part of the US - you don't see a lot of people wearing shorts - whether that is tradition or they are waiting for the real warm weather to arrive I don't know.

More later



Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm am too tired and fatigued after two days on the train to do a full report so here is a repost of my comments to some of my cruising buddies on cruise critic.

I made it! Arrived just about on schedule this afternoon and then walked the short six or so blocks to the hotel where the internet is working fine and then it was off for a rekkie of Bourbon St - it sure is something and the idea of being able to legally walk down the street with a beer in your hand and not get arrested is something.

In Los Angeles I never made it to Hollywood as I started walking through the downtown core and came upon the civic theaters like the Disney Hall and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion before heading to the El Pueblo historic district next to Union Station.

Then it was onto the train and the most memorable stop was San Antonio where we had three hours so I toured the area around the Station - being late evening I didn't want to venture too far from the train station which is a pity because I found out from the station manager a half hour before I had to re-board that the Alamo was only 4 blocks away and not the 1.5 miles that someone else told me.

More of the story and some pictures tomorrow



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yesterday the sun came out and I once again got on the bike and went for a ride - the photos you see here are of the Olympic Athletes Village building on the south east shore of False Creek - mired in controversy this project is part of a larger redevelopment of the lands in this area - while I go by the project fairly often the sun is often blocking or obscuring the views - there was just enough cloud cover yesterday to hide the sun but still provide enough light for fairly good photo opportunities. The pictures show the project starting at its western end near the Cambie bridge and then heading eastward to its end at Ontario street with one final view from the walk way at Science World.

Later last night I attended a Chinese New Year's party - over a 100 people and lots of food to eat - I was born in the year of the Pig - if there reading of things is correct I am in for a tough year - financially, health and general living. I was also pleasantly surprised to see my first immigrant host there with his family so I spent a fair amount of time with them.

As for today - just tiding up things and checking the packing list to make sure that I haven't forgotten anything for the trip.

The main picture on the blog is a scene from Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas where I visited on my last cruise in November.

On the home front - the locker project is finished but I won't be here for the allocation of them so when I return I could get stuck with one of the upper ones - wouldn't be to bad if I didn't have a number of larger and heavier items + may need some sort of a ladder to really get into them.

Later today gonna head out to the Legion to join Tom, Walter and some others to watch the Super Bowl and I am taking Pittsburgh to win - there defense should hold off Arizona's offense.

More later