We arrived in New Orleans a couple weekends before Christmas. Before arriving, we decided to stay at a KOA just outside the city because we were not sure what the parking situation would be like in the city (once there we realized that stealth camping would have been easy) . We had a great time bicycling around, eating the famous food, listening to live music and making new friends in the Big Easy.

Our first morning at the KOA was bright and warm, so we decided to try biking into town. There is a bike lane on the top of the levy along the Mississippi river running the 15 miles from the campground to the city, making for a welcoming ride. While getting ready, we met our campground neighbors Helen and Ralph who were also preparing to bike on the levy on their own two Bromptons, so we set out on a four-Brompton ride. The following day Helen and Ralph had us over for coffee in their Airstream with another couple. We had a great time socializing with other travelers, and we may have a little envy for their roomy rig that is big enough to host a small party (and carry a coffee maker big enough to make coffee to share). They posted pictures of the social event on their own blog.

John resting on our ride into New Orleans on the levy-top bike trail.

John resting on our ride into New Orleans on the levy-top bike trail.

Now this is the way to carry groceries!

We spotted this bike on the street. I love this solution to carrying groceries via bicycle!

New Orleans is an artsy town, and some residents really know how to decorate. Houses were festive with decorations, and the French Quarter was full of tourists looking for souvenir gifts. We spent three days walking the French Quarter and surrounding area, and found the city to be very accessible – big enough and a popular enough tourist destination to be lively and fun, but small enough to not be overwhelming, and as a bonus, it is very bikable.

 One fine example of festive decorations, this residence was a believable gingerbread house, complete with gumdrop fence posts and peppermint roof shingles. The walls glitter in the light as you walk by.

One fine example of festive decorations, this residence was a believable gingerbread house, complete with gumdrop fence posts and peppermint roof shingles. The walls glitter in the light as you walk by.

John researched the best restaurant for gumbo, and we went off the beaten track to find Liuzza’s By the Track, where he enjoyed the famish gumbo and signature BBQ Shrimp PoBoy (pictured here).

John researched the best restaurant for gumbo, and we went off the beaten track to find Liuzza’s By the Track, where he enjoyed the famous gumbo and signature BBQ Shrimp PoBoy (pictured here).

 The beer’s served at Liuzza’s By the Track come in glasses so large I almost needed two hands to drink it (the weight is mostly in the thick walls…the contents are just over a pint at 18 oz).

The beers served at Liuzza’s By the Track come in glasses so large I almost needed two hands to drink it (the weight is mostly in the thick walls…the contents are just over a pint at 18 oz).

New Orlean’s has its very own version of a donut called a beignet. We partook of this delicious treat at Cafe Beignet right on Bourbon Street. A live band played Christmas tunes as we sat outdoors enjoying our coffee and beignet.

Louisiana’s state donut is a square of fried dough called a beignet. We partook of this delicious treat at Cafe Beignet right on Bourbon Street. A live band played Christmas tunes as we sat outdoors enjoying our coffee and beignet.

When she learned where we were headed, my mom suggested that I have a hurricane cocktail for her. A concoction of rum and fruit juice, this is just my type of drink!

When she learned where we were headed, my mom suggested that I have a hurricane cocktail for her. A concoction of rum and fruit juice, this is just my type of drink!

Throughout our trip, each time we have been in a city John has wanted to see live music, but somehow it has not worked out. Finally in New Orleans, we made it to see a band. John researched and decided that Preservation Hall is the best place to see music. The venue is a performance hall, so the focus is the music, unlike the bar atmosphere where people are there to drink and talk, not just listen. The band is called simply “Jazz Masters” and performs several times each night. The musicians are great at their craft, but the frequent performance schedule takes its toll. The musicians were visibly bored on stage, checking their watches and seeming not to even hear their colleagues’ solos. While the music was good, the lack of enjoyment on the part of the performers took away from the experience.

Preservation Hall “stage” before the show.

Preservation Hall “stage” before the show.

?? Cathedral, another New Orleans institution.

Saint Louis Cathedral, another New Orleans institution.

Interior of ?? Cathedral.

Interior of Saint Louis Cathedral.

Backside of ?? Cathedral at night; the effect of the light and the statue make a creepy scene.

Backside of Saint Louis Cathedral at night; the effect of the light and the statue make a creepy scene.

 ?? Cemetery; picture taken per my mother’s request to take pictures of a spooky old cemetery.

Saint Louis Cemetery #1; picture taken per my mother’s request to take pictures of a spooky old cemetery.

8 Thoughts on “New Orleans

  1. Sounds like you did New Orleans in style! I used the link to Helen and Ralph’s blog and saw their pics too. I found the shadow of the statue on the cathedral comforting even though I am not keen on established religion. LOVE that gingerbread house but I wondered how many hungry kids the money spent on it could feed. Cafe Du Monde used to sell a beignet mix which I used to make. Having spent some time in N’orluns I can tell you that musicians feed off the energy of the audience in a big way. The best way to do a tourist hub like that is to get pretty trashed and really get into the music, tapping your feet, clapping, whatever. Been to Preservation Hall myself and noted the same thing. I am surprised you didn’t go to any voodoo or Santeria shops. They have all manner of preserved bits and odd items. Who knows what might have found a place in your cooking! 🙂 That red bicycle is bang on! Maybe John can make one for you. Love to you both and Happy New Years!

  2. Rich Lehne on December 31, 2013 at 3:35 pm said:

    This post has answered a burning question: Can you visit cities on your adventure? The answer: You bet!! I love that you are able to research destinations and then actually hit your targets. The food looks fab, as does the hurricane cocktail. Sorry that Preservation Hall was a bit of a disappointment. I’ve been watching the Treme series on HBO, in with the food and music of New Orleans play as big a part in the series as do the people. So much great music. Perhaps when you return, you’ll find the vital music the city is famous for. With luck, that will be long before you revisit any spooky New Orleans graveyards. Keep up the great posts. I know you put a lot of effort into sharing with us stationary friends and family.

  3. So did you bike in and out of the city each day? How long did that take?

    • We biked the first day, about two hours each way. The second day there was a threat of rain and John wanted the van in the city as a refuge, so we drove in. The third day we drove in and took off from there.

  4. maudie engel on January 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm said:

    thank you for getting me my wishes done, cant wait too see for myself, had your hurricane mix on Saturday @ Bobbie & Jim’s for family dinner, was good, not good for diabetes ! lots of sugar . Enjoyed in my own Pat O’briens hurricane glass from Universal in Orlando. Take care & love from mom

  5. What a cool shopping cart bike! I need to get to New Orleans at some point – it seems like a really cool city.

  6. I dream of one day riding on a bike path like that levy. (Sorry I’m just starting to read the posts again ).

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