Monday, May 07, 2001

Sunday & Monday in New Orleans

Greetings from Austria. Let me tell you about...New Orleans. I'll finish this off (I wrote it on the plane) so I can later get on with telling you about Innsbruck.

Sunday began with a Jazz Brunch at a hotel in downtown New Orleans. It was the type of fancy-schmancy all-the-caviar-and-shrimp-you-can-eat-my-humble-apologies-sir-that-I-put-onions-in-your-omelet-let-me-make-you-another-one buffet that everyone should be able to indulge in every once in a while. The jazz was cool, and the view of New Orleans and the Mississippi from the 11th floor was impressive.

From there, it was a street car ride (neat!) to Jackson Square. The statue of Andy Jackson had been built by the locals prior to the Civil War and then carved with the words "The Union must and shall be preserved" by a Northern general during the occupation of the city. (You tell 'em!)

We attended a special Girl Scout Mass at St. Lous Cathedral. Normally not on my "to do" list for New Orleans, this event featured the older 2 of our hosts' 3 adorable daughters. My mind swam with trite observations. Gee, Catholics really seem to like ritual. Uhh. But nice cathedral, and congrats to the Girl Scouts on earning their Catholicism patch.

Afterwards, it was off to Cafe du Monde, for the famed beignets. Despite somewhat indifferent service, our beignets arrived, and I accompanied mine by some hot chocolate. Mmm. Fried dough goodness. Afterwards, when the 9-year-old was asked by her mother whether she needed to "powder her nose," she pointed out her sugar-covered clothing and said, "But I've already powdered by dress." Aww, how cute.

Monday morning we went off to the Aquarium of the Americas. Despite warnings that it would not live up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I was impressed. If you shaved off the dolphin and sea lion exhibits from the National Aquarium, I think you'd get somnething fairly comparable to the A of the A.

After that, it was a tasty lunch at the Napolean House, followed by a final walk along the river before saying farewell to the Big Easy. An hour-and-a-half drive back to Baton Rouge allowed us to return the rental car ("You might want to check the air in the tires.") and head back to DC.

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