2015.12.31 NYE in New Orleans

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We are spending the next few days at our friends, David and Kay.  These are friends we would never would have had if they had not relocated to Tulsa after Hurricane Katrina.  I worked with David for several years, but they are now back home and loving it.  We are grateful to have local hosts who know their way around this town!

We started our day at a local favorite, the Camellia Grill.  They are known for their omelets and when we saw the chili-covered omelet of the guy sitting next to us at the bar, Miles and I had to have one.  When we sat down, the guy sitting next us had eaten a cheeseburger and then the omelet.  He is tougher than we were.  An OSU couple from Tulsa sat down next to us afterward and they were a hoot as well.

Camellia Grill

Camellia Grill

Everyone gets to sit close to their neighbor at the Camellia Grill

Everyone gets to sit close to their neighbor at the Camellia Grill

After breakfast, we parked on St. Charles street and rode the streetcar into town.  We are always a big fan of trying the mass transit when we are visiting other places, and these streetcars are some of the best anywhere.

This street is a popular Mardi Gras parade route.  Note the many strands of beads hanging in the trees where they have been caught.

This street is a popular Mardi Gras parade route. Note the many strands of beads hanging in the trees where they have been caught.

Riding in a New Orleans streetcar.

Riding in a New Orleans streetcar.

One of our main visits today was the WWII Museum.  Didn’t know what to expect other than everybody, including David and Kay, have recommended it.  It was fantastic.  Although we only got to spend a few hours there, you could easily spend the whole day.  And we’d like to on a return visit sometime.

There were entire huge areas devoted to both the Pacific theatre and European theatre and we were able to quickly walk through both.  There is supposedly a fantastic movie, produced by Tom Hanks, but we were unable to get in to see it.

The museum is full of oral histories, videos, diagrams and maps.  There are so many acts of heroism portrayed in the museum but one of my favorites was the American soldier who had 25 Germans surrender to him.  He was promoted to sergeant and received the Medal of Honor.

A typical room inside the museum.  Very elaborate.

A typical room inside the museum. Very elaborate.

The B17 bomber above, named My Gal Sal, had crashed on a Greenland icecap.  It was rescued recently and restored over 12 years by volunteers.

The B17 bomber above, named My Gal Sal, had crashed on a Greenland icecap. It was rescued recently and restored over the course of 12 years by volunteers.

Outside the museum with David and Kay.

Outside the museum with David and Kay.

Miles left our group at the museum and spent most of the remainder of the day with his girlfriend, Peyton, and her mom, Jennifer.  They went on a Swamp Tour together, braving the cold weather on a boat.

They didn’t see any alligators, as the boat driver said they were in hibernation.  Not what they were wanting to hear on a Swamp Tour!

While they didn’t see any alligators, they saw plenty of wild boar on the Swamp Tour.

While they didn’t see any alligators, they saw plenty of wild boar on the Swamp Tour.

After our museum tour, we made our way to the French Quarter.  After just a few minutes, Marissa said, “I am so uncomfortable here.”  There is a reason we are touring the French Quarter during the day!

Hurricanes from Pat O’Briens.

Hurricanes from Pat O’Briens.

We walked up and down many of the streets, going in a few shops, and checking out the revelry.  Of course, the place seemed dominated by OSU and Ole Miss fans, who were in town to soak up New Orleans flavor.

This band attracted quite a crowd at Jackson Square.

This band attracted quite a crowd at Jackson Square.

Standing in front of Jackson Square.

Standing in front of Jackson Square.

The Mississippi River is rising.  Flooding in St. Louis at this time.  You can see that many of the steps are underwater now.

The Mississippi River is rising. Flooding in St. Louis at this time. You can see that many of the steps are underwater now.

We eventually made our way to Café du Monde for beignets and coffee au lait.  This café has been in the French Quarter since the early 1860s and it doesn’t appear that they’re going anywhere soon. Although the lines were long, we sat down quickly.  David attributed this short wait partly to the “Bedell Charm”.  He said that things always work out for them.  I think that is a great attitude and one I might have to steal for my own.

Marissa and her beignets at Café du Monde.  She seemed to perk up after getting her French doughnuts.

Marissa and her beignets at Café du Monde. She seemed to perk up after getting her French doughnuts.

While we were seated and eating, the Sugar Bowl parade had made its way down the street and was passing Café du Monde.  Nothing makes a guy feel at home in a strange place like hearing the Cowboy Marching Band play Oklahoma and Ride ‘Em.

We had great access to watch the parade, by just stepping outside the café, and lining up.  This was one of the best parades I’ve attended.  Marching bands, floats, and beads.  The crowd was amped.

Cowboy Marching Band

Cowboy Marching Band

Pistol Pete on a float

Pistol Pete on a float

A typical float

A typical float

People were stacked up pretty deep along the parade route.

People were stacked up pretty deep along the parade route.

Throw us some beads!

Throw us some beads!

Following the parade, we toured a little more of the French Quarter and then it was time to make our way back to David and Kay’s house.  None of us really had any desire to be in the area after dark, especially on New Years Eve.

Walking through the French Quarter

Walking through the French Quarter

Riding the streetcar with the windows down.  Very pleasant tonight.

Riding the streetcar with the windows down. Very pleasant tonight.

Back at David and Kay’s house, some of group met up with us for NYE festivities.  Miles, Peyton, Jennifer and KK joined us.  We went out to dinner, and then Kay brought out a lot of her Mardi Gras accessories to share with us Okies.  Thank you, Kay!

Miles and Peyton with masks and beads.

Miles and Peyton with masks and beads.

We eventually made our way to Kay’s sister Deb’s house.  Deb lives across the street from Suzette and Barry, and the street between their houses was where the party was at.  There was probably 30 – 40 people there when we arrived, both inside the house and out.  From the moment we arrived, around 10:30pm until well after midnight, they were lighting a constant stream of fireworks.  KK said it was better than Stillwater’s annual fireworks show.  It was BIG TIME.  And as fireworks are not allowed in the city, David summed it up best, “Imagine what it would be like if it were legal”.

KK enjoying NYE champagne.

KK enjoying NYE champagne.

What was the best part of the evening was enjoying the Louisiana hospitality of all these new friends.  They were so quick to welcome us into their homes and share their food and fireworks with us.  Suzette even repeatedly invited us over on New Years Day to eat with them before we made our way to the Sugar Bowl.

A crowd forms outside for Midnight fireworks.

A crowd forms outside for Midnight fireworks.

After the NYE celebration, we made our way over to Deb’s house and took the tour.  All the homes along this area were under 6 feet of water when the levee broke during Katrina.  Once they made it back into the house, the walls were covered in mold and you had to use a mask just to breathe inside.  They have rebounded nicely!

I got to see Deb’s backyard where David and Kay were married.  And also in this backyard was a lemon tree with the largest lemons any of us had ever seen.  Deb insisted we take a sackful or they would just rot on the ground.  Deb claims that these lemons are organic, but how in the world is that possible!

Louisiana Lemon Tree

Louisiana Lemon Tree

What a fantastic day spent in New Orleans.  Thank you to David and Kay, and their wonderful friends, for their Louisiana hospitality!

One thought on “2015.12.31 NYE in New Orleans

  1. David & Kay

    Well, the weekend was a success as we got to see our Oklahoma friends after five years of being away from Tulsa. Miles and Marissa sure have grown up to be two outstanding people. (Congrats to the ‘rents!) We are glad you had fun, we sure did since we are worn out today! Our house is always open to friends and family.
    We are putting away the Orange and Black and now are getting out the Purple, Green and Gold for Mardi Gras!
    Hope the trip back to Oklahoma was safe and you finally get the chance to sleep in your own beds!

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