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