Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Orleans

We did a city tour of New Orleans - found out a lot about Hurricane Katrina and the destruction she left behind. There are 300 square miles of land in New Orleans - only 180 square feet is dry liveable land - 140 sf was flooded during the storm...

Not a great picture but this is an example of some of the houses left standing from the storm.
These are part of the "Brad Pitt development" - he is building an entire neighborhood of green houses in the lower ninth ward. There are tshirts throughout town that say "Brad Pitt for Mayor."

An example of one of the blocks in the Lower Ninth ward - there are some houses that are being lived in - we also saw some Fema trailers. They are waiting for the census to confirm but they believe about 185,000 people haven't moved back to New Orleans since the storm.

This sign just made me of the problems in these neighborhoods is that many of the restaurants and stores haven't returned to the area.

Notice the marking next to the lower part of the door - this is how the rescuers kept tract of who had been checked on after the storm. The top part of the X is the date - to the left is who the group that did the searching was (so many out of state rescue teams came in they had to keep track somehow) - to the right is the notation NE for no entry (they knocked on the door but didn't go in - most likely because it was too flooded) and the bottom part is saved for how many people were found either alive or dead.

This is the City of the Dead Cemetery. This cemetery is for "the middle class" - the majority of New Orleans is Catholic so there are many different cemeteries in town - all based on income.

This is called "poor mans row" - a person leases one of the boxes big enough for a coffin for a period of 5-10 years. Once that time is up that persons family can continue the lease or give it up - if they give it up the funeral home takes the body out of the coffin and pushes it to the back of the grave - and then leases it to another person!

Here is an example of a nice family cript - there were 8 names on this one. Our guide told us most of these fit about 6 people and when they needed more room they would take the bodies out of the coffins and stack them (usually in body bags) in the corner. He also said a cript like this one if upwards of $60,000.

It was difficult to read the script on this one - but there were fresh flowers next to it...

This is one of many levees we saw in the city - there were 33 breaches in various levees around town. New Orleans was 80% flooded, four of the surrounding Parishes had 100% flooding.

I just love this live oak and how it drapes over the streets.

The French Quarter in New Orleans...

The French Quarter with downtown (aka "the American section) in the background.

We went to a Christmas parade in New Orleans - it was a lot of fun. There must have been 5 marching bands.

Here is one of the many floats - all of them were throwing beads (notice the kids - this was a pg parade!). :)

Gotta love the Elvis Santa's!

Some of the many beads we got...

Just for you Saint's fans!

One of the many bands we stopped and listened to - they were great.

This was a group of motorcycle riders who kept going up and down Bourbon street waving at everyone (this wasn't during the parade).

Another beautiful building in the French Quarter.

This is Jackson square, the St Louis Cathedral is the middle building. This is about in the middle of the French Quarter but right on the waterfront.

On this block many tour guides line up to offer their tours - and on the fence behind them are artists selling their goods.
We would love to come back to New Orleans and stay in the city - we never felt that we were in danger within the tourist areas and we loved watching all of the different people of different cultures. We heard 5 different languages being spoken in one day.

The mighty Mississippi...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Saturday afternoon we decided to drive down to Savannah - about a 2.5 hour drive. Downtown was very busy with a Christmas festival going on - and a snowball fight going on! We thought this was very ironic...notice the kids bundled up (it was about 60 degrees).
Snow - Southern style...

One of the beautiful buildings in Savannah.

some of the beautiful old brick work in town...

Many of the homes have the same facade over the brick that was done back in the 1800's. During that time brick was considered to be only for the lower class - so the wealthy had the brick covered with cement - and paid to have it shaped like stone.

The Savannah River - notice the bridge is the same style as the one in Charleston - we noticed a lot of similarities in the to cities.

One of the many squares in Savannah - each one has a small city park in the middle.

A beautiful cathedral in Savannah - can't remember the name...

We went on a walking tour Saturday night - it was a combination pub crawl/ghost tour. It was a lot of fun to listen to the ghost stories (this is one of many haunted hotels we walked by) and even more funny to watch our fellow participants get more intoxicated as the evening went on...
We are leaving here tomorrow and heading towards New Orleans - hopefully it will be an uneventful trip - we will post more next week (I promise!)

This Weekend minus Savannah

Here is what we did the rest of the weekend - except for Savannah pictures. This bug was huge! I've never been one to be scared of bugs but ugh!! By the way - the knife is there to show it's size - not because we killed it! This afternoon we rode around Charleston on our bikes. It was a beautiful day - around 70 degrees and no wind.

I think we put 7 miles on the bikes - not too far and it was a great way to see a beautiful city. The old buildings in this town are amazing - they have done a wonderful job of restoring them.

This is part of the marina - Scott made me promise that if we ever win the lottery I will let him get a boat...

On Saturday morning we drove out to the Charleston Tea Plantation. It's owned by the Bigelow family, they are the only tea plantation in North America that grows and packages all of their tea.

We learned that three types of tea -Black, Oolong and Green all come from the same plant - the difference is how long the tea leaf is oxidized after it's harvested. This big machine is the harvester - it skims along the top of the bushs to cut off the newest growth. One tea plant can last 50-70 years - producing tea the entire time.

One of my favorite parts of the South is the big over hanging trees everywhere. It's so pretty when it is over the road. This isn't the best of pictures but I think it give the general idea.

Michael had friday off so we went golfing! We are all really bad golfers but we had a great time...the weather was beautiful and the course was right on base so we got to see where Michael works. I forgot my camera so I only got one picture...

Fort Moultrie & Fort Sumter

We've been seeing a few tourist destinations in between visiting with Michael and taking care of other business. Here is a picture of the Charleston harbor - that's the Arthur Ravenal bridge in the background.
This picture is taken from Sullivan's Island - it's of the intracoastal waterway but if you look closely in the background you can see the same bridge as in the picture above.

Downtown Charleston from the water side.

Fort Sumter - there are two forts at the entrance to Charleston harbor - this one requires a boat ride to it. The second one is Fort Moultrie and it's on Sullivan's island.

The first shots of the civil war were fired here in 1861 - the Union army held the Fort for 34 hours before surrendering to the Confederate army. The Confederate's held the fort for 4 years until the end of the war.

When the Fort was first built the walls were 50 ft high at low tide.

These 1/2 circles were where the gun turrets sat and moved from side to side.

This is Fort Moultrie (on Sullivan's Island) looking over from Fort Sumter. My camera was on max zoom.

The original fort was built in 1776 - Palmetto logs where used for the walls and reportedly the British bombs bounced off the fort.
The fort has been rebuilt several times over the years but has not been used as a post since the 1960's.