tuba player, new orleans, louisiana. what a well-loved instrument. i went back a few days later, and he was jamming with a flute-playing friend in the same spot. they got the whole crowd of onlookers to sing you are my sunshine and amazing grace, and my love for nola grew three sizes that day.
jellyfish, audobon aquarium of the americas, louisiana. i’m kicking myself for not noting this species, but they were mesmerizing to watch. it wouldn’t be a real vacation for me if i didn’t stop in some aquarium or other. 🙂 i didn’t realize it at the time but this aquarium lost nearly all of their 10,000 fish because of the power loss and generator failures post-katrina. i can vouch for an amazing recovery effort!
french quarter architecture, new orleans, louisiana. royal street is lined with lots of shops and galleries for the tourists, but all i could pay attention to was the buildings themselves, especially above eye level. the building on the left has an example of the cast iron porches constructed through the late 1800s. the building on the right demonstrates the wrought iron that usually predated it.
american alligator, slidell, louisiana. wouldn’t be the bayou without these guys. since it was unseasonably cold, we didn’t see too many gators out. they’re cold blooded, so they tend to pile together in dens to keep warm until the water temperature rises. come april and may though, it’s breeding season, and i don’t think i’d want to be anywhere near a bull alligator in late spring.
front porch in the french quarter, new orleans, louisiana. i think i’d give my left arm to have one of these homes. and i’d sit on the porch with my flowers and mardi gras beads and painted brackets all day. houses in new orleans were taxed based on some silly things, one of which is the number of doors. as a result, many houses have these very tall windows on the first and second floor that you can walk in and out of.
accordion player, new orleans, louisiana. this city s a mecca for musicians, and i found this gentleman playing outside jackson square in the french quarter. in my last hour in nola, i made a point to just sit on the sidewalk and absorb the music coming from every direction.
cajun hot tub, slidell, lousiana. honey island swamp is home to one of the most interesting communities in the south, the cajuns. the name cajun comes from ‘acadian’; these people trace their roots back hundreds of years to the french-speaking people of acadia (part of canada). the culture has contributed much to the fabric of new orleans, from their music and culture to their language. fishing is essential to their way of life, and people park their shrimping or fishing boats right outside their home – which, hopefully, is raised high up on cement or wooden pillars.
honey island swamp, slidell, louisiana. pearl river eco tours took us out on a small boat to experience life in a louisiana wetland. it was stunningly beautiful and quiet, with spanish moss hanging from the trees and glassy water. bald cypress and tupelo gum trees lined the water, and it actually smelled delicious. (go figure.)
louisiana iris, slidell, lousiana. this is the state wildflower of louisiana, and this particular species can grow up to six feet tall. they grow natively in freshwater marshes, swamps, and wetlands. there aren’t many of these flowers left, and our tour guide explained that they only bloom for a couple of weeks in the spring. wetlands are crucial for carbon storage, fisheries habitat, and protection from floods. although louisiana has 40% of the wetlands in the US, they also represent 80% of its losses.