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New Orleans definitely has a character all its own.  Cajun & Creole country but most say there isn't much difference between the two anymore (folks down there may differ).  All I know is I found Cajun & Creole food fantastic and I order some of the mixes online from down there all the time. A seafood gumbo, a cajun sausage jambalaya, seafood stuffed eggplant with crawfish sauce, you name it, I loved it all...

 

It's an area of bayous (swamps)....

 

...and many of the shops are something else!....

 

It's also a pretty town...

 

It's a city of many shops...

 

... I did say "something else, didn't I?...

 

Down by the French Quarter on the waterfront

 

The above ground burial vaults are bizarre.  The water table is too close to the surface to bury 'em in the ground. Also, see all the names on EACH vault on the one at the right? That's how many people are in each!  With the prevailing heat & humidity there's what's called the "year & a day" law.  You remove the front, slide the person in, plaster it over - then, you MUST wait a year and a day before putting another one in.  By then decomposition is fairly complete and you simply push the bones to the back (with the others) and slide a new one in, for another year & a day. IF, you need to bury someone before then you'll have to use another (or someone else's with permission) vault and wait the year & a day before transferring the remains to yours.  I know it sounds strange to us but that's the way it's done down there....

 

Swamps...lots of em...

 

There are lots of swamp tours available. Probably because there a heck of a lot of swamps... Big boats (like ours), small fast boats like the one below...  Our guide was not only raised in these swamps but he also has a degree in marine biology.  He was very informative and had many weird tales to tell....

 

Carol & Gary hold 'gaters! By the way if you hold em just like we are they are "immobilized" i.e. no wiggling whatsoever....

 

Plantations are all over the place too...

 

Oak Alley plantation is the one we visited and is one of the more famous ones. 

 

View of the front

 

View from front towards the river

 

These huge oak trees running towards the river are 300 years old, they were planted 150 years BEFORE the plantation was built.

 

Closer look at a 300 year old oak...

 

Closer look at a 150 year old oak to the back of the plantation..

 

Note: The grainy/washed out look of the inside below is because NO flash was allowed and the rooms had very little light...

 

Our tour host, she had the cutest southern drawl...

 

The Master bedroom

 

Other rooms, there were lots in this place...

 

AND, New Orleans would not be complete without..

 

Carol - The Cajun VooDoo Queen!

 

All decked out in her Mardi Gras mask & beads plus an authentic voodoo doll in her hand.  Note that in the pic on the right she is holding #24 Jeff Gordon beads around the voodoo doll and putting a curse on him and in her left hand is a small alligator head...    I sure wouldn't mess with her...

 

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