Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On the road again, we headed south on US 165, then east on US 190. In Baton Rouge, it hooks up with Interstate 10. Baton Rouge is a little over an hour away from New Orleans.

Arriving in New Orleans, we checked into the Ponchartrain Landing RV Resort, choosing a premier site with a water view. In our opinion this is probably the nicest park in NOLA with the most amenities and the friendliest staff. We enjoyed our stay here and will definitely return when we again visit New Orleans. They offer discounted tours accommodations and a shuttle service daily to and from the French Quarter. We chose a combination tour which consisted of a guided tour of the City and a cruise up the Mississippi River on the 265' Steamboat, Natchez, the last authentic steamboat running on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Since the bus tour was 2 1/2 hours and the cruise was over 2 hours, we decided to do the tours separately, the bus tour on Saturday and the cruise on Sunday. We were glad we did as each day gave us time to leisurely walk the French Quarter and have lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes. We even tried a Mufuletta, a Sicilian sandwich of Salami, Ham, cheese and an olive mix. 

Back at the coach, we enjoyed a quick swim in their pool overlooking the river followed by a lengthy soak in the hot tub. We ended the evening with a couple glasses of wine at the bar patio listening to a local band. There's so much to see and do in New Orleans, we were not able to see it all in the four days we were there. We plan on returning later this year, weather permitting, and resume our tour of this fabulous City. The people were polite and friendly and we were amazed at how clean they keep the French Quarter considering how many people and tourists visit daily....

US190 is a well paved two lane highway that takes you past bayous, farms and rice fields. We visited towns like Basile, Eunice and Opelousas on the way. Eventually, US 190 takes you back to Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge.

Here is a nice view of New Orleans across the Mississippi River looking toward the downtown area and the French Quarter. Despite being over 100 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the Port of New Orleans is the fourth largest port in the USA in terms of volume of goods handled.

Checking in at the Ponchartrain Landing RV Resort. The Creole influence in the City of New Orleans allows for the "r" to be ignored in many of their words. Correct pronunciation would then be Ponchatrain, and New A'wlins.

Here is a view from our site facing the water. It was a back in site, but we reversed it and pulled in forward. Running the hookups under the coach was easy and the utilities were well placed, so we didn't have to use any extensions.

As the above picture reflected the view out the front of the coach, the view out the rear was pretty spectacular as well. This was the sunset the first night at the resort.

The resort has the office, bar, dining room and swimming pool elevated above the campground and encompasses a view of the harbor and river. The pool is open on one end and the water then flows into a large pool below adjacent to the hot tub. Large covered porches surround the bar/patio offering views of the water, sunsets and the surrounding area.

No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to the famed French Quarter, the City's oldest neighborhood. Over 10 million people visit this area annually!

We strolled down famous Bourbon Street, lined with bar after bar. Portions of this and several other streets were blocked off for street performers. Similar to the Strip in Las Vegas with the amount of people on foot, the French Quarter differed in the friendliness of the people walking the streets.

The French Quarter is less than one square mile and sits at a mere 3' above sea level. It consists of 85 square blocks and is home to nearly 4000 people. Despite it's relative low altitude, the French Quarter suffered little from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, due to it's location on a delta along the Mississippi River.  Many of the buildings were built in the mid to late 1800s and since 1920 have been protected by law and cannot be demolished and renovations can only be done based on a very strict basis.

Tourism is huge in New Orleans amounting to over $5.5 billion annually. This was an open air market at the north end of the French Quarter. We did our share in stimulating the economy of the City of New Orleans.

This is the steamboat Natchez. We boarded here for a two hour plus cruise up the Mississippi River. It was an entertaining trip complete with jazz musicians and the steamships famous Calliope. Dinner was available as well as many different types of beverages. I was able to tour the engine room as well.

The huge dining room amidships of the steamer featured a buffet style meal of southern style potatoes, meat, seafood and salads. At the far end of the dining room where the wheel is visible was a stage for the musicians who played while you dined.

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