Loraine and I went to New Orleans for a conference and stayed a few extra days to explore the city. Our favorite part of the trip (by far) was the excellent boardwalk at the Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte National Park. It was like Wild Kingdom! While we did not need it, we should note that the boardwalk was entirely handicap accessible. That makes quite an amazing wildlife experience for such a comfortable stroll. Highly recommended!
New Orleans 2005
Click to enlarge...
First Alligator Sighting
Barred Owl, Squirrel, and Loraine
Alligator Up Close
Loraine with Alligator
Canons at Chalmette Battle field
New Orleans from the River
Things we saw
Walking tour of French Quarter (free from National Park Service):
- Degas family home
- William Faulkner (where he wrote his first novel)
- John James Audubon Cottages (where he was a portrait painter who was distracted by watching birds out the window)
- Jackson Square Park
- Signing location of the Louisiana Purchase
- Bourbon street parties and messes.
Snug Harbor Jazz club with Delfaeyo Marsalis quintet
- Beignet's at Cafe du Monde
- Veggie Jambalaya at the Creole Kosher Kitchen
- Creole ratatoullie
- Grits and biscuits at Mother's Diner
- Crunchy grilled French Toast
Walking along the boardwalk trails in Barataria Preserve of John Lafitte National Park:
A drive along River Road and then back into town:
- Dragonflies of all colors (including bright orange, blue, green, and black) and very large sizes.
- A dragonfly catch a long-legged flying insect.
- Huge black woodpeckers with bright red heads.
- Several sitings of two Barred Owls, which hunt in the daytime. One was located nearby a motionless squirrel that look petrified as it clung silently to a branch without moving a muscle.
- Lots of snakes of various sizes and markings.
- A crawfish
- An alligator crossing the trail while walking slowly on land.
- Several alligators lunging to eat, including one at relatively close range.
- 3 small alligators, 3 medium, 1 large, and one extra-large (> 10 feet long)
Paddlewheel boat on the Mississippi to Chalamette battle field
- Matt's second and third crossings of the Mississippi river on a bridge. Loraine's ten millionth.
- Several oil refineries, a Monsanto chemical plant, and three ADM mills that had intricate ramp systems for moving cargo to and from ships docked in the adjacent river.
- A friendly looking neighborhood of very run down houses located adjacent to a refinery on a street ironically named "Profit Street."
- Old plantation houses built in the late 1700's along the river.
- HUGE Oak trees covered in moss.
- Tulane and Loyola Universities near Audubon park.
- Really big houses with gas lamps, intricate cast iron fences, and big Gardens in the Garden District.
- A very large low income housing project located just a few blocks away from the Garden District. No gardens of note.
- A number of houses in the low income neighborhood with signs reading, "Thou shalt NOT kill."
- Empty and full barges
- Cranes moving cargo into and out of ships from Panama, Malta, Russia, and other spots.
- Ranger-led talk on misconceptions people have about the tactics used during the Battle of New Orleans.
- Ramparts and canals where Andrew Jackson defeated the British forces during the Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812, fought on Jan. 8, 1815.
- An old plantation home located on the battlefield, built a few decades after the battle.