Travel Journal Entry, Part 2


Like my fellow Americans, I've been watching the news footage of Hurricane Katrina's destruction with sadness. The losses in the beautiful city of New Orleans (and the rest of the Gulf Coast) are devasting. Let's hope our country is able to help rebuild a city with as much charm and grace as it had before the storm. Here is what I loved about New Orleans on my first and only visit.

New Orleans, Louisiana

After 19 hours and 5 states we FINALLY got off the train! Amtrak's The City of New Orleans transported us from Chicago to New Orleans overnight and although we're on firm ground now, I still feel like I'm moving. The city is beautiful and more exotic than I imagined. Here are the highlights.

+ porches in the French Quarter with their incredible lattice work, high ceilings and French doors
+ white and coral colored magnolias
+ the trollies snaking through the Garden district
+ savory shrimp etoufée at Napoleon House
+ the elaborate Mardi Gras costumes and krewe floats at the city's museum
+ the expansive river views - the Mississippi is so narrow in northern Minnesota that you can walk across it
+ the kind, friendly people with soft accents
+ the stagnant swamps and seeing my first alligator
+ seeing the real-life streets of my favorite James Bond movie, Live and Let Die
+ eating muffuletta sandwiches from Central Grocery on the train back to Chicago; everyone was jealous because the olive salad in the sandwiches stunk up the whole car.

Ann, Sep 1 2005 2:58PM

I have never been to New Orleans and now wish that I had before Katrina. I feel like I've really missed out on a rich experience.

Sue, Sep 2 2005 4:52PM

I'm wondering what happened to Preservation Hall? Anyone heard anything? I was also on this trip. I remember the strong distinction between rich and poor there then... it's even more pronounced with Katrina now.

Carol, Sep 12 2005 11:42AM

I loved the food. we were in a little neighborhood bar getting pohboys - and I asked for a beer. the waitress drawled "weve dixie, dixie light and dixie in a can".
i opted for dixie in a can.

mark, Sep 12 2005 7:46PM

looks like preservation hall was spared. the band also escaped, some taking longer than others. according to the ny times they recently assembled in new york

Sandie, Sep 13 2005 3:59PM

I forgot to add Dixie to my list! We were staying at a hotel with a view of a watertower (or silo of some sort) painted to look like a Dixie beer can.

Diane, Sep 14 2005 8:29PM

Count me in on those mourning the New Orleans of old. I loved the Garden Disrict, Audubon Park, the Cafe du Monde, Brennans (best Eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys ever) and Chez Helene's which was the ultimate soul food experience. Chez Helen's was under more than 10 feet of water as best I can figure. I worry and wonder about the fate of the Audubon zoo. Has anyone heard how the animals fared?

Rusty, Sep 14 2005 10:34PM

For info about the Audubon Zoo.

Heather, Sep 18 2005 5:25PM

I too wish I'd gone to visit New Orleans before the hurricane. It sounds like it was such an amazing place to experience. I'm reading a book now called Strapless that tells the story of the subject from John Singer Sargent's famous Madame X painting. I haven't gotten very far, but 1850s New Orleans plays a prominent role in the beginning of the story, and I find it fascinating.