The Big Easy -- My favorite Southern city and a great place to begin a Caribbean cruise. Daughter and Son(-in-law, but also -in-heart) vacationed with us this time and, because he's never been there, it was a true pleasure to introduce him to this grand city.
and enjoyed street performers
(This fellow won my heart with Beatles tunes);
visited beautiful Jackson Square, heart of the French Quarter;
New Orleans breakfast -- Cafe du Monde cafe au lait and beignets with snow caps of powdered sugar
(Don't inhale and don't sneeze when you're about to take a bite! And don't wear black!);
and walked the riverside alleyway from Cafe du Monde to the French Market, complete with statuary and just the way I remember it despite Hurricane Katrina's attack. That wall to the left of the photo is the flood levee which secures the area from Mississippi River flood waters.
Mardi Gras beads and broken bottles embedded atop courtyard walls
suggest that life in the
French Quarter is an uneasy
mixture of partying and threat
of criminal activity.
Even the sidewalk water meter covers are decorative in the Crescent City! (This one's for you, Pat!).
In the French Market, vendors had jewelry pendants and earrings which replicate these famous meter covers.
And I couldn't resist photographing my favorite New Orleans ladies -- not "of the night" -- I mean the wonderful French Quarter architecture that is the soul of the Quarter. Most display Mardi Gras finery this time of year:
Time to leave the French Quarter, though, and board our ship -- Norwegian Cruise Line's "Spirit." Just one last reminder of our embarkation port, though -- the paddle-wheeler Natchez gliding along the Mississippi:
Next stop: the vast, blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and our first port of call -- Costa Maya, Mexico!