Mardi Gras – Part I   Leave a comment

We prepared our guests for Mardi Gras with an orientation in our Mardi Gras “Bling” tent.

We began our Mardi Gras with a celebration of King Cake and crowned our King and Queen.

Our first introduction to the parades was during the day and, as we found out later, MUCH MORE tame.

We began our city tour with a cemetery tour. Cemeteries in New Orleans are much different than back home. Since they are below sea level, they are buried above ground.

We learned in the Jewish community that their religion requires them to be buried under the earth, so they build up the burial ground as shown below.

Lake Ponchartrain, not a true lake, is one of the reasons for the terrible flooding caused by Katrina. The area around the lake is below sea level and when Katrina pushed the water up the Gulf into the Lake, it caused flooding in New Orleans.

We did a walking tour of the French Quarters to see Pre Mardi Gras.

The first plantation tour was of the Laura Plantation. We started in the lower level where we saw high jugs which we found out were used as refrigerators because these jugs were buried in the ground and kept items cool.

Upstairs we were shown how men and women entered the premises years ago. “Business” was conducted at the plantation. Plantation owners wanted their clients to feel comfortable and at home, so when they had clients call, they brought them into the house through their bedroom. Anyone doing business with the lady of the house, would be brought through her bedroom and anyone doing business with the man of the house, would be brought through his bedroom. A parlor was located in the middle and was kept open so that the breeze could flow through the house.

In the fields, the slave quarters were located. One of them was preserved for our viewing.

Each plantation kept an inventory of their slaves, as it was part of their “worth.” The slaves were priced from $10,000 up to $100,000.

The plantations were basically a city among themselves. There was really never a reason to ever leave them as everything needed for living was located right on the plantation. As a “member of the family” when you were too old and went into retirement, they provided you with a place, but you were also charged rent.

Oak Alley Plantation has an entry way, a quarter of a mile long, of 300 year old Virginia Live Oaks. Plantations would line an “alley” of trees from their front entrance which funneled the cool breeze toward the house. They were quite creative on ways to cool down their homes.

Laura, at age 13, was “invited” by her mother, who was the “President” of the plantation to take over. Laura wanted no parts of the plantation, disgusted at the stories about slavery that she found out were all true. He mother even named the plantation after her to entice her to take it over. Laura finally agreed to take the plantation over after her mother agreed that she could do whatever she wanted as “President” of the plantation. Her decision was to sell it. She moved to St. Louis, where she lived to be over 100 years old!

The World War II Museum was amazing, quite an honor to the men and woman who served. There is simply too much information to list in this blog. But if you decide to visit the museum, start out with the 4-D film and make sure you bring a box of tissues.

The Steamboat Natchez paddlewheeler is a must when in New Orleans. I love the sound of the pipe organ as you wait to board.

There is also some entertainment.

Bet you can’t stand still as long as he can.

New Orleans is not complete unless you have a Shrimp Boil.

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Posted February 18, 2012 by carolnbill in Adventure Caravans, RV, Travel

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