Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Open...

Remember a few blogs back, that I said we would come back to this place, The Dew Drop Jazz and Social Club.  Well, the doors and windows are open, and we enjoyed the evening listening to some great music.

The cost is $10.00 which is really a donation.  There are only benches to sit on...nothing fancy, but the place was packed. Of course, you can bring a cushion if you so desire.  The church next door has plates of food to purchase and there is plenty of beverages.

These were the groups playing.  They were very good.  Tom could really play that piano, and Aurora could really play that saxophone and clarinet.  She also sang some really old fashioned songs about the area.  I had never heard them, mostly about the Mississippi.

At 8:00 pm, the New Orleans Jazz Vipers took stage.  They were very good too.  The feet were tapping to the music.

This water feature caught my old french horn, which was located in a yard nearby.

We had a wonderful time and enjoyed some wonderful music.

Until next time...

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's Over...

The government shutdown that is!!!  After 16 days of loafing around, we got back to work.

The first thing we did was put up the interp panels that were taken down with that last threat of a hurricane.  This is out on Lake Road.

A work in progress, I almost forgot to take pictures.  Of course, I was helping with those big signs, holding them in place and making sure they were even, while Wallace was just screwing around! hehe.

The emptiness is now filled and completed after we filled the brochure racks.  Those signs are heavy!!!  Then we went over to Boy Scout parking area and put up three more of them.

The next day, we drove over 200 miles taking care of the Bogue Chitto refuge.  Filling the brochure kiosks at several places around the refuge.  This shot was taken at Walkiah Bluff on the Pearl River where there is a boat launch.

Monday, we were asked to drive the boat back over to Delta NWR.  They had been brought over here to be safe from the storm.  Another 200 plus miles, and driving through New Orleans.  This is just one of the air boats this refuge has.

Let me tell you, it was white knuckling time!!! But we made it through all that traffic without incidence.

We really doubt if we will ever see Breton NWR as it is a long boat ride to get there.  But we did get to enjoy looking around Delta.  Breton is a chain of islands in the gulf.

A very lovely spot to sit and watch the big vessels going by on the mighty Mississippi River.  This is right in front of the entrance to the refuge.

This is Max Latham, who took us out on a boat ride all around the refuge out to the Gulf of Mexico.  What fun...and lots of good birds!!! 

So, we had a wonderful respite, but it is now time to go to work. It really isn't a tough assignment.  We are now replacing some boards in several boardwalks and the guys are helping to install a bat house.  More on that at another time.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Exploring the Northshore

of Lake Pontchartrain.

This is a view of the lake with the causeway in the background.  The causeway was constructed in the 50's and 60's.  At 24 miles long, it is the second longest bridge over a body of water in the world, the connection to New Orleans.

Some more facts about the lake.
  1. It is a brackish estuary.
  2. It is 630 square miles in size.
  3. The average depth is 12' to 14' deep.
  4. It is connected to the Gulf of Mexico.
  5. It is one of the largest wetlands along the Gulf Coast.
  6. The Native American name was Okwata (wide water).
  7. It forms the northern  boundary of New Orleans.
  8. In 1600 B.C., the Choctaw inhabit the northern shore.
Our exploration started in Lacombe on Lake Road.

This is a popular place to wet a hook.  If you want to go fishing...this is the place, very close to where we are located. The road ends at the lake.

We do some of our volunteer jobs here.

Here is part of the Tammany Trace bike path that goes for 31 miles.  It is a rails to trails path. Now all I need are the roller blades I gave up a few years ago!!!  The path links 5 towns along the way.

Our next stop was at one of the refuges in the complex of 8. I think we could use a little pruning here, what do you think?  The woodpecker in the sign is the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, a threatened species on the refuge.

Next on the agenda is Fontainebleu State Park where you can enter for the day at no cost if you are a senior citizen.

It is a beautiful park with grand live oak trees over 100 years old, draped with Spanish moss.

The main reason for stopping here was to spend some time checking out the old sugar plantation where the remaining ruins still stand.

Bernard de Marginy accumulated and lost a fortune in his lifetime, 1785 to 1868.  He was responsible for growing sugar cane and the refinement of sugar from 1828 to 1852.

Mandeville town was owned and developed by him.  

There is a small sand beach and this nice pier to walk out on. We enjoyed a walk on one of the trails where you can still see the effects of Katrina where there no longer was a boardwalk.

It is a very nice state park.

This is a famous little place on Lamarque street called the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall where people come together to listen to jazz.  Louis Armstrong has played here, and the music has been going on since 1895.

The next time the doors are open is October 25, and we plan on being there.

It is the oldest unaltered jazz hall.

Our next stop was in Covington. I have been hearing about muffulettas since we got here and now I want to try one. DiMartino's is the place as this is their specialty.  We both got one and we were not disappointed.

This was it.  It WAS delicious, and what made it so good was the olive salad that you can see on top.  The bread was just right, and tasty too.

Covington is the county seat for St. Tammany Parish (county) where we reside at this time.

There is also a Kohl's store where we stopped to see if I could find a skort.  I found just the right one...denim...for only $9.00!!!

Covington was established in 1813.

Now that our appetite was sated, it was on to Madisonville to explore the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum where we heard about the citizens of New Orleans, during the Civil War, left the city and fled to the northshore because they would not support the Union.

We drove out to get this glimpse of the Tchefuncte Light House.  It is not open to the public, but I was able to get my book stamped at the museum.
It was built in 1837.

This was as close as we could get.

Madisonville was established in 1810.  Many people took the steamboat, The Camelia, across Lake Pontchartrain to Madisonville,  and it seems to be the first place many of them settled. 

In 1803, the United States acquires 828,000 square miles of territory from the French with the Louisiana purchase.

In 1812, Louisiana is admitted to the Union.

We ran out of time so the other towns will be visited another day.

Until next time...


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Crescent City

New Orleans is called the "Crescent City" because of its location  in the bend of the Mississippi.

The Welcome Center was at our exit on Lafayette, so we decided to stop for information.  We then drove down Toulousse  to the parking lot.

From there, everything is really in walking distance.

Our volunteer friends, Mollie and Larry joined us for our outing.  Larry drove, and we had no trouble getting around.

A walk down Rue Bourbon is a must...but doing it in the day light is so much better.  

That is a red light and it was on.  Hum, does this mean something.  Are we in the red light district?

This place was getting ready for Halloween.  Notice the skulls on the balcony.

Then there was Jackson Square. That is Jackson astride his horse with the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the background.

We have all heard of the Battle of New Orleans where the British were defeated in the greatest American land victory of the war.

Yep, there I am biting into a beignet, Louisiana's state donut. Cafe Du Monde is close by, and yes, they are busy.  It did not take long to be waited on.  Boy, are they delicious.  They have been serving these treats since 1860 at the same place in the French Market...and that is the next place we go.

Looking for a mask for my granddaughter, Lindsey.  How does this one look?  Think she will like it?  Oh, look at this hat, that one is pretty cute.

Meet Mollie and we are taking our walk on the River Walk...much longer than San Antonio's.  Behind us is one of the paddlewheelers that will take you on a cruise of the river.  We opted for the free ferry ride across the mighty Mississippi River.

This is Canal Street.  We liked the palm trees that lined the street.

We really enjoyed our whirlwind trip to the "Big Easy" and want to return.

The architecture is eye candy.

Oh, we have so many more pictures, but we will stop with this last one of the skyline from the ferry.  Thanks John for the tip about the ferry!!!  

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another State House

Well, it finally happened...the government is shut down!!!  Monday we were supposed to go to work...we were told to go sightseeing instead.  As volunteers at wildlife refuges, once you are there you get to stay and wait it out.  NO WORK.  Our front gate is closed, only essential staff is present.

So we load up and drive to Baton Rouge to visit the State Capitol. The building was constructed in the 1930's during the time of the Great Depression.  Huey P. Long, the influential governor, convinced the people that a new State Capitol would save the state money because of it's efficient modern structure.

In 1935, as a Senator, he was assassinated outside the Governor's Office where we saw the actual bullet hole in a column on the site.  The story goes, he was going to run for President against Roosevelt and was deemed a threat.

Senator Long was buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.  Looking from the Observation Tower, his statue is pictured on the left in the rectangle.

The entrance has this grand staircase with one step for each of the 48 states listed in order of their admittance to the Union with Texas being admitted in 1845, the same year as Florida.

Here you enter and go through security you are in Memorial Hall.  This view is in the center of the building facing you.

These are the flags of powers that previously ruled Louisiana.  Below are the striking bronze elevator doors that beckon you to the top.

There are two bronze chandeliers, each weighing 2 tons hanging from the ceiling and a bronze relief map of Louisiana on the floor in the center of the room.

This is over the doorway leading into the chamber for the Legislators.  The Senate Chamber is to your left and the House Chamber is to the right. The rooms look almost identical with the Senate being a little fancier at the ceiling.

There are two sets of huge statues that flank the steps. One represents the Patriots and the one on your left is the statue of the Pioneers, men and women of courage who created this state out of the wilderness.

The pelican is Louisiana's state bird and is used extensively throughout the building. The magnolia is the state flower and is used in various places as well.

From the Observation Deck on the 27th floor at 350', the views are spectacular.  Behind me is the mighty Mississippi River.  This State House is the tallest at 450 feet to the top.  

Until next time...