Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Louisiana - Wish List

In the last post, I talked about my trip to New Orleans and the cuisines and styles of music from around the world that have blended together to make up present day Louisiana.  This post is a listing of other places around Louisiana that I’d like to go and visit.

One tour I’d love to go on is the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler in New Orleans.  A Mississippi River Cruise on a paddle wheeler would be the New Orleans experience, I bet!  Floating along what they call the Delta area with the plantations along the mighty Mississippi would be fantastic.

A friend visited the World War II Museum in New Orleans earlier this year and the pictures looked awesome.  There are so many planes there from the WWII era.  It was definitely not a stuffy old museum.  It seemed new and very interactive.  They even have a soda shop.
I’d like to visit the cemeteries of New Orleans like the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 or the Metairie Cemetery.  According to the Save Our Cemeteries website, the water-logged, swampy soil that New Orleans is built on makes digging more than a couple of feet impractical.  This gruesome revelation was made soon after the city’s first cemetery was established on St. Peter Street just inside the current French Quarter.  Graves started popping to the surface with a grim “Hello” and bodies floated down the street when it flooded – which was often.  The solution was to avoid burial altogether and house the dead in above ground tombs.  St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest cemetery in the city and was established by the Spanish in 1789.  Many of the city’s first occupants and notorious personalities are entombed here.  Visitors over time have left behind various offerings or tokens at the New Orleans’ cemeteries and I think that would be interesting to see.
While in southern Louisiana, you have to stop by Avery Island and tour the famous Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory.  It’s only a $1 toll to enter the island and they have factory tours of the Tabasco Sauce bottling Monday – Thursday.  While on the island, tour the 170-acre jungle gardens to see a variety of exotic plants and wildlife.
To get the real Louisiana experience, you’ll want to take a swamp tour and see some alligators.  It seems like a unique experience through the bayous and swamps seeing all the swamp creatures.  It reminds me of the History Channel’s show “Swamp People” that my parents love to watch.  It just seems a little crazy to me, but I love to hear their Louisiana accents.

Leaving New Orleans, I’d love to take the Great River Road along the Mississippi River.  717 miles of it is in Louisiana, and it takes you past rural towns, historic sites, Antebellum homes and plantations, the state capital, and the history of the Louisiana Purchase.  All I’ve seen online are beautiful pictures along this road trip.

One of the plantations along the Great River Road is the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, which is nicknamed the Grand Dame of the Great River Road and perhaps is the most photographed plantation in Louisiana.  It has a restaurant on the grounds that offers a menu of traditional Cajun and Creole dishes. 
Another beautiful plantation that I found online is the Nottoway Plantation Resort in White Castle.  It’s the south’s largest remaining antebellum mansion.  You can also spend the night there.  Information on eight other magnificent plantations can be found at the New Orleans Plantation Country website.

Also, along the Great River Road, be sure to visit the state capital, Baton Rouge, which has the tallest capitol building in the USA at 34 floors.  They have an observation deck on the 27th floor that overlooks the city.  From the overlook, you’re able to see the capitol’s rose gardens, Louisiana State University, and the mighty Mississippi River.  Even better is the free admission. 
In my research, I found a town that I’d love to go visit.  Natchitoches is the oldest town in Louisiana, established in 1714.  Located in the northwest part of the state, “Steel Magnolias,” was filmed there.  The town also has bed & breakfasts, two plantations, and Fort St. Jean Baptiste.

These are just the places I visited or would like to go and visit in Louisiana.  If you know of anywhere else in Louisiana we should check out, please leave a comment below.  Next, we’ll explore what’s just round the corner in Maine.
**All photos found online.**

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