Today we set aside the whole day just to wander at will in the French Quarter. And just to mix it up a bit we left the car and took the bus. For seniors the buses are a real bargain with 40 cent fares.
First stop, of course, was Jackson Square. The artists and fortunetellers were just setting up shop and there was just one band playing but they were good so we stopped to sit and listen for a while and watch the passing scene.
Moving on we strolled slowly down Royal Street checking out the stores and galleries that were interesting to us. By then we needed a break and stopped at Café Beignet. The Beignet’s are larger and better than Café duMonde, the atmosphere is a whole lot less seedy and there are hardly ever any lines. The final big plus is that the bathrooms are nice. Café duMonde has probably not updated their bathrooms in 30 to 40 years and you have to stand in an endless line, which actually winds through the kitchen space.
Then we walked to the National Park Service Jean Lafitte Visitors Center where we looked at their exhibits. Our favorites were the listening/watching stations that showed different aspects of New Orleans music - Gospel, Zydeco, Jazz, Cajun etc. They had wonderful vintage film of Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson and Fats Domino among others. After listening for a while you could start to delineate and appreciate the differences and similarities between the styles.
A few more blocks and we were seated in the sun along the Mississippi where we happily watched the cargo ships, oil tankers, ferries and pilot boats do their thing. It’s grand entertainment especially watching the big boats maneuver that tight turn where the river bends.
By then we were hungry again and headed for Harry’s old favorite the Acme Oyster House. Sitting at the bar and watching the shuckers open endless dozens of oyster is a good show.
By then we had been wandering around for eight hours and headed to the bus stop to take the No 5 back to Bywater.