Monday, May 20, 2013

30 Days of Why I Love New Orleans - Day 28

                The word lagniappe actually entered the world through the Louisiana French who adapted it from the Spanish Creoles who came to New Orleans who adapted it from a Quechua word. Confusing?
                It originated from lapay, which sounds like a slangy version of “you pay.”
                It means just the opposite. It means a little something for nothing, or a little something extra. It’s very nice. Lagniappe is all the little extra wonderful things about New Orleans.
                There really so many things to do in New Orleans; it would take a massive travel book to begin to point them all out. But today’s the day to mention a few I’ve missed. A few more of the wonders to be found in NOLA.
                We’ll start with the steamship Natchez. Some people call it Natchez 9. That’s
because there have been many ships called the Natchez. The one you can board now in New Orleans was actually built in 1975. Her pieces come from earlier years, however. Such as her steam engines which were built for the Clairton in 1925. Her whistle is an antique, and her calliope was hand produced just as the calliopes of old. Her steel-and-copper bell was produced from 250 silver dollars—I’m not really sure how a copper bell was made from silver dollars “for purity of sound,” but that is the case.
                Hop aboard for a cruise that can include different meals and entertainment, and the sense of what it was like in days of old, traveling the city by the mighty Mississippi. Great views can be obtained, and to me, true perception of the river. The Mississippi is mighty and powerful.
                We hopped aboard the Natchez for Writers for New Orleans once and had a great time; it was a costume party with a jazz band on one level and karaoke on another—fantastic food and a beautiful night on the river.  Having seen the play Show Boat and then the musical with Howard Keel, I was anxious to actually get aboard a steamboat.
                The Natchez doesn’t disappoint—hop aboard! Naturally, you can find the Natchez at the river. The ticket office can be found at Toulouse and the river.
                Walk the river—yes, of course, there’s a river walk. If you’re not going to cruise, it’s great just to walk the walk—and watch the great big muddy Mississippi. Also, there are the Riverwalk Shops and the Riverwalk Marketplace. (500 Port of New Orleans Place.) While you’re heading that way, you could
stop in at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. (The Museum of the American Cocktail just found new digs and is in process of moving as I write!)
                Are you a gambler? Harrah’s is there, large, in Mardi Gras style, and offering everything from slots to poker to craps and roulette, fine restaurants, and a very nice hotel. Harrah’s can be found easily at Canal Street—you wouldn’t want to hide a big Casino!  
                Convenient and offering changing exhibits is the Historic New Orleans Collection.
This museum is dedicated to New Orleans and Louisiana. Artifacts chronicle life, art, music—you name it—in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding environs. You can find events happening here—life, art, music—you name it—and ever-changing special exhibits. Since the Historic New Orleans Collection is easily found at 533 Royal Street. You can make a great day of shopping, browsing—and enriching your sense of the city and history by stopping in. The last time I visited, the exhibits gave the visitor a great sense of day to day life in the area during the mid 1800s. Ladies gloves, gentlemen’s pursuits, all displayed thoughtfully and artistically in handsome displays.
                Hopping over to Algiers for the day is intriguing. Algiers is on the west bank of the Mississippi and is actually the “15th” ward of the city of New Orleans. (There are 17) Algiers can be reached by the Canal Street Ferry. The area has had its ups and downs through the
years and has a rich history all its own. Now the area offers pleasant shopping and browsing. A number of Mardi Gras “krewes” maintain warehouses in Algiers for their floats and costume materials and supplies. There are beautiful late 1800s churches and libraries here, along with the shopping. When the Confederate army left Algiers behind  when the Union was about to take over, they destroyed any arms, munitions, and supplies, not wanting them to fall into Union hands. Most of the area was burned and most buildings there were obviously
constructed post-Civil War.
                Have some energy and want to cover some space? You can head to 1815 Elysian Fields and to Confederacy of Cruisers. Bike around the city on a Schwinn with a guide who will give you all the ins and outs. Depending on your mood and desires, you can see the city in dozens of ways; tour companies abound. By carriage, by motor vehicle, by bike—and by Segway!  Now, there’s a fun challenge. Learn to balance and see the city at the same time.
                You can also go up in a plane for a tour—Big Easy Tours can give you a bird’s eye view of the city. I’ve had friends who have loved it—pricing is around $250 a person. (I can’t personally attest to this one; too chicken for small planes I don’t have to be on!)
                You can also book a Hurricane Katrina Tour. This will take you to the 9nth Ward where, to this day, residents are trying to put back the pieces from the flooding after Katrina and the devastating summer of storms. While it’s humbling and heart-breaking to hear many of the stories, it’s also uplifting to see the resiliency to be found in the human soul—and the energy put in by so many people to bring back all that was broken. We are a great nation.
                So, you’re worn out and tired. You’ve biked or Segway-ed, walked, listened, learned
—seen. Take a little jaunt to Magazine Street. You’ll find wonderful and unique shops that will grab your attention even if you’re worn out. You’ll also find some of the most wonderful bars and restaurants in the city—places to chill after a long day of loving New Orleans.  During the day I’m particularly fond of Artz Bagelz (3138 Magazine.) For dinner, I suggest Domenique’s on Magazine, 4213 Magazine. You can also find great coffee, chocolate, desserts . . . trust me. It’s just a nice place to be. You’ll find something that will make you very happy!


Teri Anne Stanley said...

I can't WAIT to come to New Orleans for RT next year. Mr. Stanley and I spent a week there before we were married. I can still remember the rather distinct aroma of the French Quarter. And the muffaletta, drive through daquiri stands, and all of those crawfish.
Love it!

Susie said...

I just finished the newest additions to the Krewe of Hunters series and I loved them all! Can't wait for more! :)
Thanks for all your hard work!