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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Big Easy

April 10, 2015

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The Big Easy

It has been close to twenty years since I have been to New Orleans, and at least that long since Kathy was there. Obviously far too long to be away from one of the most wonderful cities in the US. We missed out completely on the direct flights from Key West to New Orleans that lasted about a year before Southwest pulled out of Key West and it wasn’t until the pull of the Indy Car series hosting their first ever race at the NOLA Motorsports park that I booked us tickets.

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We got a hotel in the wonderful garden district and after connecting through Atlanta and picking up a rental car we were off to explore. We arrived the day before any track activity as I wanted to make sure we had a little time to acclimate and to see some things prior to getting caught up in the racing activities.

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Upon arrival, we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather to check out the huge Audubon Zoo located in Audubon Park just across from Tulane University in the Garden District. We rode the St. Charles Street, street car and walked through the beautiful park to the Zoo. The zoo covers 58 acres and features over 2000 animals and it is part of the larger Audubon Institute which also includes the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium both also in New Orleans.

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The zoo features many rare and exotic animals including some of the very few white alligators in existence and a large Komodo Dragon exhibit. My favorite exhibit was the wonderfully created Swamp exhibit which featured animals native to a Louisiana swamp including everything from snakes and gators to black bears to raccoons and more all in a beautiful and creative setting.

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We next headed downtown to the French Quarter to explore. It was our good fortune to be visiting New Orleans during the weekend of the incredible French Quarter Festival which celebrates the music, art and culture of the French Quarter. The largest music festival in New Orleans (which is saying something) features 23 stages of continuous music over 4 days and just about every major and minor local musician, band and entertainer is featured, all for free.

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Tons of big names were scheduled to play and there were a myriad of bands that we were familiar with from playing in Key West such as Bonerama, Little Brian and the Zydeco Hurricane, Eric Lidell, Dash Rip Rock, the Neville Brothers (and sister) and many many more. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and hundreds of others reflecting the wide variety of musical styles from Zydeco, Jazz, Blues, Cajun, Country, Rock and everything in between- all with a New Orleans flavor.

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We hit a lot of the tourist spots in the Quarter, Café du Monde, Bourbon Street, the Voodoo shops, and bars like the Erin Rose and Pat Obrien’s before calling it an evening and taking the street car back up St. Charles to our hotel. It was a great first day in New Orleans and it was so nice to be back.

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