Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Orleans: Voodoo and cooking

Rollin' down the Mississippi to New Orleans.

Louisiana - home to swamps, voodoo, Cajun Cooking and wild music... oh and one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, but hey, who cares in this extremely wicked state.

On route to the Big Easy we spent the night in the picturesque Arcadian (Cajun is the shorten form of the word) town of Lafayette, voted one of the top places to live in in the USA.

Here in the deep south the weather is warm and the humidity high which makes it feel a whole lot hotter than it really is. Luckily the anticipated Hurricane Bonny passed Louisiana fairly quietly other than a few small showers.

The sun came out in New Orleans and so did the sweltering temperatures and late night thunderstorms.

As you drive into the city it's easy to tell the safe areas from the bad - run down buildings, graffiti and empty sidewalks give it away. Visitors are warned against touring the city's many cemeteries even during the day time.

But it's a whole different story in the French Quarter. Beautiful old buildings stand on cobbled streets lined with trees and balconies are decorated with streamers, mardi gras chains and flags.

The charm of the French Quarter is only interrupted by the over-the-top-ness of Bourbon Street.

Music literally blast from every second bar and the high quality bands entertain crowds made up of everyone from families to middle-aged dancers. However, I loved the street bands the most - like this one - that got the people moving in the middle of the street, in the middle of the rain.

Our first full day in the city was spent wandering around from air conditioned shop to sweaty sidewalk taking in all the sights and sounds.

I bought this little guy - my very own authentic Voodoo doll.

When in came to dinner time I tucked into the traditional Southern food of red bean and spicy sausage on rice -ummmm - with an extremely ummm green cocktail (I got two because the used the wrong sized glass for the first one - yes!).

As far as party cities go, I'd say New Orleans gives Vegas a good run for its money.

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