Day 18 – New Orleans

Shirley’s husband Danny plays the guitar for their church band, and so today we all went off to church to see him play. The band and the singers were very professional and the service was surprisingly contemporary and upbeat. We were all suitably impressed.

Shirely drove us to the church in Danny’s Monster Truck… I’m not sure who’s truck was the biggest – Danny’s or Big Jack’s, but you almost could have done with a ladder to climb up into them!! Shirley looked tiny behind the wheel…If Nobi had been driving I’m sure it would have looked like the car was driving itself (^^)>

After the church service had finished we headed back to the clubhouse at Shirley and Danny’s place for brunch…more bacon, sausage, and other goodies!! Today I tried some more Grits this time served up with some Grillard (meat cooked in a gravy sauce) – that was delicious as well.

After filling up on all the food, we headed home to change clothes and cars!

CafeDuMondeDanny drove Big Jack’s truck and took us on the ‘Danny’s Tour of New Orleans’. This was really great because we got to see all the major areas of the city and hear all the stories about where and how Hurricane Katrina had struck. We drove along Lake Pontchartrain, by Audubon Park, down Canal Street and through the French Quarter, past Cafe du Monde, Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral and on through the French Market, listening to the sound of the jazz swing music on the way. We crossed over Bourbon Street and saw all the lovely plants hanging from the apartment window boxes. It really is a city SuperDomewith so much culture. We loved it! We also passed the Superdome – home of the New orleans Saints NFL team, but also temporary home to those affected directly after Katrina had struck. Danny showed us one of the worst affected areas – just below where the main Levee break occurred. You can only imaging the damage and fear that it must have caused. many people – the more fortunate and well-insured ones – have rebuilt their houses and look in perfect condition, others still bear the scars – broken roofs and yellow scum lines where the water had risen so high. It really was an eye-opening tour! We saw the Mississippi River and went past numerous bayous. Danny also showed us where he and Shirley had got married, and also where Janice and Ted were married. There was a house that had previously been owned by the painter Degas and numerous the plantation-style houses so typical of this area.

We made our way back to the Pontchartrain 24 mile bridge and headed back towards Shirley and Danny’s place. Today was the second day of the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival and so we decided to go and see some of the boats and taste some of the MadisonVilleBoatFestivallocal food. It was a really nice community festival – we got to taste Jambalaya (Cajun rice dish with meat) and Louisiana Crab cakes with Dirty Rice! I think the crab cakes ad to be my favorite… and I think I might have to ask Shirley and Nobi for the recipe!! Danny’s friend had a boat at the festival and we managed to bump into him, Danny’s sister Verna and her husband, and lots of other friends and family along the way… CajunFoodwe also saw some wooden boats although I think the food managed to outshine the boats somewhat (^^)> Shirley found some honey-glazed nuts which were delicious and Danny showed us another of his friend’s boat ‘Sazerac’ – a boat apparently used by Brad Pitt in one of his recent films! It had started to rain a little, so we decided to head home and warm up again. Although we had eaten all that food at the festival, Shirley and Nobi thought we still looked a bit thin and decided to grab us some more sushi – fresh, filling but extremely good indeed. I don’t think I need to eat for the next 2 or 3 days….

It was a very busy day today, we went to church, we ate, we toured New Orleans, we ate, we went to the boat festival and ate, we went home, we ate some more, we packed and then we went to bed!

JackNobiShirleyandDanny

It was really great to meet and catch up with Seio’s relatives and has been a great part of our trip – personalized tours, 5 star hotel-like comfort, home cooking and local customs…who could ask for more? Thanks guys xx

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