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Published: August 10th 2014
Today was my last full day so I left at 9AM for my French Quarter tour. I will admit at this point I was having a lot of trouble with the humidity so I was sweating like crazy all the time. I would go through many bottles of water each day. August is the hottest month of the year for New Orleans and is the slowest month of the year. That is quite surprising considering the crowds I saw during the day and night.
Tour started at Jackson Square which is the heart of the French Quarter. It is called that because there is a big statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse who was a hero of the war of 1812. There is a strange carving on the side of the statue that says "THE UNION MUST BE PRESERVED". I thought that was strange until my tour guide told me it was carved by Union soldiers during the civil war.
Tour was another free one by Free Tours on Foot. Tour guide for today was Joanne who was actually an Aussie who moved to New Orleans a few years ago. One thing I have noticed about free tours
is that quite often the tour guides are not locals. Case in point my London tour guide was a Canadian, Paris was a German, Berlin was a French lady and Madrid was a British guy. All in all it does not matter where they are from they are always knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
Tour started in the Jackson Square and we wandered the French Quarter and learned about the various people who contributed to the French Quarter from the French, Spanish to even Americans. We learned about the various fires that have destroyed the French Quarter. The current French Quarter is actually a Spanish design after a fire in the 1790's that burned all of New Orleans to the ground. She told us about the history about New Orleans and how it came to be an American possession. It was a nice wander around.
After the tour I wandered around the riverfront and saw my first view of the Mississippi river. I wanted to get a coffee at the famous Café Dumont but it was a 100 person lineup so I passed. After the Mississippi river I went looking for a place for lunch. I found a place called
the Huck Finn cafe. Lunch for today would be a Crawfish Po'Boy with fries. I will say the mustard sauce they had on the side was absolutely delicious. A spicy concoction that I can't really describe accurately. I asked if there was a way I could get a jar of the stuff but they insist it was a trade secret. After that I had a bit of time so I went back to the hostel to rest up.
Most people were out but I did see the Aussie brothers there. They were leaving in a few days as soon as they sorted out their flight to the west coast. I took the opportunity to charge my phone and took a shower before heading back out. The streetcar back into the city was running slowly and I watched the Aussie brothers repeatedly walk past my streetcar. They just about got into the French Quarter before I did.
Tour for today was a cocktail tour with a company called Gray Line. For this tour they gave out badges on the beads you typically see on Bourbon street. I toughed it out even thought it was slightly embarrassing. I chose a
cocktail tour because I really not up for pub crawls anymore. I prefer slower paced drinking whether than getting smashed quickly. First cocktail of the evening was a Fleur de Lys which is vodka, lemon and lime juice with another liquor that I cannot remember. It was a strong drink and actually tasted a lot like gingerale. We learned about the bar which apparently used to be a house of prostitution. We went into the old prostitute's sitting room which had been preserved. Next cocktail of the day was a powerful one. The Sazerac was bourbon, bitters and a coating of absinthe. It was not a large drink but it packed a wallop. I will admit I was dizzy by the end of it. We went to our last bar which was the famous one where all the celebrities eat when they are in town. Final drink was a French 75 named after the French cannon. This was not as tough to drink down and is made with champagne and cognac. After a bit more history of the place the tour was over. I will admit I wasn't terribly impressed by the tour but it was ok.
fairly dizzy but made my way back to the streetcar and started riding it back to the hostel. Before I left the French Quarter I ran into Lisa from England who I had met on the first evening. I told her I had just come off a cocktail tour and she commented that I looked smashed and gave me a playful push which almost knocked me over. We rode together back to the hostel chatting about our future travel plans. My travel was almost done but she still had quite a trip ahead of her. I will admit I was jealous.
After this back at the hostel I hungout in the courtyard. It was a fairly diverse group in the courtyard with people from Europe, South America and Asia. Plans to go out that evening fell through and I ended up just staying at the hostel courtyard into the evening. Tomorrow my adventure would be over and it would be time to head home to Canada.
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