When one hears about New Orleans, one of the first things that comes to mind is :  Mardi Gras.

Well, yep, New Orleans (or, NOLA, as it’s referred to) is indeed famous for that. But, that’s not all NOLA is about. Nope, it’s much, much more than a crazy, wild, weeks-long carnival, when the entire city goes haywire.

This I discovered on my first ever visit to this beautiful city just last month (August 2016).

“The Big Easy”

Yep, NOLA certainly lives up to this reputation. I’ve never encountered a more friendly, pleasant, and cheerful bunch of people in the United States. And, that’s definitely saying something! Everyone smiles at you, says “Good morning”, or “afternoon”, whichever the case may be; when they ask “How are you doing?”, they seem to genuinely want to know how you are doing, and are not just being polite. Strangers stop you on the road, for a friendly chat.

I have to say: I loved it here :=)

 

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NOLA’s famous streetcars

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Well, you can’t really see it (my aim wasn’t good that evening); but, below is the famous Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the longest continuous bridge passing over water — the waters of New Orleans’s Lake Pontchartrain to be exact. The bridge is so long that, for 8 of its 24 miles, you can’t see land in any direction.

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City Park

I didn’t know this until I visited NOLA: New Orleans City Park  is the USA’s second-largest park (after New York’s Central Park, of course :=))

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The food

OK!  You got me. “Hello?!  Remember me?  Lover of international cuisine, coming through!!”  (lol)

I certainly was not going to leave NOLA without getting a taste of its world-famous cuisine, was I?  Hell no!

Gumbo

I’ve eaten gumbo before. But, this was definitely the BEST I ever had!

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Costly parking

Jeeeeeez!!!!  I’m too embarrassed to even say much here.

I’ve been to expensive cities; hell, I’m living in one now. I know all about parking — how it can be next-to-impossible to find; and, when you do find somewhere to stick your bucket-of-bolts, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg (just ask anyone in New York……..or Tokyo………..or Hong Kong).

But, I certainly did not expect this in New Orleans !!  My first trip into the city-centre, I couldn’t find anywhere to park. After spending almost 15 minutes driving around in circles, I finally found a large, public parking lot.

Now, the fact that such a huge lot was barely half-filled, should have warned me! But, being the Einstein that I am, I drove in without hesitation, took the offered ticket from the machine at the gate, and parked. As I was exiting the car, I saw a placard which proudly boasted: “15 dollars per hour”. What it did NOT say, however, was that: it doesn’t matter how long you stay; once you drive in, you already owe 15 bucks………….an hour later, you owe 30 bucks, and so on.

Anyway, once I saw that sign, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake, and decided to haul ass. But, it was too late: upon inserting my ticket into the machine, I was charged $15!

To say I was chagrined would be a huge understatement. I was royally pissed!!  15 dollars for 2 minutes!  Granted, it was my own fault, though, for being so stupid.

Well, we learn from our mistakes, don’t we?  I certainly grew older and wiser in those couple of minutes (LOL).

This was the only black stain in an otherwise extremely pleasant trip to “The Big Easy”.