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August 17, 2018
New Orleans: ”Warning: severe toe-tapping or dancing about may occur”

Welcome to New Orleans!

We are in New Orleans!

We left home at 6:30 am this morning to get to San Jose Airport. (Joss, our son and driver, barely got home at 6:15 from being out all night at a friend’s house.) We had a brief layover in Los Angeles before arriving in New Orleans at 5:00 pm local time.

The mighty Mississippi River, as seen from our airplane window)

Before leaving home, Gail had checked the weather forecast and saw 15 days of rain all the way up and down the Mississippi River. Fortunately, New Orleans was overcast but clear.

Gail was here 12 years ago as part of a hurricane-relief effort in nearby Houma. She has very fond memories of New Orleans and was excited to come back.

For the next three nights, we are staying at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, on the west side of town next to the convention center. We have a terrific fifth-floor room overlooking the Mississippi River. (We originally had a 19th-floor room also overlooking the river, but all we saw was the building wing next store and a rooftop below.)

The view from our hotel room)

The only thing on the agenda for tonight was to get dinner. During the taxi ride in, Gail spotted Mulate’s Restaurant. This was on her to-do list for good Zydeco music. After checking in, we took a 20-minute walk down the Riverwalk to the restaurant. (It would have been a 10-minute walk, but Russell navigated us down the wrong street.)

Once inside, Gail was delighted to discover that Mulate’s was the same restaurant she had visited 12 years ago. Sure enough, the same Zydeco band – La Touche – was still playing Zydeco music with accordion, guitar, fiddle and drums. We chatted with the band during a break, and bought one of their CDs.

The back of the CD had this accurate statement: “WARNING: Contains a lot of happy, upbeat music; severe toe-tapping or dancing about may occur.”

La Touche Zydeco band at Mulate’s Restaurant)

Beau, Cal and Leo with Gail (Eddy was off watching the Saints play football on television))

Our meal was a sampler plate of grilled alligator, stuffed mushrooms, calamari, meat pies, grilled frog legs, popcorn shrimp and tilapia – all deep fried. It was literally a mound of food on the plate. Dessert was bread pudding with ice cream, topped with butter rum sauce.

Dinner was literally a mountain of fried meats on a plate… with sauces)

Bread pudding! (Yes, we ate too much.)

After dinner, we took a night walk along the riverfront, overlooking the quiet Mississippi River.

We have already met many friendly and wonderful people. Sayid, our taxi driver, is from India and loves New Orleans. (It is actually cheaper to take a taxi than a hotel shuttle. But the airport makes more money from shuttles, so they do their best to hide the taxi stand.) Arielle, our hotel receptionist, helped figure out our complex reservation. Angelle, our restaurant waitress, brought us one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten.

Between the river walk, the Cajun food and the Zydeco music, this is the perfect introduction to New Orleans and our Mississippi River adventure.

The Crescent City Crossing Bridge at night


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