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July 19, 2012 / Jim Fenton

Mississippi River Day 16: New Orleans and vicinity

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation traveling down the Mississippi River. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

Since we still have the rental car, we thought it might be fun to travel outside New Orleans a bit. Specifically, we wanted to see some of the delta swamps (and perhaps an alligator). We were also interested in seeing a bit of the Gulf coast, by heading east into Mississippi once more.

Barataria Preserve

Barataria Preserve

After a quick breakfast, we drove over the Mississippi River bridge to Westside, and then down to the Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. As with most National Park Service facilities, there was an excellent interpretive center. Unfortunately, some of the trails, including some of the best alligator sighting opportunities, were closed for maintenance. After liberally applying insect repellant, we went out on the boardwalk trail. In addition to the lush plant life, we saw many insects, a few salamanders, and heard (but did not see) many birds. We thought we heard an alligator, but other visitors were talking so we could not tell.

It started raining again, so we got back in the car to go to our second destination. Just east of Lake Pontchartrain, the weather got very dark and rainy again, prompting us to turn around because we wouldn’t see anything anyway.

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall

Back at our hotel, the pool area was too windy for use. The rain had slowed enough to allow us to put on our raincoats and take a late afternoon walk in the French Quarter, where we stopped at a corner café for dinner. After that, we went over to the famous Preservation Hall for their 8:15 jazz concert. Preservation Hall is VERY small and intimate, holding only about 100 people, with about two-thirds of us standing. But the 45 minute concert was terrific; in many ways you want to be standing for music like that.

Mississippi River crossings today: 2
July 19, 2012

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