Sunday, June 28, 2009

Disney on Ice

Our Princess eagerly awaiting the start of the show.

Madelyn all smiles and hugs for her daddy.

We couldn't leave with out getting the Flounder Hat that conveniently came with a bag of Cotton Candy. Madelyn stickily enjoyed her first taste of the fluffy treat.
After our whirlwind tour of the South we topped off the week with the Disney on Ice show. Madelyn had seen the commercials on TV and was very excited to see all her Princesses. To her delight she was very pleased with the performance, she sat between us and BELTED out all the lyrics to music, danced and clapped the whole time. The lady in front of us kept laughing at her and commented how enthralled she was with Ariel and Tinkerbell..obvious favorites! When the show was over she wanted to know when we could go back. It was well worth the money!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ghost and Cemetery Tour

The "official" tomb of Marie Laveau, the high priestess of Voodoo. Notice the gifts left for her in front and the many triple Xs that have been written on the tomb by her followers after she has fulfilled a request they have asked of her.

The tomb at the back of the same cemetery where many of Laveau's followers believe she is actually entombed. It, too, has gifts and triple X's on it, left by those who have visited and/or asked her spirit for favors.

Shadow of a statue of Jesus that is cast on the back of St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest church in Louisiana. One of the stops on the tour was to look for a known "ghost" in a building directly across the square from where this photo was taken.

Picture take of the LaLaurie House. The story includes several slaves that were tortured and experimented on by Madame LaLaurie and her physician husband. There have been many stories of encounters and sightings at this house (currently owned by Nicholas Cage who doesn't answer questions about the home or it's history). Notice the "orb" in the left upper corner. This is just outside the boarded window leading to the room where the tortured slaves were kept. This "orb" is not present in the three other photos we took of the house from the same location. We were told that ghosts may take the form of orbs....

The Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans, the haunted site of a blood mafia massacre. It is said you can smell fresh gun powder in the garden and hear gunfire coming from the garden while you are in the home.

Alleyway next to St. Louis Cathedral. Notice the small canal in the middle of the alley that provided early water/sewage drainage. It is said that on some nights you can see the ghost of a priest entering the church from Jackson Square.

Michael's mom is a huge fan of Ghost Hunters on the Travel Channel and has seen most of the episodes, so while we were in New Orleans, she wanted to take a ghost and cemetery tour of the French Quarter. The French Quarter tour was a walking night tour that included several interesting stops along the way with stories that included the tourguide's own experience with a "spirit" at Jean Lafitte's blacksmith shop, now a popular bar. The tour also included a hotel where children can be heard running and playing in the hall at night, a story very much like the experience Michael's cousin's wife had during a recent stay at the hotel. A hotel that once served as a hospital during the Civil War was also on the tour with several of our tour companions photographing "orbs" on the outside of the hotel. Make your own decisions about what is or what is not there, but are you willing to spend a night in one of these hotels on your next visit?

Monday, June 01, 2009

New Orelans City Tour

St. Jackson's Cathedral in the heart of the French Quarter

The new Pipe Organ that was just installed after Hurricane Katrina


Close up of one the Alfresco paintings

Ceiling al frescoes

Looking from the back of the church

Me., Judy and Maddie taking in the scenery.
Cruising down the Might Mississippi River on the Natchez Queen
Madelyn and Mommy

Madelyn and Ninny relaxing on the upper deck
Mesmerized by the Paddle Wheel
Site of the 1814 Battle of New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson became a war hero and later President of the US.

Domino Sugar Refinery. You can smell the sweet sugary scent from a distance. Look close at the shovel, thats processed white sugar being unload from flat bed boats that brings the sugar up the river from nearby plantations.

All giggles and smiles about being on the boat

Sun bathing beauty

Michael taking in the scenery-- it hot got two hours later

The only naval base that is spilt in two iun the US by the MS River

Ninth Ward Levy-- you can tell from the lighter color gravel where the Corp of Engineers has filled in the breech.

Madelyn and all her silly faces

The Paddle Wheel completely captured her attention for the majority of the trip.

The Natchez Queen

On the ferry crossing the Mississippi River

The large vault is for the local order of Catholic priest

Jesus welcomes visitors to cemetery #3

Louisiana state law states that a tomb can not be open for one year and one day from the burial of the last occupant. When the tomb is needed again, then vault is opened and the remains are then swept into a burlap bag and left in the back of the vault.

If your vault is not available due to prior occupants use, you can temporarily rent these small brick oven like vaults, until your family vault is ready. The body is placed in the chambers and because the vaults are above ground due to a high water table, the chambers acts like a slow cook oven reaching daily temperatures of 160 degrees, speeds up the decaying process of the remains.

The long rows of vaults

St. Jackson's Square view from the Natchez Queen

By day, by boat, and by night we saw most of New Orleans in one day. We started out very early on a the ferry to catch a bus tour of the city to ensure we hit all the major highlights including the numerous cemeteries scattered about the city. I loved seeing how different controlling countries (French, Spanish, and US) through out the history of New Orleans left their mark either architecturally, linguistically, or ethnically upon the city. The blending of food, music and building of old and new made for a great day of sight seeing and an even bigger appreciation for the early settlers who turned the bayou into the Crescent City. It was my first trip to the Big Easy, and although I did not see the city prior to Hurricane Katrina, I am still amazed how much damage the city endure from this massive surge from Mother Nature. You can tell the city is making a valiant effort in cleaning up and rebuilding the city, but the large areas of dissolute destruction remain everywhere. There will beautiful building and homes rebuilt or renovated and then in the middle, are areas dilapidated homes and piles of debris that floated to its remaining position. Whole sections of towns wiped down to nothing but fields of concrete slabs and then civilization again. What remained was charming, intriguing and thoroughly Southern. We ended the city tour with lunch in the French Quarter before we board the Natchez Queen for an afternoon paddle boat tour of the Mighty Mississippi. And to top off the evening we had dinner at a nice restaurant in the French Quarter before embarking upon a Ghost and Cemetery tour.