Garden District, New Orleans 5/14/16

On our way to Garden District, we meet Satchmo and Robert E. Lee.

The Garden District was once home to a plantation, then early 1800s mansions with extensive gardens – hence the name. By the late 1800s, the large lots were subdivided to include many elegant Victorian-style homes between the mansions. With a map and pamphlet, we did our own walking tour.

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First sight off the St. Charles streetcar is The Rink, a 19th century wooden skating rink now converted to an eclectic little shopping mall.

Next stop is one of the Lafayette Cemeteries – where the graves are above-ground little buildings/crypts due to the high water table. Each has its own architectural style, and may house the remains of many, many, many generations. Double-click to enlarge any photo, especially the white tomb which shows the names of those buried within from 1870 to 2014.

Down the block is Commander’s Palace Restaurant, opened in 1890. Upscale, fine dining, with the famous 25 cent martini at lunch. Ah, but jackets are required and shorts are forbidden. That leaves us out.

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The mansions are a blend of Greek Revival and Creole architecture – classic Ionic columns`supporting a New Orleans balcony:

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Freret’s Folly Creole rowhouses:

Gingerbread trimming, cast iron railings, and the Our Mother of Perpetual Help mansion/chapel, owned by Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice, and lots of intricate cast iron.

Throughout New Orleans, many of the homes burn their gas lights round the clock.

IMG_7685A tour guide told us it was because gas is so cheap and plentiful there – but it’s also a fossil fuel, and contributes to the warming climate, which contributes to more catastrophic weather events. You’d think New Orleans would be particularly sensitive to that.

Then again, the South is different, as in “Jefferson Davis, a truly great American:”

A little bit of garden, and a row of shotgun camelback Creole cottages – that’s an architectural style I’d never heard of before!

Another corncob cast-iron fence, like the one in the French Quarter:

Back up St. Charles for more exploring, where the trees and fences drip with Mardi Gras beads:

We stumbled upon another Touro Synagogue, 1828, the 1st outside the original 13 colonies, funded by the son of the Touro who supported the 1st Synagogue in Newport, RI:

Caught the streetcar and passed Tulane:

Got off to walk along the Mississippi – but we couldn’t get there. A looooooong train sat on the tracks, blocking access to the walking path along the river. We finally saw another couple climb over the coupling between two train cars, so we did the same. And walked, and walked, and walked, before finally accessing a spot to see a bit of the river.

Bus ride back through the quaint shopping district, with balcony beads:

Ended the day back on Frenchmen St for dinner and John Boutte at d.b.a:

Got to hear him do Hallelujah and Treme theme, and so much more. For a $10 cover! I love Frenchmen St!

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The song on this 2010 video, also at d.b.a., starts at 54 seconds in. But to hear how he quiets a room, start at the beginning.

 

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