Well, here we were our first night at Bayou Segnette State Park and it rained and rained and rained some more! In fact, it rained all night. Fortunately the next morning we awoke to sunshine but it looked like we were parked in the middle of a lake. Everywhere there was water! Huh, did we ask for a lake front site???? Are we now part of the bayou? Our fire ring which was located behind our site, was almost submerged by the water. Guess a campfire wasn’t on our horizon any time soon! On the plus side all the roads and paved site pads stayed high and dry.
Since it was a fairly sunny day and we weren’t planning to see Jim and Joan until Sunday, we decided to spend Saturday exploring the area. One of the first things we wanted to do was to take a drive to Algiers so we could see what the ferry parking situation was there. On the way, we stopped for breakfast at Schnell’s Restaurant in Marrero. Nothing unusual but a good and reasonable basic breakfast!
From there we continued our drive towards Algiers, winding our way through industrial/shipping areas as well as typical busy suburban retail areas. Finally we arrived at the ferry dock. This area wasn’t new to us – we had taken the ferry from Canal Street (in New Orleans) over to Algiers and had a delicious lunch at the Dry Dock Restaurant in 2010 (before we were blogging). Back then the ferry was free but today it is $2 per person, $1 for seniors over 65.
Luckily there was a no-fee parking space on the street so after snagging that, we strolled along the walking/biking path on top of the levy.
By the way, tourists to New Orleans tend to assume the local pronunciation is “N’awlins”, but according to this article, the proper local speak is “New Awlins”. Using “N’awlins” or “New Or-Leans” will apparently mark you instantly as an outsider.
Before we left Algiers, we checked out the parking lots – there were two manned lots ($10 all day) which were basically dirt lots. Only one or two cars were parked there so it didn’t seem like parking would be an issue on Sunday.
We headed back towards the hacienda, stopping at Westwego Shrimp Lot along the way to check out the fresh seafood. Open weekends only, on either side of the gravel parking lot are permanent stalls where vendors sell a variety of fresh off the boat seafood – shrimp (most were sold with the heads on), oysters, crawfish, crabs and fish, mostly kept cold in picnic coolers. We walked around but didn’t buy anything. Afterwards, we drove towards the back of the lot and along the marina there where there were several fishing/shrimp boats.
Since it was late in the afternoon, we had our usual “what do you want for supper” conversation. We find when we are staying at campgrounds that don’t have sewer, we do a lot of eating out or doing take out so we don’t dirty a lot of dishes or pans and fill up our holding tanks. We had heard about DiMartino’s Muffulettas which was right down the street so we decided to stop there to pick something up for later.
We ended up getting a hot sausage po’ boy which we would split for lunch and a large muffuletta (big enough to feed two) for supper which we took back to the coach. Although the sausage in the po’ boy was different than the usual Italian sausage that we are used to, it was very good.
The muffuletta was huge, probably about 10″ in diameter, and delicious. For those of you who have never heard of a muffuletta (originated at Central Market in New Orleans), this traditional italian concoction consists of a muffuletta loaf (very light bread, crispy on the outside with a soft inside) split horizontally and covered with layers of marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, and provolone. We each had a quarter of it that night, then had the rest of it for lunch on Monday. Wish we had these back in New England! Then again, maybe we do but neither Rob or I have ever heard of them.
When we got back to the beast, we decided to take a bike ride. Once we were out of the campground section (but still in the park), we took a right. Within a short distance, the road took a left, and up an incline through an open levee gate and then down a ways along Whiskey Bayou. Even though it was a little chilly, there were several people fishing from the shore and a few boats speeding by. It was interesting to see the levee gates – they are so huge.
Sunday morning dawned bright, sunny but a little chilly. After a quick breakfast, we headed back to Algiers – we wanted to catch the first ferry at 10:45 am since Jim and Joan were planning to meet us on Canal Street at the ferry terminus there. Luckily, when we arrived there was plenty of parking on the street so we didn’t need to pay the $10/day parking fee. Since we were early, we had to hang around for a bit but no problem, there was plenty of activity on the river to keep us entertained. Yesterday there was a cruise ship docked but it must have left during the night because today there were two different cruise ships there.
The ferries leave Algiers every half hour at quarter of and quarter past the hour – the hours vary based on day of the week and any events that might be in town.
As mentioned in our last post, we had been to New Orleans back in 2010, spending 5 days there, so we had taken a city tour and spent a lot of time walking around viewing all of the sights. It just so happened back then that our walk through the French Quarter coincided with St. Patty’s Day. Boy, oh, boy, based on all the partying and drinking going on first thing in the morning, I’d hate to see what Mardi Gras is like! Also while we were there, a crew was filming the Green Lantern right next to the condo where we were staying so it was fun sitting on our balcony watching the filming. This time, our plan was to just spend the one day in the city, not sightseeing but primarily catching up with our friends.
It was a quick trip on the ferry across the Mississippi. As we walked down the steps to Canal Street, we spotted Joan and Jim! So awesome seeing them again after such a long time. After exchanging lots of hugs, we strolled along the Moon Walk – a walkway along the river named after Mayor Moon Landrieu who served from 1970-78.
Walking along the Moon Walk beside the Mississippi was quite pleasant although there was a lot of construction going on. Although temps were a little on the chilly side, the bright sun chased away most of the chill. There was a queue to board the S.S. Natchez, a stern wheel steamboat built in 1975 for a luncheon jazz cruise up the Mississippi. That might be a fun thing to do someday!
Jim needed to make a side trip to a Walgreen’s to get a prescription filled, so Joan, Rob and I walked around Jackson Square. Being a Sunday and with two cruise ships in town, it was pretty crowded but fun being there again. The plan was to make our way to the French Market for the Food Fest where there were numerous stands offering New Orleans/Louisiana food. Four blocks of the French Market were lined with dozens of hometown eats from New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana and across America, each offering a unique specialty.
After a while Jim returned after an unsuccessful attempt to get his prescription (they were out of stock and had to order it) so we continued walking towards the French Market, passing by all sorts of neat shops and restaurants.
Finally we arrived. WOW, all sorts of food stands. Jim and Joan had walked here on Saturday to scope things out – Jim’s taste buds were screaming for some barbequed ribs which were at a stall on the opposite end so we decided that we would take a walk past all of the stalls to see what appealed.Want a bacon fried hot dog (we didn’t but Jim did)? Or how about shrimp, alligator and sausage cheesecake? Beef brisket anyone? Or is quail, pheasant and andouille sausage gumbo more to your liking? Oh, my so many choices! It all looked and smelled so good.
We finally reached the end of all the stalls which is where the rib place was located. Jim ended up with ribs while the three of us had the BBQ Nachos which were both delicious and totally decadent at the same time – a layer of nacho chips, pulled pork, cheese, jalapenos and cheese sauce. Really good but messy especially eating while standing (all the tables in the area were full). While we were standing there, they announced the beignet eating contest was about to start. Good luck to those people!
As we walked back along the stalls, Rob & I decided to try some chargrilled oysters, an offering from the Royal House Oyster Bar in New Orleans. An order consisted of 3 oysters with two small pieces of bread for $7. Figuring it would be hard to split 3 oysters we decided on two orders. The topping was tasty but unfortunately the oysters were not plump and juicy, but really small and stuck to their shells. Very disappointing!
That was it for Rob and I. Jim did end up having a bacon fried hot dog which he said was very good although it didn’t have as much bacon as he would have liked.
Joan had invited us back to their time share condo so we would have a chance to sit and chat for a bit. Great idea! So we walked back on the Moon Walk, stopping for a bit to rest on one of the park benches where we had a great view of all the ships, tankers and barges cruising along the river. As we sat there, we were trying to figure out how the tugs manage to so precisely steer the huge barges along the twists and turns of the Mississippi, considering the variations in the strong currents and wind.
We continued our walk until we finally arrived at the Plaza Suite Hotel Resort on S. Peters Street which is where Jim & Joan’s time share unit is located. In 2010, they had arranged for us to stay in one of the units there during our 5 day visit. Such a lovely place! We sat out on their balcony, chatting and catching up on everything that has been going on in our lives over the past two years and talking about future plans. They are both former full timers and boaters so we have a lot in common. Pretty exciting that they are taking a cruise through the Panama Canal next fall (on a cruise ship) – this has been on Jim’s bucket list for some time and now they are finally going to do it. So happy for them!
The last ferry heading back to Algiers leaves Canal Street at 6 pm (during the week it is 8 pm). Knowing that it might be up to a 15 minute walk back to the terminus, we wanted to leave in plenty of time, so around 5:15 pm, we said our goodbyes and left. Luckily we made the 5:30 pm sailing. Fun day!
From Algiers it was about a 30 minute drive back to the state park where we spent a quiet evening.
The next day, it was time for a new adventure – stay tuned!