RETURN OF THE BIG EASY; New Orleans Was Left Devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but the City Has Bounced Back and Is as Great as It Ever Was

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

RETURN OF THE BIG EASY; New Orleans Was Left Devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but the City Has Bounced Back and Is as Great as It Ever Was


Byline: NEIL MURRAY reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

IT ONLY took about 30 seconds before I saw my first alligator.

I was on a swamp tour on Louisiana's Pearl River, about 45 minutes outside New Orleans, and even although it turned out to be a 'gator that was only a couple of years old, there was a real buzz on our boat at its appearance.

After that sighting, it was quite a while before we saw any more.

But when we did, it was almost non-stop, as our guide, Captain Ty, knew where they hung out.

That and the "bait" of a marshmallow on the end of a stick (the alligators think it is a turtle egg) meant the photo ops came thick and fast.

deals Glasgow August staying on basis at Hotel 425 per And, even without the gator-spotting, floating - or, at times, speeding - through the Honey Island Swamp past countless cypress trees, Spanish moss and a family picnicking in a tin boat was quite an experience in itself.

Glasgow August a bed basis at Roca nights, So, too, was a visit to Mardi Gras World, where floats and props are created for New Glasgow on staying the four and Orleans' parades as well as some of America's theme parks.

799 per other your call A 15-minute film about the history of Mardi Gras is followed by a fascinating tour of the warehouse, with floats and giant props everywhere, artists and a 3D printer at work creating new models, and the opportunity to try on a costume.

The following day, my wife, Linda, and I had a guided tour of the city's Lafayette Cemetery No 1 and Garden District, where we met lively lady-of-a-certain-age Nita Hemeter.

She regaled us with stories of above-ground tombs (because of the high water table), bodies being stored for a guaranteed minimum of a year and a day, and coffins held in a wall shelf if there was no room in the tomb.

Then she took us past the splendid homes of the likes of John Goodman, Sandra Bullock and Nicholas Cage before telling us she was also a cat-trapper (stray cats) and a drummer in a jazz band that she and trumpet-playing friend Kaye Caldwell had formed years ago when they were both in their late 40s.

Which is why, a couple of days later, we were in Buffa's Bar on the edge of the French Quarter, having finished our brunch and waiting to hear the Some Like It Hot traditional jazz band - featuring Nita on drums.

What followed was a great session with a bunch of musicians who just loved playing.

Talking about brunch, we had visited the Court of Two Sisters - a New Orleans institution - the previous day for what was a truly splendid buffet in the restaurant's courtyard, sheltered from the blazing heat by overhanging tree branches and serenaded by a jazz trio.

Music and food are constant companions in New Orleans.

In Frenchmen Street - described by one local as "Bourbon Street for adults" - we were struggling to choose between the plethora of eating places and the different types of music on hand.

We settled for the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, which claims to be "New Orleans' premier jazz club", then caught some great blues in the 30o x 90o club, but, honestly, we'd have had a terrific time in whichever venue we opted for. …

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