We had fun exploring New Orleans by night. After dinner one evening, we were meandering through the French Quarter when we heard people shouting and saw a flashing blue light from a cop car. We ran up to the corner and witnessed a two-float parade. I'm not sure what it was for, but they were throwing beads and seemed glad to have someone to throw them to, so we got a bunch. We were feeling in the party mood, so we ambled up to Bourbon Street.
The guidebook said it is not typical New Orleans, but due to its notoriety, we wanted to see it anyway. It was definitely a party street, with lots of bars, strip clubs, food, and music. It sort of reminded me of the bawdy Las Vegas strip, but with more culture thrown in. They close the street at night so it's easy to walk.
Thursday was St. Patrick's Day, and the New Orleans website said they were going to have a parade and had a map of the parade route. It was supposed to start at 6, but the map showed several beer stops along the way, so we figured it might take a while to get to us.
We started walking from our hotel at 6:45 down the parade route, with the idea we'd try and find some dinner. People were lined up all along the sidewalks. One restaurant had an hour wait. Then I noticed the almost-empty balcony on the Hard Rock Cafe, and we went over to see if we could eat there. They said yes!
While we were waiting, we saw this cool banana bicycle-for-two go by. The parade watchers hooted and hollered. But alas, we were still in for a long wait for the real parade.
It was getting darker, but there was still traffic on the street below. We ate our dinner, and still no parade.
Emma was getting a little tired.
Darkness had fallen over the city, and yet still no parade. The crowd on the street grew. I was so glad we had decided to eat first!
Finally, about 9 p.m., some cops on motorcycles came by. Then a bunch of little dune buggies. They had beads, and the crowd swarmed them to get the beads. Then there was a long delay as we waited for a fire truck to get back to the nearby station.
The balcony gave us a great vantage point, and it wasn't crowded. That was good for us rural folks, who needed a little extra elbow room.
Finally the floats started coming, and Desert Boy wanted to get some beads, so I took him down to the street.
We saw this bagpipe band.
We also did quite well collecting beads. Some of them may make a reappearance at an upcoming parade in our area.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! The parade was a little different than others I've seen. Lots of people were walking and handing out beads. And drinking beer. I've never seen so many kegs in a parade. Or a port-a-potty. I guess that beer has to go somewhere.
Our last night we went out to dinner with friends and then took the free ferry across the Mississippi River. The city looked really neat.
Some of the feral cats that live under the ferry station. Someone feeds them, as there were several big bowls of food.
Grandmas and their grandbabies!
On the walk back from the ferry station we stopped to play in the fountain at the casino.
Ava was ready to get wet!
Emma and Isaac were content to hang out in their strollers.
Desert Boy and Ava were happy to play together.
They had fun goofing off.
And getting wet.
And getting wetter.
Finally it was time to leave.
It was a good time! There is still so much more of New Orleans that I'd like to visit.