We got up and left east Texas, headed for New Orleans. Beverly and Jerry had been there 16 years ago for a NEA convention. We were there for a week, which was too long. We didn't plan on returning but thought that since it is one of America's great cities we should take the girls there. Above Baton Rouge we stopped to take a swamp tour. We went out on a pontoon boat with several other people and saw the wildlife of Louisiana. We saw some white egrets and other water birds, but the big excitement was in seeing some alligators. We saw two, one which dived under the water and one which stuck around to have some snacks from the boat. The boat captain brought some bread, and a few pieces were tossed at the alligator. It came close enough to the boat so that we could all have a good look.
The landscape was also interesting. Most of the Cypress trees had been cut down over a hundred years ago because the wood was great for building; it was really strong and didn't rot. But these trees take hundreds of years to grow back, so in many places you could see nothing but stumps. Where the trees were going, they were very pretty. The Spanish Moss hanging from the trees was also neat. The 60-year-old man giving us our swamp tour said that his family used the moss to stuff pillows and such when he was a child.
Afterwards we ate a Cajun meal. We had an appetizer that included a few crawfish, catfish, shrimp, and alligator. The gator was quite spicy. We also ate poorboys. In New
Orleans they are called Po Boys, but we would call them sandwiches on sub rolls. From there we drove about two and a half hours into the French Quarter, where Beverly got us a great room at a Holiday Inn. Prices are good because tourism is down.
A few notes on the state of Texas. They love to fly the Lone Star flag. We saw more of those than the American flag. They also seriously use the phrase, "Don't mess with Texas." I thought it was originally a joke from the television show Saturday Night Live, but it was on signs that involved not throwing trash, etc.