Wednesday, February 22
There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep to get one revved up once more for another day of fun and good times, and so it was as we started Wednesday with a guided tour around various sections of New Orleans. Having a tour guide join the bus group made for an educational experience and a greater appreciation for the history of New Orleans.
At the conclusion of the two-hour tour, we arrived at the French Market and had lots of time to walk about and browse and purchase from so many different vendors with the various kinds of items prominently on display. Carolyn and I took a break for lunch at one of the sandwich/muffuletta storefronts, and enjoyed eating in the open air among the busy market place.
Of course, my major purchase at the market was a New Orleans French Quarter ball cap. Ball caps are pretty much the standard items I buy when visiting a new place. (Before this road trip would end, I would have several more added to my burgeoning collection of hats!)
By 1:30, we’d had our fill of the French Market, and it was time to return to the bus waiting nearby for our next stop at the National World War II Museum, of which I’d heard endless positive comments previously. I couldn’t wait to get there, despite the limited amount of time we were faced with.
Once checked in, we walked through at our own pace to the various “theaters” of the War, and I realized that one truly needed an entire day (probably more) to see and appreciate everything the museum has to offer. We sort of had to keep an eye on the clock, also, for our appointment in the Solomon Victory Theater to see the museum’s production of the documentary Beyond All Boundaries. This moving and excellent production was well worth the wait, and anyone visiting New Orleans should be sure to pay this museum a visit to view it.
Our dinner afterwards was in the museum itself, in a large auditorium, the Stage Door Canteen. In fact, many historic photos of celebrities from the WWII Era were prominently displayed on the walls.
During dinner, plans were being bandied about regarding hanging around downtown during the evening to view one of the many pre-Mardi Gras parades. Tonight’s parade was going to be the Druid Parade. I wasn’t sure what that was all about, but suffice it to say that it all means something in the culture of Mardi Gras.
As it turned out, a great viewing point nearby at General Lee Circle seemed to be our best option. Plus, the bus driver agreed to find somewhere nearby to park and wait until things were over with later in the evening, so the quickly laid plans were moving forward.
We walked a couple of blocks and were early enough to grab a place right by the traffic barriers surrounding the circular area—an excellent spot for watching the floats and bands as they passed by tossing beads and coins to the eager folks of all ages!
It was a wonderful evening, and I enjoyed the event, but I was ready to call it a night when the parade finally concluded. There were, however, some folks who chose to keep the evening festivities going and would get back to the hotel via Uber. The rest of us would hike back to the bus parked in front of the museum and head back to the hotel.
Riding back in the quiet of the bus, I thought back on the past few days and nights we’d spent in New Orleans and couldn’t believe that the next day would be our last full day to enjoy it all. There were many things we’d done already, but tomorrow would be our last opportunity to “catch up” on anything we’d not done yet. Thinking of that, I looked forward to another good sleep to get revved up and recharged once more.