We flew down to New Orleans to stay with D&S for Christmas. M&N were joining us on Christmas Eve, so we had some time beforehand to collect stuff for our Christmas Day festivities. D&S had to work up to Christmas Eve, so we walked all around the area, taking the St Charles tram, too, some days. We explored all of Magazine Street, seeing all the quirky signs, the Mardi Gras bead decorations, sampling coffee and cakes at lots of establishments and enjoying the warmer weather than we had left behind in Guildford. We even went carol singing in Jackson Square.
S planned to cook a special French Christmas Eve dinner for us all when M&N arrived, which we all looked forward to, but Delta let them down and bumped them from their connecting flight. This meant they arrived late on Christmas Eve, utterly shattered. S’s dinner was not wasted, though and we had beautiful boeuf en croute albeit without the other two. Christmas Day brought presents to open round the tree, then, as the turkey quietly roasted, we had a short walk. We found the house with all the bear decorations and decided we must come back to see it in the dark. D’s big surprise for us all was tickets for the Game on Boxing Day evening. This was between the Saints (Who Dat?) and the Atlanta Falcons. We rounded the day off, having eaten lots of turkey and Christmas pudding by walking around the amazing Christmas decorated houses on St Charles and the area in general, including the Bear house, too.
On Boxing Day we went downtown and collected a ‘small bus’ that we would all fit into and met up with M&N who had taken the tram down to the French Quarter for some sightseeing. It was so wet, that we dived into one of the little jazz bars, the Spotted Cat Music Club and listened to some jazz while sipping margaritas and beers. But we had to brave the elements to get to the stadium. Once inside, it is all inside – the Superdome is completely covered and the pitch is made of special artificial grass. It was all so friendly and people were pleased to help us understand the rules. Fans from both sides sat together, and some gently teasing went on, but nothing too serious – a real family atmosphere. We had a selection of traditional snacks to keep us going during the match along with local beers and generally had a great night out – especially as the Saints won.
The next day we went off to walk in the Barataria bayou area. Here there are boardwalks through the swamp with plenty of wildlife to spot on the way. It was a beautiful day and we saw lots of creatures from butterflies and lizards to birds of prey and egrets. The Spanish moss wafted in the breeze and turtles sunned themselves on the trunks of trees. As soon as it was dark, we drove over to the Botanical Gardens where they had a light show. It was very busy, but once inside the crowd spread out and we could see all the amazing illuminations that covered most of the area.