Since my retirement I’ve joined a number of groups that offer travel and educational experiences. I believe this helps keep me young at heart.

I signed up for a week long trip to New Orleans, Louisiana with The Cedar Park Senior Circle. I was really looking forward to seeing how New Orleans (NOLA) had recovered from the devastating 2005 hurricane, Katrina. It was with an organization called Diamond Tours and I was very disappointed with them.

We left Cedar Park in a comfortable tour bus at 7:30 AM on April 10th. There were 36 people in our tour and they seemed like a pretty adventurous group. We drove 400 miles the first day and spent the night in Lafayette LA. The next day we had a great breakfast at the hotel then left for NOLA at 9:30 and got there at around 10:30.

Lilly, our bus driver, dropped us off at the French Quarter. Beatrice and I walked 2 ½ blocks together to a store that had a food court for a relatively inexpensive lunch. After eating we walked around a bit and visited shops. I bought a camera for $150 and some pralines. My legs got a good work out from all of the walking.

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I got a good picture of the group with my new camera on the steps at the French Quarter before we left at 3:00.

We checked into the Hotel 504 at 3:30 in NOLA. The rooms were alright, but we learned the next day that their continental breakfasts were horrible.

That evening we had a nice dinner at the American Sector of the World War II museum. It was included in the price of the trip.

On the 12th we left the hotel at 9:00 for a tour of the Destrehan Plantation. By the time we got there it was pouring rain. A man from our group walked with me holding an umbrella so I made it into the main house and stayed there while some of the others did a walking tour of the plantation in the rain. I checked out the house which was set up nicely and looked through the gift shop. The people that went on the tour came back sopping wet and muddy.

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In the afternoon we went to the French Market for lunch. There was very little walking there and the rain had stopped. Part of the area was like a farmers market. That evening we attended a dinner party at the Boomtown Casino. They had some guys that told us about the area which was interesting but the dinner wasn’t very good; the steak was tough and the fish dried out. I spent an hour playing video poker, which was fun even though I lost $20.

On Wednesday the 13th we left the hotel at 9:30 to go to Harrah’s Casino. That wasn’t inviting for me beings my son lives in Las Vegas, but I played video poker again for an hour. We ate lunch there.

In the afternoon we went on a 2 hour cruise aboard the SS Natchez Steamboat. It was relaxing and enjoyable. We heard how important New Orleans was in the Civil War and saw some beautiful houses.

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That evening we had a wonderful dinner at the WestBank Grill in Westwego LA. I had the grilled fish.

Thursday was a really enjoyable day. We left the hotel at 9:00 to go to the World War II museum. We walked around and saw a lot of historical exhibits with details about different battles. The really fascinating part was a video which lasted about an hour. The chairs we were sitting in would move, vibrate, jiggle, halt etc, so we felt like we were in a submarine, a tank or a building being bombed etc. It really gave me the impression of being involved in what we were seeing.

After we left the museum, we were taken back to the French Quarter for lunch, I was getting a little tired of the French Quarter.

After lunch we went on a guided tour of New Orleans from 2:30 to 4:30. It was a really good tour that we should have had when we first arrived in the city so we could have made plans to return to places we found interesting. We heard a lot about the destruction created by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and saw some of the reconstruction. It was an inspiring tour that show us the determination of population and the kindness of their neighboring cities. We also toured a place where they make floats for Mardi- Gras. I got some photos which are below.

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We had dinner at Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company in NOLA, it’s famous from the movie ‘Forrest Gump’ and the food was pretty good. We then went back to the French Quarter AGAIN and stayed there 2 hours.

We left the hotel at 9:00 AM on Friday the 15th to travel to Lafayette LA. After eating lunch we went to the Acadian Village. (Picture below) It was settled in1764 after the Acadians left Nova Scotia. They were originally from France but they had mingled with the Indians in Canada and developed their own language. It was an interesting place to walk around. We spent the night in Lafayette and headed for home the next morning at 8:30. It was an enjoyable trip.

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