Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July in New Orleans

Hey Ya'll. Cindy and I decided that we wanted to see more of the state of Louisiana before we left and regretted not seeing it all. So, with a 4 day weekend for the holiday, we decided to see some of the southern part of the state.

We drove down to Lafayette on Friday morning. It was a very pleasant drive. We got set up on the motel and then drove on into New Orleans. What a great town.

We got into New Orleans and then drove around looking for a place to park. It was crazy crowded for the holiday. Anyway, we parked and started walking. We ended up eating dinner there on Bourbon Street. We enjoyed a bit of Jambalaya. We spent some more time looking around then went to the riverfront to set up for the fireworks.

The fireworks was set up as "dueling barges". Two barges in the river, both shooting fireworks at the same time. It was a pretty cool, if very short, fireworks display.

After the fireworks, we grabbed a quick slice of pizza (which was awesome) and then spent a long time trying to get out of town due to the traffic.

Saturday, we went back to New Orleans and went down to the lower 9th Ward, the sight of all the Katrina flooding. While there were still some houses abandoned and boarded up, there was a lot of rebuilding going on and things are looking better than before.

While we were in town, we also visited one of the New Orleans cemeteries where everything is above ground. It was actually pretty cool.

After our sight seeing, we went back downtown to Bourbon street and had some lunch. It was great. More Jambalaya with andouille sausage and alligator sausage. Delicious!

Sunday was my day really. We went to Avery Island, home of Tabasco hot sauce! It's something I've been wanting to do for some time now. It was great. We got to tour the factory (no one was working at the time, though), sampled some of the sauces and other things. Believe it or not, they have Tabasco cola and two flavors of Tabasco ice cream. How weird is that? After the tour and the shopping, we took a tour of the Jungle Gardens. The inventor of Tabasco is also a conservationist and put aside 250 acres as a wildlife refuge and gardens. It was very beautiful. Below are some photos from the island.

As you can see, it was quite beautiful there. Of course, it wouldn't have been Louisiana without some of these critters all over the place.

The interesting thing about all of this was that there was no barrier between us and the alligators. Just a couple of warning signs. We were a bit surprised at one point. We were looking at some birds and taking pictures. As we stepped off the steps of the stand we were on, one of the alligators that we hadn't seen before was sunning himself at the waters edge. As we walked about 20 feet away from him, he quickly ran into the water and turned to watch us go. We had no idea he was there so when there was this flurry of activity and splashing water, well we both jumped pretty high. He was just a little guy, probably 2 to 3 feet long, so this was one of those cases where I truly believe he was more afraid of us than we were of him.

All in all it was a very good weekend. We had a blast. It just cemented in our minds how much we are going to miss Louisiana when we leave.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Recife Brazil!

Melissa received her mission call today. Recife Brazil! She sounded very excited this afternoon when she opened her call and said "I'm going to Brazil!" Cindy and I are both very excited. She will leave for the Sao Paulo Brazil MTC on October 22. This is very exciting. we are also looking forward to our trip to Utah this August. We want to go to the Temple with Melissa, and of course the Fail Family Reunion. Look forward to seeing ya'll then.