At the end of Day Three, we first laid eyes upon Jackson Square when the sun was on its way out of sight. Some clouds had lingered after a light drizzle that had peppered the city while we were inside Mardi Gras World. The world generally looked gray everywhere we turned. Then we got a good night’s sleep, commenced Day Four, and walked into the idealized sky-blue morning you see above, beckoning us with its possibilities and begging for a photographic do-over.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
This year’s trip began as a simple idea: visit ostensibly scenic New Orleans. Indianapolis to New Orleans is a fourteen-hour drive. Between our workplace demands and other assorted personal needs, we negotiated a narrow seven-day time frame to travel there and back again. We researched numerous possible routes, cities, and towns to visit along the way in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. We came up with a long, deep list of potential stops, but tried to leave room for improvisation…
Before we got too carried away, we needed breakfast, and the Omni is the sort of high-class establishment that doesn’t offer a complimentary dried-out-mini-muffin buffet. After vetting a few nearby places online we left the hotel and for forgotten reasons settled on a 24/7 breakfast joint called Daisy Dukes. No, it’s not a Hooters ripoff.
The interior was narrow, shadowy, working-class coziness, which was fine by us. The modest TV was, as I recall, turned to the Game Show Network, rerunning competitions of decades past. I ordered their alligator omelet because that’s certainly something we don’t have back home in Indianapolis. I can’t say the alligator portions had a distinct flavor. For all I know, maybe alligator isn’t a special delicacy in New Orleans and you can buy it at the local grocery from the same shelf as Johnsonville Sausage. The important thing in my half-asleep state was that it tasted like omelet.
After we were sated, we decided to wander a few of the French Quarter blocks we hadn’t yet seen. Not far away was another breakfast place called Huck Finn’s Cafe that might’ve won our business if we’d known Gaston the Gator was waiting out front to say hi.
Plastered across someone’s gate was a large fleur-de-lis, a common French symbol of flowers, ancestry, and monarchy. We’ve seen it as a frequent decoration here and there, but some have also decided it’s deeply problematic. We don’t have these around much back either, so we hope everyone can forgive our ignorant lack of disgust.
Once more we found ourselves for a block along Canal Street, the DMZ between the French Quarter and the Central Business District. Our side of the road had a McDonald’s; theirs had a Sheraton Hotel with giant puppies on it.
Several independent shops are scattered all over the French Quarters, some more ready for business than others.
Due north of most of this was the great Jackson Square, one of the most splendid historic landmarks in the Quarter. As the days wear on, its crowds thicken with tourists like us and those who make a living off them in various capacities. When everyone’s still asleep or medicating their hangovers, the plants and trees try to shine before they’re forgotten in the background again.
In the center of the block is a statue of its namesake, Andrew Jackson, proud hero of the Battle of New Orleans — a Revolution turning point we’d hear more about later in the day, led by a future U.S. President we’d learn more about later in the week.
If and when you’re ready to leave Jackson Square, a horse-drawn buggy will happily take you somewhere else for a price. We didn’t check their listings, but as narrow as the Quarter streets are, they’re probably a wiser option than taxis.
Healthy competition ensures a wide selection of horses and carriages for discerning consumers to compare, test, and review on TripAdvisor.
Not many street musicians were up ‘n’ about at 9 a.m., but this trombonist was the most diligent of all, beating the competition to those park benches and adding a welcome jazz ambiance to the backdrop.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]