Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our annual road trip in fifty episodes, driven July 11-17, 2015, from Indianapolis to Louisville to Birmingham to New Orleans to Biloxi to Mobile to Monroeville to Montgomery to Nashville to home again. Our previous outtake gallery gave you one last look at our Alabama explorations. Here, then, in our grand finale: outtakes from everywhere and everything else we saw, with an emphasis on New Orleans, the ostensible centerpiece of our vacation. A few were alternate versions of previously shared pics; a few were skipped by dumb oversight; and a few were left behind due to insufficient pizzazz.
Throughout our drive from Indianapolis to New Orleans and back again, my wife took pics of each major metropolis as we passed through them. During our walks and our detours we found a few other neat vantage points that let us gaze upon these cities and wonder if the life bustling along their streets is that much different from our own. In most cases probably, but it was fun to contemplate.
Our final sixteen hours in New Orleans saw physically debilitating lows, frustration with the transitory nature of small businesses and mapping apps alike, a few new sights that came along at just the right time, and final encores with our favorite French Quarter sights before we bade farewell to Louisiana.
For this year’s scenic tour of the American South, even if everything else went wrong or turned out boring, we kept our hopes high that the cooking would prove to delight our senses and heap shame upon our own meager kitchen skills. On Day Four we found two restaurants — one a fine-dining restaurant, the other an open-air market booth — that delivered the goods and won the week.
The Louisiana State Museum is no single building, but rather a statewide aegis for several full-size museums and a few structures of historical significance. Over half are in New Orleans; one of those, the Old U.S. Mint, sits near the north end of the French Market. After lunch on Day Four we sped through three such locations bordering Jackson Square — two on either side of St. Louis Cathedral, the third nestled in one of the quaint strip malls, cleverly disguised as one of many gift shops.
The French Market strives to attract your attention for all your New Orleans souvenir needs, but French Quarter shopping and culture don’t end there. Across the street, around the block, art and commerce dot the sidewalks and lure in tourists starved for a change of pace from their milder, blander hometowns.
Day Four was spent walking here, there, everywhere around the French Quarter — gawking at random sights, browsing festive shops, learning history from museums, weaving through crowds, and trying our best to withstand the 90-degree heat that kept hammering at us all along the way. Fortunately a few places offered respite from melting.
Our first indoor stop on Day Four that wasn’t a restaurant was the grand St. Louis Cathedral, centerpiece of New Orleans’ Jackson Square and one of the oldest cathedrals in America. The outside id distinct in its own right, but the interior decorations and designs were impressive in their own right, even the parts identical to what you see in other, newer, more modest churches. There’s something about such a venerable structure that elevates even the most mundane details toward a greater spiritual presence.
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.
On the morning of our second full day in New Orleans, one of our first stops was St. Louis Cathedral. The majority of the structure dates back to 1850, with minute portions integrated from still older predecessors. It’s the centerpiece of Jackson Square (as you’ll notice in the preceding chapter), free for tourists to visit (donations are suggested), serves an active congregation, and remains the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.