Sunday, December 9, 2012

DAY 109- New Orleans to Biloxi...

I woke up early to wonder around the French Quarter.  The only people I saw out were on their way to work, out doing their early morning runs, walking their dogs, or on their way home after a very long night.  The latter group threw me a quizzical look when I cheerfully wished them a good morning.  I think the hangovers were starting to set in.  The streets were wet and later as a street cleaner drove by on another street I saw why.  I think they wash the streets every morning here.  I imagine that otherwise there could be quite the “build-up” on these streets.  Shop owners were also hosing down the sidewalk areas too.
Photos- Cute little houses in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Photo- The front of the St. Pierre Hotel where I stayed in the French Quarter.
I walked over to the river area and walked along it for a while.  I then decided to be fair and compare Café de Monde’s beignet to the Café Beignet’s beignet.  So I sat at a table and ordered coffee and beignet from a paper hatted woman.  Well, truth be told, I think I like the Café Beignet’s beignet. (Try saying THAT five times fast. Ha!)  But I will say that the view from the Café de Monde is better.
Photo- A foggy misty morning along the Mississippi River near the French Quarter.
Photos- Beignets and coffee and below the view from Cafe de Monde of street artists that sale their wares.

After a coffee and beignet, I wandered around the French Quarter some more.  I was mostly window shopping; most of the places don’t open until 10AM and I was early by about 2 hours.  I went over to the French Market which is an outdoor open air market.  Some of those vendors were just barely starting to uncover or put out their goods.  I was amazed at how many little restaurants there were where you could get breakfast.   I just wandered around and window shopped.  I also admired some of the houses in the French Quarter.  I had heard the day before that the average home in the French Quarter went for $400 per square foot; very pricey and parking would be a REAL pain. 
Photo- The French Market within the French Quarter where you can pick up all sorts of things.
Photo- The Cornfield Fence Hotel where the original owner had
the fence put in to make his Iowan wife feel more at home in New Orleans.

I eventually wandered into a souvenir shop and got some postcards but couldn’t find a bumper sticker that I liked.  I was hoping to find a bumper sticker that said something unique like…”New Orleans We Put the FUN in Funerals!”  But I didn’t see anything like that but there were tons of Fleur de Lis in either the Saints football team colors or the Mardi Gras colors.  I was disappointed.  There were a lot of good things said on t-shirts but not much for bumper stickers. 

With my big purchase of two postcards, I wandered back to my hotel with about 25 minutes to spare before check out time.  I loaded up the car and then went to the front desk to see about getting my car out of the parking lot.  A hotel employee needed to move his car and then he offered to back my car out for me.  I took him up on that because frankly I suck at backing up.  I gave him and the other guy that did hand signals for him a little tip and I was off.

I drove over to the Garden District of New Orleans.  I just drove through the big houses with the tree lined streets.  It was a wonderful area but I was unsure as to where to park so I just took my time and drove through the area.  It made for a nice late morning drive.

Next, I found I-10 and started heading east towards Biloxi which would be the next stop on my BIG adventure.  I passed the state line announcing that I was now in Mississippi.  Wow!  It’s the first time I had been in this state!  Shortly after that there was a rest stop with a Mississippi Welcome Center.  I decided I would stop and see if I could get a brochure or information about different areas of the state. 

I walked into the center and was immediately welcomed.  There were people taking pictures, singing, dancing, and handing out treats with coffee.  There was a huge hanging sign announcing that Mississippi was showing its southern hospitality.  I walked through all this to a bank of brochures along a wall.  As I was looking at them a gal in a wheel chair asked if she could help me find something in particular.  I talked with her for a bit and she was very helpful.  She even suggested a back way to my hotel that would be more scenic; giving me a map in the process.  I left with brochures and the map; rather looking forward to checking out the area and possibly visiting more of the state.  It was a positive experience which surprised me.
Photo- The beach front about 10 miles south of Biloxi, MS.

Another 15 miles down the road and I found myself driving along a white sandy beach.  I stopped for a bit and just sat on a bench to admire the beach.  It was rather windy and a bit on the chilly side but it was a wonderful view to admire.  I eventually got to my hotel and got checked in.  I went out after a bit and just drove along in the city areas of Gulfport and Biloxi.  There were a few casinos along the shore and it looked like there was an Air force Base nearby.

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