Friday, December 6, 2013

NOLA Day Three

After another hearty breakfast, I wanted to check out the New Orleans City Park.  Truth be told, all the good food was literally weighing on me, and bicycle riding seemed to be a good way to both burn calories and see the city.  The vast City Park is 50% larger than NYC's Central Park, and apparently is also one of the most visited in the country.  I hopped back on my bicycle, making sure with our host that the tire had been patched, and then off I went.

The color and personality of the everyday houses continued to strike me as I headed north.  The hurricane may have hurt the city, but the Big Easy was definitely trying to come back.

I passed by some monuments, the significance of which I know nothing, as well as a church with a very interesting theme.  I dubbed it the Dr. Seuss Church of Sam I Am.

The weather had really cleared up from the prior day, and the warmer air made for a very pleasant ride.  About midway to the park, I came across another cemetery.  Compared to Lafayette, this one was much larger, and appeared more modern.  Taking a closer look, I discovered many of the tombs were indeed quite recent, but some still dated back centuries.  The modern ones tended to be more ornate, and frankly a bit gaudy (no disrespect intended).

I soon arrived at the park entrance.  The park was certainly huge, but for me it lacked the character of many other city parks.  Perhaps City Park was a good use of urban green space, but I found it fairly non-descript otherwise.

The sculpture garden within the park was the exception.  I spent a good hour just walking around.  Some sculptures were beautiful, some were ugly, some were famous, some were strange, but most still made you look and contemplate.

This one reminded me of the one in Roppongi Hills.

And then there were others that were simply bizarre.

I knew I wanted to go back to the Garden District for lunch.  The bike ride there provided further views into the city.  Some areas were visually stunning and had clearly recovered fully from Katrina's devastation, while other neighborhoods were still being demolished and just now beginning their recovery phase.

Even within a single neighborhood, I found decaying homes next door to ones (although very tiny) that had been rebuilt.  As the sign on the first photo indicates, the real estate market in NOLA is very much of a grass roots affair post-Katrina.  Note also that the new home is actually two addresses!

I had lunch at Coquette, back in the Garden District.  I enjoyed their three course prix fixe lunch, which also had the benefit of being good deal.  The entrée was delicious, and the dessert was a nice touch.  Once again, I had found another restaurant to recommend.

Afterwards, I headed back to get ready for my afternoon obligations.  This being New Orleans, I found street musicians on nearly every corner, and I stopped by one combo to listen to them groove.  New Orleans' nickname, the Big Easy, reflects the gentle and laid back approach to life here.  Standing there, straddling my bike listening to this very amateur but very enthusiastic jazz session, I reminded myself to take it easy as well.

I love Italian food.  While the southern style food in NOLA had been very good thus far, I started craving some pasta, tomato sauce, and good red wine.  I checked out the reviews, and booked a table at an Italian place in the French Quarter.  I don’t recall the name, but it was good and scratched my itch.

After dinner, I hung at Buffa’s, where an all female trio rocked the night away.

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