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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jackson Square and St Louis Cathedral, New Orleans Lousiana

Now that I am back at work, one of my first assignments was to attend a national sales/training meeting in New Orleans, La. I was very excited by this because (as some of you know) Jan and I grew up in that wonderful old city. We spent a lot of "date time" at various eating and shopping places around the city, and we loved the French Quarter (though it has changed a lot since the '70's) for it's old-world architecture and great ambiance. We have not been back very many times since moving away, especially after Katrina devastated the city, but we do enjoy the visits when we are able to go.

Monday, being a US Holiday, was a travel day for my fellow sales reps and me. I purposefully booked the first available flight that day to NO in order to do some walking on my day of leisure. I did not have room for the "real" camera, but decided to take a chance on one of the disposable cameras available for $10 or so at many places near the hotel. The Westin, a fairly new hotel in the downtown area, is located close to the Mississippi River, and on the French Quarter side of Canal St. So, with new camera in hand I went on my first tour of New Orleans. I figured that it would be a good workout for my ankle.

Firstly, I apologize for the quality of the photos. I did the best I could with Photoshop to correct some lens distortion and grainy skies, but I didn't "enhance" the colors except to add some contrast and balance to the photos. Whatever mistakes I made with that, please understand I am still learning all about this.

That being said, I will concentrate this post on Jackson Square, about six blocks from the hotel. Jackson Square, St Louis Cathedral and the surrounding streets are probably the most instantly recogizable of the sights in the city of New Orleans. The number of tourists and locals that frequent that small square outnumber the traffic at almost all the other tourist stops in the city. You could miss many wonderful places in New Orleans and still feel like you had seen it, but no tour or trip to NO would be complete without seeing this landmark at least once. The two photos of St Louis Cathedral above were taken in Jackson Square, just between the gate and the statue of Andrew Jackson on his horse waving his famous hat in salute to the city.

Note added 2/15/08: I got this from a friend and wonder if it applies here. "If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes."

I will have to do some research on the life of Andrew Jackson! My recollection is that after his leadership at the Battle of New Orleans, he went on to be the President of the United States. We shall see if my memory is correct, I suppose...

The statue of Andrew Jackson is located in the middle of the square, and all paths lead to or at least past the statue. There are many open areas for walking or lounging (in warmer times) on the grass, playing frisbee or just enjoying the day. There are gardens and large old oak trees at the edges of the paths and along the wrought iron fences that border each side. In spring the flowers are quite beautiful, but in January there is less color in the lawns and flower beds. That certainly does not diminish the beauty and splendor of Jackson Square, just gives one something to come back for in a different season.

All around the outside of the fences surrounding the square are artists and musicians of every sort who spend their day drawing caricatures of tourists, or displaying their art hanging from the fences. There are all genres of art displayed, from the garish "modern" school, to the more traditional street views of the French Quarter during rain or night or day. The artists would not let me take photos of their work understandably, but I did enjoy seeing the great variety of work they were showing. I highly recommend you spend some time looking and listening. You will come away with a peacefulness and greater appreciation for the City that Care Forgot.

Finally, I will add a photo that my brother Bill took a couple of weeks ago on his trip to New Orleans to walk in the 101st Jackson Day Race January 6th 2008. Named after Andrew Jackson and finishing in (you guessed it) Jackson Square, the 5.5 mile (9k) race is the oldest continuing race in New Orleans, and was one of our grandfather George Mike Ziegler's favorite races. It must have been, because he won it more times than anyone has since then. For more information, visit the New Orleans Track Club's website at:

New Orleans Track Club Jackson Day Race Results 2008

Well, that was the first of my walking experiences in New Orleans. I hope you enjoyed my post. I will be posting other photos and stories about the rest of my walking day in the Crescent City in a few days. I hope your week is wonderful and prosperous!


PS One thing I didn't do that I wish I had, was eat beignets (delicious square donuts covered in powdered sugar) and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde, located just across the street from the square. I meant to get back, but the weather turned cold and rainy on me and I was not able to get there. A reason to go back for sure!

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