New Orleans

After leaving Loranger, we had a quick 1 hour drive to Bayou Segnette State Park Campground. Located across the river from New Orleans, it is a short 20 minute drive to our friends’, Edmond and Philip’s house, near Bayou St. John. Our plan for the Memorial Day weekend, was to have some nice dinners, get in a couple of bike rides and generally have a low key weekend. Bill and I were neither one ready for the craziness that can be the Quarter on a holiday weekend.

After getting set-up at camp, I drove into Metairie for a lab test and, after that, into New Orleans to pick up Philip. Edmond drove, after work, directly to Bayou Segnette. After a quick stop at the store, Philip and I headed to camp, and the four of us spent a quiet evening enjoying a nice pasta dinner accompanied by good wine and conversation. It was nice to catch up. We have been friends with Philip and Edmond since the early nineties, having met at a Gay Naturist gathering in the Poconos.

The following morning, we drove into New Orleans, met Philip and Edmond at their house. Bill and Edmond planned to visit some estate sales, while Philip and I would get in a nice bike ride. I let Philip choose the route. We head out Bayou St. John into New Orleans City Park, then along the lake front to New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

New Orleans Lakefront Airport Terminal is an Art Deco building constructed in the early 1930s. Originally named Shushan Airport, after Huey Long ally, Abraham Shushan, the airport served as New Orleans’ commercial airport until Moisant International opened in 1946. The airport retains its original code NEW and that is why when you travel to New Orleans today, you see MSY on your boarding passes and luggage tags.

In front of the airport is the Fountain of the Four Winds by New Orleans artist, Enrique Alférez. The design was controversial. All four statues are nudes, but the anatomically correct male, North Wind, caused the most concern with some of the local politicians. The Director of the local WPA ordered Alferéz to chisel it off, saying, “I am not going to let my men go out there and stand in front of that indecent thing, the man with is ding dong hanging out.” Apparently the appeal to save the statue’s penis went all the way to President Roosevelt. Ironically, in 1991, at 90 years old, Alférez was asked to restore the statue. Some prudish vandal had taken a hammer to North Wind’s privates.

Unfortunately, the Fountain fell into disrepair and was badly damaged by Katrina. However, a grant from FEMA and a fundraising effort by the Friends of the Airport, the Fountain is being restored and should be, soon, functional again.

After leaving Lakefront Airport, we rode along the Lake Pontchartrain lakeshore, to the New Canal Lighthouse. Built in 1855 as a replacement to the original lighthouse, the New Canal Lighthouse was built where a, now long gone, canal used to meet the lake. The lighthouse has recently been restored after damage done by Katrina and is now open to the public

The photos show the Katrina damaged lighthouse, actually resting on the beach and the fully restored one, back up on the seawall where it had been, and Philip and me in a selfie.

After the lighthouse, Philip and I made our way back through City Park, down Esplanade to the Quarter and out St. Charles Avenue, to meet Bill and Edmond for lunch at New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood. After lunch, Philip and I rode on to Audubon Park, took a couple laps around the park oval, then retraced our ride back through the Quarter and then back to Philip and Edmond’s house. It was a very nice, almost 45 mile, ride, all within the City of New Orleans.

The Strava Link for this ride is

That evening, we dined at Santa Fe Fe Cafe, a neighborhood restaurant. They had a nice menu and the food was good, but if you were expecting some Northern New Mexico cuisine, you would be disappointed.

On Sunday, the four of us took a trip up river to the Ormond Plantation Manor House. Certainly less grand than its up river neighbors Oak Alley and San Francisco, Ormond was a typical working plantation, a French Colonial-style, Creole-inspired plantation house that was built in the late 18th century using bricks between cypress studs. This type of construction, called briquettes entre poteaux or brick between posts, was used on the front and rear walls with a type of adobe filling on the sides. Rounded cement and brick columns supported the front veranda or gallery with wood columns on the second floor supporting the roof. Ormond was built in 1789 by sugar baron Pierre Trepagnier, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1798. 

On Monday, Memorial Day, all four of us planned a bike ride, some of it would be a repeat of what Philip and I rode on Saturday. We started early enough to ride to breakfast. We chose Two Chick’s Cafe, located in the CBD (Central Business District), just a few blocks across Canal Street and the Quarter. Two Chick’s is a popuar place, and, as expected, we had to wait 15 or so minutes to be seated. We were lucky, when we left the wait appeared to be 4 or5 times that. I cannot tell you what the others had for breakfast, because mine was so good I didn’t pay attention to anyone else. I had creamed grits topped with two poached eggs, sautéed vegetables and andouille sausage.Yummy! After breakfast we headed out St. Charles to Audubon Park. We rode the oval and stopped by the band stand for a water and photo op break..

After our time in Audubon Park we head back toward the Quarter. Trying to see something different, we rode mostly on Prytania Street, which parallels St. Charles one block riverside, all the way in. As we crossed Melpomene, I asked that we turn left. On the left in the first block is the duplex we lived in, in 1959-1960, when I was in first grade.

The bedrooms were upstairs. Mom and Dad had the corner room with two windows. Keith and I had the rear room, with one window. And, at that time, what is now a parking lot, was another similar duplex and my view out the window, was that house, only a couple of feet away. My memories from this house are the first that I can recall consistently. Prior to that, my memories are sporadic and may also be influenced by the many reels of 8 mm home movies my Dad had.

After the Melpomeme house we headed down to the riverfront, rode along the walk, at the edge of the Quarter, passing Jax Brewery, Jackson Square and the Fench Marketplace, all places we have visited previously and not inclined to do so again on a holiday weekend.

We rode on into the Bywater and up onto the ramp into Crescent Park. From there we had great view toward Downtown.

We then headed back to Philip and Edmond’s, drove back to camp for a little nap and quality time with Mouse. Later that evening we would go back into New Orleans and out to dinner, so I could have New Orleans Monday special, Red Beans and Rice.

Here is the Strava Link to this ride

So, that wraps up New Orleans for this trip. Arguably a low key affair, but that was by design. The great news was the weather: no rain, cool temperatures and partly cloudy, perfect for riding and other outdoor activities.

Next up: Slidell and The Tammany Trace.

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