Tag Archives: Louisiana

A-Z Archive: N! Challenge…NOLA, New Orleans!

This week’s topic for our “A-Z Archive” photo challenge: the “N” archive: introduce one photo of your archive with a “N” Keyword. – I’m sure you’ll find a picture: tag with “A-Z Archive” and put a link on your page to FrizzText, so we’ll get a trackback-list including your post!

This picture was taken on a weekend trip to NOLA in August of 2011.  We were standing on Royal Street looking East towards the Business District located on Canal Street.  It is a great contrast of the 1800’s Spanish influenced architecture and modern New Orleans

Some of my favorite things about NOLA are the balconies,

the alleyways

and the courtyards…not to mention all of the great live music and delicious food!

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Filed under A-Z Archive Challenge, Blogging Challenges, NOLA, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots, Weekly Photo Challenge

Alligators…

 

Another WordPress Challenge…2012’s Blogging from: A to Z April ChallengeThe American Alligator is the largest reptile in North America. Louisiana has the largest alligator population, approaching 2 million.  Alligators can be found living in lakes, ponds, canals, rivers, swamps and bayous.  Most of Louisiana’s alligator population is found in coastal marshes.  These cold-blooded creatures are often seen basking in the sun warming their bodies before returning to the water to hunt their prey.  They will hunt anytime but particularly at night where they are better adapted. 

On a personal note…Alligators scare the hell out of me.  This guy was no exception!  This picture was taken in October 2011 while on a swamp tour during a family reunion. 

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Music Moves Me…Louisiana Christmas Day

Music Moves Me…Louisiana Christmas Day Video is as close as this nolagirlatheart will get to being home for Christmas.  This song is sung by Aaron Neville a native of New Orleans, Louisiana.  I thought the pictures chosen by LaLeroux captured the essence of a New Orleans Christmas; the St.Charles Streetcar, The Balconies, The Horse Drawn Carriage, The River Road Bonfires, The Alligator Santa Clause and Mr. Bingle the Maison Blanche department store icon and the St. Louis Cathedral.   It all reminds me of my beloved NOLA.

Joyeux Noel de Cajun!!!

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Louisiana Christmas Tradition…Lighting of the Bonfires

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood in Louisiana…however, this particular memory is not specific to me or my family alone.  This memory is shared with thousands of South Louisiana Families.  It is the lighting of the Christmas Eve Levee Bonfires

Once few in number, the local bonfires were originally a neighborhood or family oriented activity. Now they line the levee for miles and attract thousands of visitors.  The event has had local and national television coverage and has been featured in metropolitan newspapers and magazinesThrough the years, there has been an intermingling of facts and fantasies concerning the origin of the bonfire tradition.

One of the more recent and increasingly popular explanations is that the bonfires were a “Cajun tradition”, first used to light the way for “Papa Noel”, the Cajun version of Santa Claus. This charming version, although improbable, has been depicted annually in front of a Paulina, LA business establishment where a levee scene shows “Papa Noel” with his pirogue drawn by alligators named Gaston, Ninette, “Te-Boy”, Celeste, Suzette, etc.

The building of the each bonfire takes dozens of individuals and weeks to assemble.  There is an official announcement made around 7pm on Christmas Eve giving the go ahead to light the bonfires which happens simultaneously.  The bonfires light up the Mississippi River and burn for hours and some will burn into the wee hours of Christmas morning.  Friends and family gather together to wait and watch for Papa Noel to make his way along the river making his deliveries to all of the good little children. 

I hope this YouTube video will give you a glimpse into the Louisiana Christmas Tradition…Lighting of the Bonfires!  Joyeux Noel!!!

Information gathered from St James Parish home page.

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Louisiana Swamp Tour

Louisiana Swamp Tour

This past weekend was the family reunion for my Mom’s side of the family.  There were 37 family members and friends in attendance.  We began our reunion day with a Louisiana swamp tour.  The weather was cool and breezy which was great for us but it limited the wildlife experience. 

I grew up in swamp country.  My paternal Grandparents raised 9 children on the bayou we toured.  I played with my cousins, fished and crabbed on the banks of Bayou Manchac.  The tour company was doing a brisk business on this October weekend.  It was great to see so many people taking an interest in the bayou way of life. 

There were alligators aplenty but the stiff breeze kept the birds and water fowl hidden from view.  This was a bit disappointing because Louisiana is called the Sportsman Paradise and is home to hundreds of different bird species. 

Here are few pictures of our morning spent on the bayou…As I mentioned there were plenty of gators for the tourists.  The alligator found in Louisiana is the American alligator.  It has remained almost unchanged since the Cretaceous period. Louisiana has the largest alligator population.

Louisiana Swamp Tour...American Alligator

There are an estimated 1 million alligators living in the Louisiana swamps. The American Alligator lives in freshwater environments such as ponds, wetlands, marshes and swamps.  The American alligator will grow to be an average of 13′ long and weigh as much as 800 pounds.  Large male alligators are solitary territorial animals. When a female alligator is mature enough to reproduce she will build a nest of decomposing vegetation during the summer months.  The decomposing vegetation creates heat and the heat inside the nest determines the sex of the alligators.  The mother will defend the nest from predators and assist the newly hatched babies into the water.  The babies will remain with the mother until they are about 18 months old.    Smaller gators like the one in the picture are more tolerant of being in close proximity to other gators.  However, the larger alligator of the group will defend prime territory. 

 The jaw muscles of an alligator are extremely powerful.  However, the muscles that open the jaw are much weaker in comparison.  An adult human can hold an alligator’s mouth closed with a bare hand.  Alligators main prey is smaller animals that can be eaten in one bite. Alligators are typically timid creatures and will avoid humans.  However, when humans feed animals in the wild they begin to associate humans with food.  This will eventually will cause the animal to lose its fear of the humans and can become a greater danger. 

Our swamp tour was on Bayou Manchac near what was once the fishing village of Frenier.  Frenier was a fishing village that during the late 1800’s grew to be home to more than 300 residents. The black storm (hurricane) of 1915 destroyed the village and killed most of the residents.  The survivors soon abandoned the village.  Today Frenier is home to 75 full-time residents and 12 part-time residents.

Louisiana Swamp Tour

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Filed under Nature, postaweek2011, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots

NOLA…

This is a view looking up Royal Street towards the Greater New Orleans Business District.  The contrast of old and new…modern skyscrapers are the back drop to the texture of the 18th century spanish influenced french quarter architecture. 

 New Orleans is the proverbial melting pot of culture.  Originally settled by the French in 1718, the Spanish took control of the city in 1768. In 1800 Spain and France signed a secret treaty and Louisiana was given back to France. In 1803 Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.

NOLA survived two major fires with in 6 years of one another.  The first fire was on Good Friday in 1788 and destroyed 856 of the 1100 existing buildings.  The second fire was on December 8 of 1794 and destroyed an additional 212 buildings.  Therefore almost all of the original french architecture was destroyed with the exception of a handful of buildings, one of which is Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (blog to follow).  After the fires, the city was re-built in the Spanish style with bricks, firewalls, iron balconies and courtyards.  This is the NOLA we all know and love today!

One of the best websites I have come across is http://www.inetours.com/New_Orleans/French_Quarter_History.html.  Here is an excerpt from their site;

“The absolute best way to experience the New Orleans French Quarter is by taking a walking tour. 

Visitors might want to keep in mind that, the French Quarter is a neighborhood with private homes and other residences and the grocery stores, restaurants, banks, police station and other services that support communities.

This community just happens to be one of the most visually interesting in America and of significant historic importance.  Many of the over 35,000 buildings in New Orleans listed on the National Register of Historic Places are in the French Quarter.”

Just a bit of advice from a nola girl at heart is when in NOLA avoid the obvious…avoid the bus tour and take the horse-drawn carriage ride its much more personal.   Stop in one of the many locally owned antique stores or art galleries and ask the owner where she prefers to have lunch.  Take a chance on a small cafe that uses traditional ingredients with a new interesting spin.  Take the time to talk to the Locals and you will get a feel for the real NOLA and maybe even make a friend or two.  New Orleanians are gregarious by nature and are never in too big a hurry to stop and speak to somone passin’ by.

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A Rose-Colored Memory…

Have you ever taken a trip down memory lane?  I don’t know about you but my trips are far more romantic in nature than the reality ever was.  Everything is remembered through rose-colored glasses.  The house was bigger, the trees were taller, the colors were brighter and of course the people were younger.   However, when I have had the opportunity to actually stop by the place remembered, it turns out that memories are usually a far cry from reality.

My Memory!

My Dad grew up on the bayou with his Parents and three brothers and five sisters.  He and my Mom met in highschool, married and moved to the city.  I grew up a city girl, but I spent plenty of time on the bayou. 

One of my Uncles and his family lived on the bayou when I was growing up.  It was a wide meandering slow-moving bayou surrounded by swampy marshland, two lakes and a river.   I spent plenty of  time with my cousins along the banks of that bayou;  fishing, crabbing and playing. 

The old house was sandwiched between the bayou and the railroad tracks.   The house had a screened in porch and was tall enough for someone to walk under.  During the summer months we slept with the windows open and I would lay awake listening to the lonesome sound of the train whistle and the  splash of the fish on the water. 

At night the swamp would come alive with the sounds of nocturnal critters moving around and the glowing red eyes of the gators as they searched for their evening meal.  And sometimes I would scare myself thinking about what else might be lurking out there in the swamp.

Reality!

Recently, I was in NOLA for an extended weekend.  My husband and I decided to take a little detour from our route just to see what we might see.  I could hardly believe that it had been 20 years since my last visit to this place where I spent a wonderful part of my childhood.

My cousins still own the house but now it is referred to as “The Camp”.  The house is much smaller than I remember.   The only person that might be able to walk under it would be a two-year old and the screened porch has been enclosed. 

The bayou seems much more narrow and not nearly as mysterious as I remember it.  There are twice as many homes or camps on the bayou these days.  I noticed that the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has taken up residence in the area.  And I couldn’t help but also notice that there were several homes and camps that were destroyed by the most recent hurricanes.   But life on the bayou continues today much as it did all those years ago when I was a little girl living, laughing and loving my time spent on the bayou.

It was quite, not too much happening on this particularly hot August afternoon.  The place was incredibly peaceful not a soul in sight.  There wasn’t a breeze to be had and the water on the bayou was as smooth as glass. And although it doesn’t look very much like I remember it…it sure was a sight to see!

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Filed under family, Life..such as it is, NOLA, postaweek2011

The Travelers Rule!

We, there were 24 of us,  just recently returned from an extended stay in my hometown of Historic New Orleans. Before I go any further let me just say that I do not recommend a trip to New Orleans in August.  Not only is the heat oppressive but the humidity is so high it feels as though the air is dripping without a drop of rain in sight. 

Even with the extreme temperatures the heat was in no way a deterrent for “passing a good time”.  Most of the group flew into the New Orleans International Airport and that is where their “only in NOLA”experience began.  Their courtesy bus driver was a true New Orleanian and welcomed them to the city with authentic southern hospitality.  The commute from the airport to the downtown hotel left them with plenty of stories to share for the days and weeks to come. Even a NOLAgirlatheart such as myself learned a new NOLA catch phrase from their colorful self-appointed tour guide…”Ya heard Me?!!”  It typically comes after a sentence and is meant to make sure you understand so as to not require repeating of the same information more than once.  “Ya heard me!”

This was mine and my husbands first trip with this group of bring the fun with you, try anything once, fun-loving group of travelers.  Almost immediately upon arriving at the hotel a “text-group” was set up so that we could all stay in touch.  This turned out to be an exceptional way to communicate with such a large group of individuals with such diverse agendas for the trip to NOLA.  At any given moment we would receive a text message announcing a group was meeting in the lobby at a designated time for a particular outing.  Some may be heading off to try their luck at the casino, others would be heading out for a bite to eat, to shop or take a dip in the pool.  Everyone was invited to join in on every activity.  However, the choice was yours.  A meeting time and place was announced, a grace period was extended and then the group was off, with or without you, no worries!

It is obvious that this group of traveling friends really enjoys one another and they did manage to come together as a group at least once a day to try a new restaurant, take in a historical tour or even  stop and enjoy the rich culture of the area; appreciating the incredible architecture, the art galleries or the live entertainment! 

However, if you found that the group had chosen an activity that did not suit your taste or even if the group was moving too slow for you, you were free to follow the one and only rule that the group has…don’t get mad, just move on…choose your own path…bid the group adieu… and you are off either on your own or with a friend or two in tow. 

This is the best advice any group of traveling friends can adopt.  It will certainly save hours and hours of trying to decide on one activity that will appeal to all of the travelers at the same time, which by the way is virtually an impossible task.   Also, it allows for you to choose from a variety of activities with a diverse group of individuals at any given time of the day or night.  You will be a happier traveler and so will your traveling companions.  Not to mention that when everyone is back together the conversation will be like a big pot of NOLA gumbo full of color, spice and flavor.

Remember…there is only ONE Rule…LIVE…LAUGH…ENJOY LIFE…or NOT, its your choice!

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Filed under Life..such as it is, NOLA, postaweek2011, Travel, Weekend Getaways and Vacation Spots

A door for Jeanne (via NOLA Details)

I would like to introduce you to one of my blogging buddies over at NOLA Details.

This is a photo blog that highlights the wonderful architecture of my beloved New Orleans from a pedestrians point of view.

 I moved away from NOLA in 1984. In a small way this blog helps me stay connected with my roots.

I hope you enjoy visiting NOLA as much as I do.

EnJOY!

A door for Jeanne A lot of homes in New Orleans have beautiful leaded glass doors, and they’re especially lovely at night. I took this photo walking back from the park last night and thought of Jeanne, who asked for door photos. I love the pattern of overlapping circles on these doors, and I’m also fascinated by the way this nighttime photo somehow makes the scene look miniaturized – doesn’t this almost look like a photo of a dollhouse? … Read More

via NOLA Details

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“you like me…you really like me”

In the words of Sally Fields…”you like me, you really like me”, is all I could think of when my friend Elizabeth over at Mirth and Motivation so kindly bestowed upon me my very first blogging award.  It is a simple thing, kind of silly in a way, but it definitely brightened up my day.  Sometimes we need a little silly in our lives!

As with any award you might receive there are rules to claiming and keeping your prize.  Originally the rules were to share 7 things about yourself and then choose deserving bloggers and bestow upon them the Versatile Blogger Award. I have decided to follow these rules but those of you whom I have nominated may amend them anyway you like.

So here are a few things you might care to know about me or not:

1.  I was born in 1961

2. I was born in Louisiana

3.  I am married to my best friend

4. I love the rain, especially a rainy, windy thunder-storm

5. I collect Junk…American Made

6. I love coffee shops, the locally owned ones

7. My one year blogoversary is Saturday March 26, 2011

Here are a few blogs that I follow and each of these ladies certainly deserve the Versatile Blogger  Award.   They are dedicated to their craft.  They are thoughtful and insightful!  They encourage and inspire!    They motivate and support the blogging community.   They are incredible individuals who I am pleased to call my blogging buddies.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit their blogs I hope you will.  ENJOY!!! 

Mirth and Motivation

Spirit Lights the Way

Piglet in Portugal

Vintage Pages

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Hugmamma

Things in Life I Find Annoying

Running Garlic

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Filed under encouragment, postaweek2011, Thoughts on Blogging