23 May 2012 New Orleans

There was an announcment on the hotel p.a. system that there was an emergency in the building and that everyone had to evacuate.  This came at 4:30 am.  There were a lot of groggy people slowly walking down the stairs.  Once we got near to bottom from our 8th floor room, we learned it was a false alarm. About 10 minutes after we got back to our room, the same announcement occurred,   but we just ignored it and went back to sleep.

I got up around 9 and we got ready to go to the aquarium. To save a little walking, we took the Canal Street Streetcar. There was a very talkative elderly man who immediately struck a conversation with me. He seemed a little creepy at first, but when I saw he was with a younger man a couple of seats away, I felt better.

We arrived at the aquarium around 10:15. Since there was a penguin feeding/talk scheduled for 10:30, we headed to that area. Most of the penguins were from Africa, but there were three rock hoppers from South America. It was interesting that each penguin had its own preferred method for being fed. Some liked to be thrown the fish, while others liked it placed directly into their beak.

There was also a good seahorse exhibit that we spent some time at. They had a small sea otter exhibit. We finished off the rest of the 2nd floor and had lunch. Next, we did the first floor and the gift shop. There was a huge Gulf of Mexico tank, a Caribbean area, and a nice jellyfish area. Once we were done, we took a picture of the poodle structure outside the aquarium. We have seen these structures all over New Orleans painted in different colors, but we don’t know why.

Next we took a shuttle to Mardi Gras World. A guide took us in a warehouse where they build and store mardi gras floats year round. He talked about the old way they built them with wood on the inside and many layers of papier maiche. Today they build the floats structures with styrofoam and a thin layer of paper maiche on the outside. Then they paint them. They try to re-use the floats figures whenever they can. They are a lot lighter than the old ones were. They’re definitely easier to make, but still a lot of work. There were floats there from movies and characters like Mr. Potato Head. In addition to mardi gras stuff they had some cows for Chick-fil-a and they had the car that was used in the 2nd Batman movie. The gift shop had some interesting stuff in it.

Next we took a shuttle to the Riverwalk. To start out with I had a smoothie and Dad had a daiquiri. We just sat down for a few minitues cause our legs were tired from standing up/walking around all day. Then we continued to walk around the stores. Teagan ended up getting a shot glass in one of them. Another one of the stores had mardi gras christmas ornaments. We ended up buying one that was both an ornament and a magnet. Once we were done at Riverwalk, we rode the streetcar back to the hotel area.

Around 7 we left the hotel to go eat dinner at a poboy place called Parkway Bakery & Tavern. I got a fried catfish poboy and Dad got a fried shrimp poboy. I was glad to have a lighter meal instead of a full out restaurant size meal. The poboys were good, but not anything spectacular, especially considering they were the top-rated poboys in New Orleans. They didn’t have the special New Orleans Poboy bread we were looking for.

After the poboys, we tried Angelo Brocato’s to get a cannoli or other italian dessert. There was a pretty good line outside the store though so we decided to wait until tomorrow or friday to go. We went to see the Superdome. It looked really cool with the lights on it at night, and the nights would change colors. Then we drove over the Greater New Orleans Bridge to see the view. We had trouble getting on the expressway because, will, Dad and his GPS were a little stupid.

After the bridge, we returned to the hotel.

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