Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Orleans Part 5

Our final morning in New Orleans was spent on a swamp tour, which means...gators!

We arrived a few minutes before our tour was scheduled and we were told that we were on the last available boat. All the other boats had covers except ours. So our punishment for not arriving early was that we got to bake on the open water for two hours. At this point in our trip, with having to boil water, and streetcars not running, and numerous other minor inconveniences, I just said, "Of course!" and laughed as I boarded the boat in a sweaty delirium. Because hey, gators.

We learned that alligators really love marshmallows and hot dogs. They will jump three or four feet out of the water to get a piece of hot dog attached to a stick. Possibly because the hot dog resembles a human finger. Possibly.

When I heard the word "swamp" I pictured a narrow waterway with overhanging trees and moss, so I was surprised at how much water there was. The swamp was way bigger than I expected. Sometimes, when no gators were in sight, the tour guide would rev the engine and off we went. The breeze felt nice during those times. Jackson and Olivia enjoyed going fast.

Summer 2015, all the cool guys are sporting this hairstyle, they call it "Swamp Breeze." 

The gators were just the first part of the tour. As we went deeper into the swamp, we saw a bunch of oil company equipment that had been wrecked thanks to Katrina.

Not scenic. Although, it was probably not very scenic when it was in working order, either.

We also started to see more signs of swamp life. The human kind. Like these oyster boats.

All the Cajuns who lived along the swamp were flooded out by Katrina but many have refurbished or rebuilt.

Some are fishermen.

The plant life was interesting too. The further we got into the swamp, the more it looked like the swamp I imagined, with Spanish moss hanging from all the trees.

The guide passed around a sample. Mossy.

Elephant ear plant. The roots are edible in a pinch.

A stand of really old cypress trees.

A Tupelo gum tree. The bees go inside and make Tupelo honey.

The sun was getting to our buddy Jackson.

It was hot.

At the deepest end of the swamp we encountered wild boars. A whole extended family. The little ones are cute. Our guide said they are considered a nuisance and can be hunted freely. It is the same in Texas. These guys hanging out way back in the swamp did not seem to be hurting anything, though.

This was the turnaround point. We came back through the Cajun village.

"Cajun hot tub."

Crawfish for sale.

At the dock, spider lilies.

Sweaty swamp selfie.

Gator wranglers!

After our tour it was straight back to the apartment for a shower. Yes a real shower. The boil water advisory was lifted! This was such good news. It meant we could look halfway presentable as we headed to dinner on Magazine St., which is a long street of shops and restaurants. They seem to start out more hippie, and get more fancy and high-end as you head west. We had dinner at Pizza Domenica and it was kind of halfway between casual and fancy. We started with mixed olives.

Tony and I shared a summer salad, with greens, peaches, cherry tomatoes, and other stuff I can't remember. It was a special of the day.

We also split a roasted carrot pizza. Tony was alarmed when I suggested it, would there be chunks of roasted carrot? No, the carrot is pureed to make the sauce. Ah, much better. It was topped with Brussels sprouts, yellow beets, hazelnuts, red onion, and goat cheese. It was good, especially the nice, chewy crust.

Tomorrow, wrapping up our trip!

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