Whitwell, TN

This year, we are home during the summer…. and of course we have been getting record high temperatures! For the past two weeks, Paul has been getting outside early and averaging around three hours a morning weeding and watering the yard. I, on the other hand, was only able to do it three mornings, an hour each! The heat and humidity just does me in. We have been enjoying the pool in the late afternoons or early evenings, and it has helped cool and relax us!

Last week we enjoyed the day with the seniors from out church. Because we are gone a lot, we have been unable to join any of the planned trips in the past, but this month the timing was right! We joined them on their trip to Buttonwillow Church in Whitwell, TN., a civil war dinner theatre. We had a fantastic lunch of chicken breast, green beans, sweet carrots, stuffing, biscuits and blackberry cobbler. This was followed by a live performance relaying “southern history with southern humor”.

We learned a lot….. from the southern perspective!! (Not the northern, federal government perspective!)

Following, we stopped by the Whitwell Middle School to see the “Children’s Holocaust Museum”. An after-school project begun in 1998, the paperclip project has become a museum. This authentic German rail car was used to transport victims to concentration, labor, and death camps.

The butterflies were chosen to honor the children of Terezin and as a symbol of new life for the rail car.

Now it houses eleven million paper clips, one for each victim of the Holocaust.

Paper clips were used as a symbol by some compassionate people in 1940’s Europe who stood up for the Jews by wearing a paper clip when the Jews were forced to wear a yellow Stars of David. The students decided to collect six million clips, one for each of the Jewish Holocaust victims. They set up a web page asking for help collecting, and by the end of the school year, they had collected about 700,000 paper clips with several hundred letters and documents from all over the world.
A displayed suitcase was sent from a middle school in Germany, along with tags that are notes of apology to Anne Frank.

We had a fabulous time, and hope to join this group again!

New Orleans Neighborhoods

This is the last post on our trip to New Orleans. We really enjoyed the city, as well as the outlying areas. This blog is to show you different places not covered in the previous posts.

New Orleans had several neighborhoods that, at some point in time on our trip, went through! Some of the pictures may be a little blurry since they were taken from moving car or from the street car!
The offramp we used most to go to the city was Elysian Fields.
Along Elysian Fields, were the small, colorful, and quaint homes

and shops

We took the St. Charles streetcar, the parade route at Mardi Gras, as evidenced by the beads in the trees and wires along the route.

It took us into the Business District, where there were tall buildings from a past era,


including the one that houses the Latter Memorial Branch library,

Tulane and

Loyola Universities,

parks with various sculptures,

the Garden District, with all of it’s charming, historical victorian mansions.

Including author Ann Rice home

We also happened to drive past Notre Dame (There were a LOT of colleges, and universities in New Orleans!)

We also visited the French Market, the nations oldest city marketplace that ‘s been active since 1791, on the other side of the French Quarter.

We had our taste of Muffalletta (and took no picture!). We split one, but it could have fed all four of us! It is a great sandwich with salami, ham, swiss ad olive salad, warmed and on a BIG round french bread! It was great.
We also had to get beignets (french donut) at Cafe Du Monde, the original coffee stand established in 1862.

We accomplished one thing on this trip, besides seeing ALMOST everything… we ate a sample of each of the five culinary wonders of New Orleans: The Po-boy, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Beignets, and Muffalettas. We also had the bread pudding, and determined Copeland’s had the best! (They also had the best cheesecake!!)

And of course, we could not resist the fresh shrimp….. 10 pounds of it!!

And can you believe it, after all the eating we did, we still lost weight? I think it was all of the walking and sweating we did!

We plan to be home for a couple of months now, but who knows… something may just spark our interest and away we go!

New Orleans, Mardi Gras and NO Rum Distillery

A couple of unique tours we took were Mardi Gras World and the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery.
Mardi Gras World was very informative and a lot of fun to see. They build 80 percent of the floats. (And they also make the Chickfila Cow!!)

Mardi Gras is a multi-billion dollar business! In 12 days, there are an average of five parades a day!! Krewes are formed, like clubs. We were told you have to be born into one of them in order to be a member. Each of the krewes build their own float and each individual is responsible for what they throw out along the parade route (one Krewe captain spent $1650 on throws) as well as their costumes!

Recognize these two?

When building a float, they first make the drawing. There are 17 full time designers.

then the carving. Some are made of fiberglass, but most are made of foam base, making it lighter.

The painting is done there as well.

The characters are then kept with the float until all are complete, and then are assembled in one of the 28 warehouses.

They are really tall!

Some are up to 5 cars long

Paul didn’t realize he was being watched!

Then we found the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Not big, but still interesting and fun too see.

We love retirement!

New Orleans, San Bernardo Scenic Byway

San Bernardo Scenic Byway, a local road, a little off the beaten path, was too intriguing for us to ignore.
St Bernard, the town and the Parish, are located along the road, east of New Orleans. There were great views of the city.

Sections of Interstate 10 have been rebuilt due to damage from Katrina, and is still being worked on.

Some of this blog may seem like “deja vue” to you since the road follows the Mississippi River, so some of the places we saw from the riverboat were on this road. We got to see them up close and personal!
Although we passed Jackson Barracks on this road and the river, we were not able to visit the museum on site, since they were remodeling it, and we were told to come back in September to see it. John asked if we could take pictures and the answer was no. PGT Beauregard, Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee were all trained at this site. ( We did get pictures from the riverboat.)

This area was in the 9th ward, and little town of Arabi did get hit hard with Katrina.
The levees here allowed water to flood the area.

Some have been restored,

others have not.

It was an eye opener to see the area, outside of the city especially, that was hit by Katrina. It seemed that it was taking longer for the rural areas to rebuild.

An old jail, built in 1911 is being remodeled as a museum

The LeBeau Plantation, completed in 1954 sadly is in a state of disrepair, and is one of the last great plantation homes in the metro area.

This was Parish first high school, then an elementary school and then a community center. It has not been reopened since Katrina.

We saw the Domino Sugar Refinery from the river, and were able to see it closer.
It is one of the areas largest employers.

The Cavaroc house, on the refinery property, has an extraordinary alley of date palms streching toward the Mississippi River.

We visited Chalmette National Historic Park, the site of the battle of New Orleans, the greatest American land victory of the War of 1812. The battle was fought on the Chalmette Plantation on January 9,1815. With the odds against Major General Andrew jackson, he led his men to victory and preserved the US claim to the Lousiana purchase.

The obelisk honors the men.

The Beauregard house was built after the war in 1832.

A national cemetery is adjacent to the Park.

Over one third of those buried here are unknown! This one is the only unknown (out of four buried here) from War of 1812. It is known that he died on the way back to TN.

A few miles down the road, the De La Ronde ruins are located in the middle of the road, with a direction on each side!
Built in 1805, it was used as temporary headquarters and a makeshift hospital during the war.

An alley of oaks was planted in 1821. We heard the reason for these alleys is to tunnel the cool breeze from the river up to the house.

Further along there is also a canopy of oak trees over the scenic road. And they all survived Katrina and other previous storms throughout the almost 200 years they have been growing…. imagine what they have seen!!

We continued down the road, through a fishing village,
until the road ended,
where there is a memorial to those in the community who lost their lives in Katrina.

The fishing industry was first hit with Katrina, then with the BP oil spill. An article we read in the paper told of a six generation family of fishermen, struggling to keep a family business open after years of hard work. Some have not returned

while others have.

This is a house is in the process of being hoisted up with pulleys onto posts.

We watched some of the activity of boats coming in with what we were told were mostly oysters at this time of year.

The piles of sand along the road are being used to rebuild the crab beds that were destroyed.

Such a hard life to begin with, and then disasters make it even harder! We enjoyed getting out of the city and into the country again. It was truly a beautiful drive and I could understand why the people worked so hard to stay.