I have been busy working on my latest book, which I finally finished my last read-through before sending off to my publisher. I won't talk too much about this book yet, other than it took far longer to write than any of my others to date.
Since Christmas and the New Year, things have been moving along in my world.
As a lover of everything dark, mysterious and creepy I've always been drawn to New Orleans. Of course, Anne Rice's iconic Interview with the Vampire didn't hurt!
My husband travels a lot for work, and he had to work in Baton Rouge. So...we abducted my older sister for the week and explore Louisiana, ending with a night and a day in New Orleans. I can say, though it was cooler weather, I had a beautiful experience meeting new people and seeing a different part of the country.
Part One: Baton Rouge
My beautiful sister and me!
While Hubby went to work, my sister and I explored the Baton Rouge Zoo. As it was a school day and "cold" for the region, we almost had the place to ourselves. A nice little zoo, really cheap to get in, and the exhibits were well maintained. As an anthropologist in another life, I have a special affinity towards primates, and they had three siamangs.
Also, the pygmy hippos and rhinos needed to come home with me. And the Galapagos turtle. In truth, I probably could run a zoo.
Day two, we went to a fascinating museum downtown all about Louisiana. the state's history was the focus of the downstairs exhibit, and the upstairs exhibit showcased different regions of the state. I thought this was well done, and a unique way to learn about how each portion of Louisiana had its own voice.
A civil war submarine!
Napoleon Bonaparte's death mask
The third day we traveled towards New Orleans with a stop by the National Hansen's Disease Museum in Carville. Hansen's disease is more commonly known as leprosy, and this abandoned plantation was taken over by an order of nuns who turned it into the only Hansen's treatment facility on mainland USA. I read a book years ago by one of the former residents
of the facility during my research of the disease, Miracle at Carville by Betty Martin and couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the actual place in the book. The little museum is houses a remarkable collection of paraphernalia about the people who lived there and also the treatment progression for the disease. The curator and her assistant were knowledgeable and incredibly friendly, I saw first hand the stigma these poor people had to live with, yet how fulfilling their lives were with assistance of the nuns.
The Nuns A Casket Deformed Bones
Part Two: New Orleans
Then we made it to New Orleans, right outside the French Quarter. We went to a nice little place for dinner called Daisy Dukes. No, no one was wearing shorty-shorts, but the food was good and the staff was friendly.
The next day, after a quick stop at Café du Monde (YES!) for some amazing chicory coffee and beignets, we met up with a tour guide. This was a different sort of tour, where you pay what you think its worth, and you get a 2 hour tour of the French quarter.
The last 30 minutes is a tour of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 where the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's family vault is located. To get a tour of the cemetery itself is about $20, so I recommend going on this tour because our guide Dave loves his city, and the passion is obvious as he takes you around to some interesting points.
I'll admit, when we were in the cemetery, I wandered off a little bit. I can't help it, cemeteries and graveyards are sort of my place of exploration. Thank you Dave for never reprimanding me! Check out their business page on Facebook Nola Tour Guy.
We had lunch in Jackson Square after stopping at a Voodoo shop to explore, and then got Café du Monde one last time. Went to Aunt Sally's to get some pralines and other delicious items, and then back to the hotel. Riding the trolly's was a lot of fun, but for dinner we ate at the hotel, too tired to wander out.
I adored both cities. I wish we'd had time to see the Garden District in New Orleans, but that gives us an excuse to go back!
I could ramble on and on, but I'll leave it here for now.
All my best, darlings,