After walking around the French Quarter yesterday afternoon it became apparent we needed refuelling. We wanted to eat somewhere different….we went for HootersObviously Hooters is well renowned for its scantily clad girls but it’s safe to say that as has been the case everywhere we have gone to eat, the service was impeccable. Our waitress, Autumn, if that was her real name, even commented on how “cute” our accents were. It does baffle me when people say “where y’all from?” As if they’re going to know where Bournemouth is!! The cocktails were delicious….We could catch up on all the sport…Ice Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, even MMA! The music was awesome, a complete mixture from Bon Jovi to Ed Sheeran. Nathan was happy as it was all you can eat wings for just $14.99…it’s safe to say he definitely got his money’s worth!! We will definitely be visiting Hooters again. 

There was no last man standing sadly so we settled for ‘The Heat’ and ‘The Other Woman’ both relatively good films! 

Nathan went down for breakfast this morning whilst I stayed in bed. Somehow we still got devoured by mosquitos!! First stop on the itinerary this morning…The World War 2 museum, voted the number 4 museum in America and number 11 in the world…it had to be good!

And it was…there was so much detail throughout the museum. We got given dog tags when we arrived and were allocated a person who told us their story as we moved through the exhibits. I had Benjamin Davis. 

Benjamin Davis was born in 1912. He entered the United States Military Academy in 1932 and was racially isolated and ignored but this spurred him on to graduate in 1936, 35th in his class. He was rejected from the Army Air Corps purely because he was black so ended up being assigned to the 24th Infantry Regiment which was all-black. He finally earned his wings in 1942 and became part of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. He also became the first black officer to solo fly an Army Air Corps aircraft. 

His story is one of courage, overcoming adversity, discrimination and the determination to achieve great things.

This is the dogtag experience of Benjamin Davis. Click on it to hear his story. 

They had a Nazi Propaganda exhibit on loan from the holocaust museum too which took you through the propaganda Hitler used to amass such a following. The museum took you through different stages and parts of the Second World War. The first part was the war against Japan where the Allies, USA, Great Britain and China were entered into war with Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941It took you through all the different battles that occurred throughout the war with real stories and videos playing. What I found interesting were the stories ofDoris Miller was played by Cuba Gooding Jr in the film Pearl Harbor. He was the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross. James Doolittle was played by Alec Baldwin in the film Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership and valour during the Doolittle Raid, a top secret mission that saw 16 B-25 bombers launch from the USS Hornet and drop bombs on major places in Japan. There were so many stories from the heroes of war. All of them different yet courageous. There were videos playing in some of the exhibits which truly brought home the horror of the war. One in particular was the battle for Guadalcanal where the Americans managed to hold the airfield against the Japanese despite them being outnumbered and relatively inexperienced. The Japanese lost over 30,000 men compared to over 7,000 for the Americans. The last three displays in this exhibit showed the devastation caused by the atomic bombs dropped from Enola Gay on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

The next exhibit showed the war on the European front. The war against Hitler and Mussolini. Again it went through all the battles including the D-Day landings. More harrowing video footage was played throughout the exhibit. Over 60 million people died in world war 2. That equated to almost a third of the population. There were 433 Medals of Honor awarded during World War 2. Here are some of the recipients…We left the museum in search of St Louis Cemetery 1 and saw this on the sidewalkThese are memorial bricks from loved ones to remembered those who served their country. There must have been thousands of them and the led the way to Lee CircleOne thing that is really noticeable in New Orleans is the amount of homeless people. There are what we called the “posh bits” and then there was the “slum bits.” You get these huge divides wherever you go in the world but this was the first time we have truly noticed it. There were homeless people pretty much everywhere you turned be it on the rotaries, the sidewalks, the parks, or even along the freeways by the traffic lights approaching cars for loose change. They weren’t aggressive nor impolite. As we were walking back to the car we were asked if we had any loose change to which I replied that no sorry we didn’t and we were met with “thank y’all have a good day.” There were vans down some of the road which looked liked the specialised in helping the homeless. 

We were walking the top end of the French Quarter and came across Louis Armstrong Park. Louis Armstrong was a trumpeter who became one of the most influential people in the world of jazz. He was born into a poor family where his father abandoned his family for another woman and his mother was a prostitute. Louis did everything he could from a young age to bring in money for the family but it just wasn’t enough. He was taken in by a Lithuanian-Jewish family at the age of 6 and bacame accustomed to playing the cornet. His mentor, Joe Oliver persuaded him to join his band and from then in his career flourished. Not only was he famous for his trumpet-playing he also had a fantastic voice and was well known for his scat-singing. He died in 1971 at the age of 69.

After walking in the 29 degree scorching heat we found St Louis Cemetery 1. Due to countless amounts of graffiti being found on the tombs here, they now only do guided tours for $20. Sadly we got there a couple of minutes too late to have a tour but it looked incredible. The dead are buried on top of the ground and date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. There are hundreds of famous Louisiana people buried here and Nicolas Cage has already picked out his pyramid shaped tomb to be his final resting place. Whilst we couldn’t go in, some of the tombs were so tall that you could see them over the top of the surrounding wall. 

There were a lot of Voodoo related places and gifts in the shops in New Orleans and the Voodoo queen Marie Laveau is also buried in St Louis Cemetery. Voodoo was brought to Louisiana during the colonial periods by people enslaved from West Africa. They had powerful knowledge of herbs, potions, poisons, amulets and charms which could be used to protect themselves or harm others. Marie Laveau attracted 12000 people, black and white, to her religious rite on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1874. She was known for her non-discriminatory manner as she would see the wealthy, who would consult her on business decisions before they made them, as well as those who were poor or still enslaved, hoping to be free. There is also a history of Vampirism throughout New Orleans with many places offering vampire tours. New Orleans is a fascinatingly interesting, gothic, creepy yet beautifully diverse and stunning place. It is a notorious place for missing persons and murder. There was the story about Count St. Germain in France in the 1700s who was so incredibly wealthy, never looked over the age of 40, a fantastic conversationalist who only ever used to sip his wine…(hope I’m like that in my 40’s!!) When it comes to New Orleans, there was a ‘man’ who went by the name Jaques Saint Germain, who was the image of the Count. He was only ‘discovered’ when he tried to bite the neck of one of his ladies who then reported him to the police. Jaques had disappeared and they tasted his wine…mixed with blood. 

Bourbon Street comes alive at night with the street cordoned off to cars and all the signs light up. Music fills the air, alcohol fills the cups and queues to the hotspots form in the street. Whilst the pictures so it no justice at all, the street was alive!

So many unbelievably interesting stories relating to this fascinating place. It truly is a remarkable place for history and myths and legends….plus you can drink all day whilst walking around…New Orleans you have truly been wonderful….

Until later ❤️