This morning, the Junior Fellows were off to an early start at 3:00am on our Southern Culture trip. Once we were on our journey, our “pre-trip jitters” went away and most of us slept until we reached our first stop—Lafayette, Louisiana, where we stopped to stretch our legs and take a photo in front of Blue Dog Cafe in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Taylor and I were the first (and maybe only) people to fall asleep after leaving Lafayette, eventually waking up at our next stop in the capital of Louisiana—Baton Rouge. In Baton Rouge, we visited the Louisiana Capitol Building, which is the tallest capitol in the United States and probably offers the best view of the Mississippi River.
It’s an interesting capitol building, with steps adorned with the names of all fifty states, in order of their admittance to the union. The Capitol building is also the site of Huey Long’s assassination. In the main hallway of the first floor, you can see at least one bullet hole from the assassination.
Because this was my first time in New Orleans, I was excited about exploring something new. At this restaurant alone, I tried boudin balls, hog jowls, and praline bacon for the first time, and that was just what I sampled from appetizers and other people’s food. For myself, I ordered the “French toast burrito,” consisting of a cinnamon-sugar flour tortilla wrapped around bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs—all served with maple syrup and powdered sugar.
Speaking of food, dinner was also a treat. We went to Oceana Grill on Bourbon Street, and I tried chargrilled and raw oysters, turtle soup, alligator, and crème brule, all for the first time. I should point out that Annel and I were hesitant to try the oysters, but they turned out to be quite good and, again, all of these items were just me sampling appetizers and other people’s food. For myself, I ordered the Cajun pasta, and it was wonderful.
As far as New Orleans’ sightseeing, we visited Marie Laveau’s and Home Plessy’s graves in the St. Louis Cemetery #1. The cemetery was a new experience for me since all of the graves were located above the ground in the heart of New Orleans. I took a picture in front of Plessy’s grave; however, I opted not to get too close to Laveau’s grave, lest I tempt her to throw voodoo action my way.
Visiting the World War II Museum in New Orleans was my favorite part of the trip thus far (not counting food), because I was able to experience the narratives and personal accounts of soldiers and victims that were affected by World War II. The museum greatly enhanced my knowledge of WWII. I was intrigued by Operation Fortitude, the US Military phony attack operation, undertaken to divert the Germans from their real plans of attack.
Surprisingly, I also enjoyed visiting the sculpture garden outside of the New Orleans Museum of Arts. My favorite sculptures were: “Corridor Pin, Blue” by Claes Oldenburg; “Karma” by Do-Ho Suh; and “Sunyatta” by Linda Howard.
It’s not the type of trip I’ve been on before, and accordingly, I’ve seen a lot of new things. I’m looking forward to four more days!!