We had another early start to the day, once again heading to the conference.
Today, we sat in on panels involving “State Government Institutions” and “State Politics and Policies.”
The topics ranged from domestic violence legislation to intergovernmental relations to lobbying to Rick Perry. The most interesting topic, however, was on direct ballot measures, by Shauna Reilly and Richard Engstrom.
Following the conference, we prepared to see the town, taking a walking tour of New Orleans. There are few things as interesting as New Orleans on a Saturday afternoon on a sunny, spring day. We saw numerous street performers, from jugglers…
…to banjo players…
to jazz performers…
…to “Snow White”…
We also stopped into an old-school record store, strolled by the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, and separated to try different restaurants for lunch. Some of us tried the Court of Two Sisters, others tried Big Easy’s Bar and Grill, and others tried Daisy Dukes.
Energized by lunch, we embarked on our Segway Tour. Interestingly, our segways had names. Mine was Stella, named for the iconic scene in A Street Car Named Desire, in which Marlon Brando shouts “Stella.”
The tour, offered by Segway City Tours, lasted two hours, taking us through many interesting areas.
We toured the French Quarter, passing Bourbon Street and seeing more interesting street performers. We visited Tremain, the oldest African neighborhood in the country, where we saw the oldest African-American church in New Orleans—St. Augustine Cathedral. We also toured Louis Armstrong Park, learning about the formation of Jazz, as well the former Red-Light District, Storyville, that was nearby.
We also had a nice ride along the Mississippi, an interesting experience on a Segway.
Following the tour, it was interesting to get our “ground legs” back, but retreated to the hotel for some downtime.
For dinner, we joined Cheryl Hobbs and her family and headed to the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, where we tried sundry pizzas: a Cajun Sausage Pizza, a Wild Mushroom Pizza, and a Bacon and Chives Pizza. For dessert, we trekked to Café Du Monde. This was my first time in New Orleans, and I wasn’t expecting such a long line at a café. But we managed to find a seat and began to work on half a dozen beignets, which is when I understood why this place was famous.
With this being our last night, along with the fact that we had just ingested thousands of calories each, we took another walk through the French Quarter. There were the expected sights and sounds on Bourbon Street…
but we also were able to see the back of St. Louis Cathedral, which showcases a beautifully lighted statue.
Of course, by now it should be expected that we again encountered the Blue Dog.
His creator, George Rodrigue, has a gallery in the heart of the French Quarter, where dozens of his works were for sale. Curious about the cost? The small ones (16×20) go for $30,000, the medium-sized ones go for $75,000. We weren’t told the prices of the large ones.