Believe it or not, we did more than eat and drink while we were in New Orleans. We spent a lot of time walking around the French Quarter (and enjoying the Mississippi River view), and even did several historical sightseeing tours.
One of my favorite tours of our trip was of one of the graveyards located in the French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery #1. (I don't have the name of the tour company, since Z's parents were generous enough to book it - but after a quick Google search, it looks like most of the tour companies in that area get good reviews).
The tour started at Cafe Beignet, and as we walked toward the cemetery, our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide told us some history about New Orleans and the French Quarter.
Eventually, we made it to the gravesite, which was unlike any cemetery I had ever seen.
This particular cemetery is only the size of about one square block, but it is the resting place for thousands of people - dating back to the 1700's. In New Orleans, the water table is very high, so burying bodies in the ground like we do here in New England could - and has - caused coffins to float above ground. To prevent this from happening as much as possible, early settlers implemented the above ground tombs that fill NOLA's cemeteries today. Families can purchase a tomb and have all of their family members buried in that same "grave."
You might be thinking: How do they fit generations of coffins in one tomb? The rule of thumb in New Orleans is, as long as a body has been in the tomb for a year and a day, cemetery workers can remove the remains from the coffin and place them in the back or the side of the tomb, making way for a new coffin. The summers are so hot in New Orleans that most corpses are basically incinerated after one summer. Crazy, right? And a bit morbid...but I found this all very interesting!
I sadly have no photos of the other tours we took, but we did go on a fun and informative bike ride with Confederacy of Cruisers, as well as a canoe trip down the bayou/swamp. (I, again, don't have the name of the company we rented canoes from, but there are a ton of places that offer them around NOLA).
One last thing I saw and loved in New Orleans: chandeliers.
Almost everywhere we went, ceilings were adorned with the most unique, beautiful, and sometimes elaborate chandeliers. The photo above is from the room Z's parents and brother stayed in at a B&B in the Garden District.
We had such a fantastic time in New Orleans. I'm already eager to go back - there is so much more to see and do!
Happy New Year, everyone!! What are you looking forward to in 2013? I'm excited to get married, and to dive into my new career. :)