We started our third day of riding the rails with a visit to New Orleans City Park. This destination was on my “must do” list and it didn’t disappoint. I could’ve easily spent the entire day there.
One of the first buildings, upon entering the park, is the New Orleans Museum of Art. We didn’t go inside, but I hear it’s excellent, if museums are your thing.
We followed the path to the right of the museum past what is called the Big Lake.
We were greeted by some eager ducks, most with adorable babies in tow.
It quickly became apparent that they expected to be fed and when we didn’t offer anything, they soon lost interest and waddled off.
New Orleans City Park is renowned for its live oak trees. They’re called “live” oaks because they retain their leaves all year-long rather than losing them in the fall like most deciduous trees. The massive trees were stunning and magnificent, many draped with Spanish moss.
We came to a large field by the water and discovered why the ducks had thought we might feed them. Apparently feeding the waterfowl is common practice and can attract quite a crowd.
Just look at all the different species of feathered friends in this shot.
There was a stately pair of black swans as well.
I noticed this poor goose and was curious about how its wings became so seriously clipped. Didn’t seem to adversely affect it though.
The Botanical Gardens had an admission charge and with so much free beauty surrounding us, we opted not to go in. I had to be satisfied with peeks through the fence.
City Park has a Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, but they also charge admission so we skipped by them. They did look cute for little people though.
Some of the most breathtaking pictures of the day (and of the trip) were taken from a bridge crossing the Bayou Metairie. Gorgeous, gorgeous.
More lovely park shots
The Great Lawn
We ate lunch in the Casino Building. (It didn’t actually have a casino as far as we could tell, lol). Lunch paid homage to the local cuisine with jambalaya, gumbo and my personal fav, yummy beignets. If I recall correctly, ice cream may have also been consumed.
The entire left side of the park is full of ancient oaks, unbelievably huge and awe-inspiring, as you can tell by how small my BIL looks in comparison.
Most trees are several hundred years old, and the oldest tree, the McDonogh Oak, has been dated to about 800 years old. There’s no plaque or anything to distinguish it, but we figured this one looked like the mightiest oak of all and I was later able to confirm it was indeed the McDonogh Oak.
It appeared that the tree had suffered some sort of catastrophic injury in the past, possibly losing a good portion of itself in the process. Repairs had been made with a black substance that likely saved the tree.
While it took away from the natural beauty, I can understand why they had to prop up those immense branches.
An unsupported branch had drooped to the ground and over the years began growing up again, itself as thick as an average tree trunk.
When I saw this picture of my BIL, I regretted that I hadn’t thought to touch the tree. I may never have another chance to put my hand on a living 800 year old tree.
There were many memorials in the park, mostly the usual benches and trees. This lovely fountain was perhaps the most elaborate. And what a gorgeous setting.
When I saw this strange creature, I thought a turkey must have had relations with a duck, but no, I have it on good authority that this is actually a Muscovy duck.
It wouldn’t be a park without squirrels and we saw some way cute ones.
The crown jewel of the City Park is the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It’s the best $0.00 you can possibly spend in New Orleans. Not only is it free, it’s home to over 60 sculptures – and my hubby did his best to take a picture of every single one. I have to admit, I just didn’t “get” a lot of them. To me, they weren’t art, they were an object, sometimes a strange object or pointless object. But I’m certainly not an art critic and I don’t profess to know much of anything about the art world. I do, however, know what I like or what is appealing to me, and I found plenty to fill that bill. Here’s just a sampling of the ones I liked.
This big fellow greets you at the entrance.
Sis and I met a few, ahem, striking characters. They are Riace Warriors.
And the view from behind was equally interesting.
This piece left me feeling a little disturbed. There’s actually a bell inside the sculpture.
“Las Mesas Bench” & “Pablo Casal’s Obelisk”
“Pablo Casal’s Obelisk”
“Hercules, the Archer”
“Diana, the Huntress”
“Tree of Necklaces”
This sculpture was fascinating, but difficult to photograph
“Three Figures and Four Benches”
When I realized Hubby wasn’t about to leave until he’d examined and photographed each and every piece in the entire garden, I suggested that Sis and BIL, who didn’t quite share Hubby’s fascination, go off on their own.
We finally left the park over an hour later. If Hubby’s knee hadn’t been acting up, we likely would have returned to where the large trees were and spent a little more time wandering through their magnificence. We did happen to spot some more friendly fowl being fed on our way out of the park.
Back in the French Quarter, we wandered down Decatur Street, looking at some of the tourist shops along the way, before heading to Hubby’s favourite spot, The Market Cafe, for refreshments and some lively jazz music. The pigeons entertained me almost as much.
After that nice break, we slowly made our way back to the hotel to change for dinner.
Creole Townhouse, Decatur Street
Corner of St Philip & Chartres Streets
Shotgun house, Bourbon Street
Adorable Creole cottages, Bourbon Street
To save time, and wear on Hubby’s poor knees, we caught the Riverfront trolley back into town for dinner.
I had a 2/1 coupon for the Crescent City Brewhouse on Decatur Street so that’s where we had dinner.
Hubby convinced me to order Crawfish tails. “Crawfish?” I asked, less than certain of his suggestion. To which he replied, “No, just the tails.” Like that made it all okay. Admittedly, my dinner of veal and crawfish tails was excellent and I had yet another taste of the south under my belt.
After dinner we bought pralines, a popular local treat consisting mostly of brown sugar, cream and pecans, and enjoyed them as we strolled down what’s known as the Moonwalk along the river.
St Louis Cathedral in the dusk.
Here’s a funny story to end another long day. As we caught the trolley back to the hotel, I overheard a large southern woman say to the trolley driver, “I’all’s got three passes in this here purse. Y’all goin’ make me dig ’em out?” Wisely, he didn’t.