Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Decor and Lights in New Orleans

Quintessential New Orleans architecture
We enjoyed New Orleans so much last year we decided to go again this holiday season. This time, for a week with family. We got the timeshare Hotel de l'Eau Vive on Tchoupitoulas Street, off of bustling Canal Street, and just around the corner from Harrahs Casino, and a short stroll to the French Quarter. While the location was perfect, the timeshare was a whole different story. I won't dwell on it. Just know that a 2 bedrooms unit that sleeps 6 has only 1 bath. With a huge round, old bathtub that is good for parties, no doubt. Marked by long alley ways with exposed brick, this old building certainly has character.

Unwilling to fork out over $25 for parking every night, we searched diligently for a parking spot. We lucked out the first three nights at a parking lot for $10/day. Turned out that was the weekend rate, because when Monday rolled around, the rate shot up to $31! We hastily looked for parking elsewhere, and finally succumbed to Harrah's draw. The casino validates your parking if you play for at least a half hour. Fortunately, there were plenty of nickel slot machines around. We splurged $5 to gamble for half an hour for three days! Not a bad deal if you are disciplined and know how to manage your risks:-)

French Quarter, Jackson Square, Bourbon, Royal, Canal and Magazine Streets - we covered them all. We walked, shopped, ate (Commanders Palace is still our favorite restaurant!) and listened to music. Truly, anything goes in N'awlins. One evening in different parts of the French Quarter, we ran into a Santa Convention and a New Orleans jazz wedding. The latter was escorted by police, followed by a brass band parading the guests into their hotel reception. Very beautiful and unique. On our last evening, we saw the Lafayette Marching Band (University of Louisiana) performing at various locations on Canal Street. Other highlights include a ferry ride on the Mississippi River and a side trip to Baton Rouge. We took the scenic route to Baton Rouge, stopping at Oak Alley Plantation to check out the gorgeous grounds. All in all, a fun, memorable trip.
Inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel
Hotel Monteleone
Santa Convention at the Hotel Monteleone
Eat, drink, and be merry!

A home in the Garden District. A boater, ya think?
free ferry ride across the Mississippi River one foggy afternoon
Oak Alley Plantation

How was your holiday season?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

'Tis the season to be giving

Every holiday season, our boater neighbor Janice gathers a group of her friends to visit Orange Grove, a residential facility for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where she used to work. Janice and her friends buy lunch and gifts for the 8 patients in the Orange Grove facility in Tiftonia. What a joy to watch them open their gifts!
Before heading to Orange Grove, the group enjoyed a luncheon at Logan's
Santa's helpers - Milly, Janice, Glenda, Elizabeth and Cindy (Shelby and Sharon not in picture)

In the spirit of giving, I got my ESL class at Chattanooga State Community College to participate in a project to send Military Care Packages to Sgt Brad Rich, a TN Adult Education teacher who was recently deployed to the Middle East for a tour of duty. Thank you everyone for participating! Thank you Cindy for the gifts from the Chatt State Bookstore! We appreciate it.

Below is a slideshow of pictures of my students meticulously packaging the goodies we bought and of our Christmas party.

As we celebrate with our friends and family this holiday season, let's count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful holiday!

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