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The Big Easy

posted Mar 16, 2018, 4:04 PM by Justin P   [ updated May 8, 2018, 4:55 PM ]
Friday, I couldn't wait to get out of the hotel.  Since I went to bed early, I woke up early too and was able to catch the sunset from my room.

Then I checked out as quickly as possible and headed west on I-10 towards New Orleans.  I wanted to visit the French Quarter, but didn't want to deal with the traffic and parking.  So I parked at Crescent Park, with ample safe and free parking and walked into the city.  Crescent Park is a linear park, essentially a greenway trail along the river leading to the French Market.  There were a few joggers and dog walkers, but otherwise not crowded at all.  In a short ways, I passed by the rusty rainbow, a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks that leads to another parking area.

Climbing steeply up, the views of the New Orleans skyline were great from across the river.

Further on, I spotted some cormorants perched on posts sticking out of the river.

At the other end of the park, I crossed a pedestrian bridge over the railroad and street to the French Market and it was just a short ways further to the French Quarter.

Unlike Crescent Park, this area was extremely crowded, but it was such a nice day, who wouldn't want to be walking about?  Jackson Square, one of New Orleans' most famous parks, was a great spot to sit and enjoy the nice weather.

A statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback was in the center of the square and behind it was the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral.

A few blocks over was Bourbon Street, New Orleans most famous street.

Early in the morning, it wasn't too busy and most bars weren't open yet, but Fat Tuesday was.  Like Wet Willie's in Savannah, this bar mainly sold high-alcohol frozen drinks.  And like Savannah, drinking in public is allowed.  So I got Victoria's Secret to go and enjoyed the beautiful weather with a cold drink.  After I finished my drink, I went to Voodoo Authentica to pick Sandy up a souvenir and got her a voodoo doll.  Then I started making my way back.  There was some type of Irish festival going on, a week early for St. Paddy's day.  Heading back via Crescent Park, I enjoyed one more view of the city from across the river and then made it back to the car.

I drove south to Barataria Preserve, part of Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve.  Parking at the visitor center, I got on the boardwalk Palmetto Trail leading through the Louisiana swamp.

There was a lot of wildlife along this trail.  Near the start, I saw an otter, but he disappeared in the swampy waters before I could get a picture.  And towards the end, I watched two raccoons dart across the trail.

Palmetto Trail ends after about a mile at another parking lot and I got on Bayou Coquille Trail from here.  This trail follows a natural levee and starts dry, becomes swampy and ends at a marsh.

I spotted my first alligator here as the ground turned to swamp.

Fortunately, it's a boardwalk so they can't get the pedestrians.  There was also a lot of Spanish moss along the trees here.

Where the trail ended at Lower Kenta Canal, Marsh Overlook Trail turned to the right.

This area was more of a marsh but there were a few trees here, draped in Spanish moss.

Views of the canal were very nice.

At one point, I saw a great egret in the canal.

At the end of the boardwalk was a bridge leading over the canal at the point of convergence.  To the north, was Upper Kenta Canal.

Looking south, I could see where Lower Kenta and Pipeline Canals come together.

Across the bridge was an overlook out on the expanse of marsh.

I climbed down from the overlook to get one more view of the canals.

Then I headed back on Marsh Overlook Trail.

Right where I turned back onto Bayou Coquille Trail, I saw a little skink scurry across the trail.

At the next parking area, I took Palmetto trail back towards the visitor center.  Near the start, I made a short detour on Visitor Center Trail that leads out to a small overlook on the marsh.

Along here, I spotted another alligator, this one was missing its front right paw.

Then I slowly started making my way back to the car, stopping for a view of the swamp before concluding my hike.

I started heading back to my last hotel, but made a stop for one more short hike at Twin Canals, just up the road.  A half-mile trail runs between two canals out to Kenta Canal.  The twins were scenic in the late afternoon light.

It was a short and easy stroll out to the end where the two canals end at Kenta Canal.

On the way back, I saw some fleabane blooming along the trail.

And right near the trailhead, I spotted a spiderwort.

Back at the car, I was done with my last hike of the trip.  Heading back into New Orleans, the traffic was really bad.  I checked into the Comfort Inn by the airport and got packed up for a very early flight home.