December 18 – 24, 2019.
I may have mentioned before that I have a niece, Ariadne, who lives in New Orleans. Whenever we pass by her way we stop to visit. We always do something fun and completely different from the last time we visited. Besides the things we are going to talk about in this blog post we also listened to some Jazz on Frenchman Street, saw Ariadne’s boyfriend, Ian, perform in a Christmas Play, ate out a bit, and walked around Ariadne’s lovely neighborhood in the Treme. I wonder if we will ever wear New Orleans out.
Infinity Science Center
But before we made it to New Orleans we had one more place to visit on our own.
The Infinity Science Center is located right next to a rest area we have stopped at many times on our way to and from the Crescent City. And every time we’ve stopped we’ve said to each other, let’s check it out some time. This was our time.
I looked into ticket prices on their website and found them a little bit steep ($18 per person/$15 per senior). But this was before I clicked on the Senior Wednesday link. Every Wednesday seniors get in for only $9 per person. And you only have to be 55 to qualify as a senior. Yay (Eek!), we are both seniors!
The Senior Wednesday link also said that there were shuttle tours to the nearby NASA rocket testing facility, the John C. Stennis Space Center, but when we arrived at Infinity we found out the tours were no longer being offered. We did get to watch a short movie about the facility (see picture below).
Barataria Preserve at Jean LaFitte National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana
Once in New Orleans, my niece took us on a nice hike in the Barataria Preserve on the other side of the Mississippi River just a little outside of the city limits.
The Barataria Preserve is one of the Jean Lafitte Historical Park’s six sites and the third one we have visited (only 3 more to go – guess we will have to come back).
I knew nothing about Whitney Plantation when Ariadne suggested we go. The Plantation was definitely pricy for us ($25 per person plus tip for our tour guide) but I didn’t think Ariadne would steer us wrong.
Whitney Plantation is a little different from many of the other plantations who have opened up their doors for tours. Whitney’s main focus isn’t on the antebellum lifestyle of the plantation owners but rather on the life of the slaves.
Festivals of the Bonfires
The Festivals of the Bonfires is a long-held tradition by the people who live in St. James Parish in the towns of Gramercy, Lutcher, and Paulina that border the Mississippi River. Starting around Thanksgiving residents start building log teepees atop the river’s levee. On Christmas Eve they light them on fire to illuminate a path for Papa Noel (Santa Claus).
We had a plan to see the fires on Christmas Eve but I really wanted to see the structures before they went up in flames. On our drive to the Whitney Plantation, we drove right through one of the towns, Gramercy, where some of the bonfires would take place. So after our tour, we made a detour back through the town to see what was going to be burning.
And then everything was lit on fire on Christmas Eve.