Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Tall Ship in Pensacola (12/24/2010)

Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas Eve
Plaza de Luna at Palafox Pier with a statue of Conquistador Don Tristán de Luna, who stepped ashore in 1559 to found the settlement that was to become Pensacola.
The tall ship "Peacemaker" was in town and open for tours.
It was built in Brazil as the charter ship "Avany," and was launched in 1989. Originally owned by Brazilian industrialist Frank Walker, it was sailed to Savannah, GA to be re-rigged as a three-masted staysail schooner (basically the foremast is no talller than the rear masts). The work was never done and the Walker family decided to sell the boat. The Twelve Tribes purchased the ship and after scraping and painting, they set sail in 2000. While working on upgrading mechanical and electrical systems, and modifying it into a barquentine rig (three masts with the foremast being square-rigged), they sail from port to port.

"Our vision for the ship is to be a seagoing representation of the life of peace and unity that our twelve tribes are living on land in our many communities around the world. It will also provide apprenticeship opportunities for our youth to learn many valuable and practical skills, not only in rigging, sail-making, sailing, navigation, marine mechanics and carpentry, but also in living and working together in tight quarters, as well as many cross-cultural experiences traveling from port to port." (

Great mahogany interiors; Master Cabin:
The Bar:
Pottery is made aboard the ship and sold.
A bathroom:
Square-rigged foremast:
Innovative transom can be lowered while in port to reveal a watertight bulkhead with doors opening into a cargo area:
The "Peacemaker:"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 4. Back to New Orleans (12/22-23/2010)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Back to the St Charles Avenue Streetcar to head to the French Quarter again!
Some of the mansions in the Garden District on St Charles Avenue:
French Quarter:
Bourbon Street:
Not very busy when it's still daylight on this street of nightclubs...
Old Absinthe House (1807):
Famous for expensive drinks and well-known customers from Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson, to Babe Ruth and Ernest Hemingway, to Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel ...
Absinthe made from wormwood is illegal in the United States, so they use Herbsaint instead...
"Famous" Lucky Dogs vendors are all over town:
Fais Deaux Deaux:
Fais do-do is a Cajun party, but this chain of hole-in-the-wall bars takes advantage of there being no open container laws.
Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo:
We were looking for the Voodoo Merman, but did not linger as it was very crowded. There was a sort of museum in the back. Someone said it looked like the attic of an old voodoo priestess...
Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (1722), now a tavern:
Supposedly used by the Lafitte brothers, Jean and Pierre for the New Orleans base of their smuggling operation. Who is Jean Lafitte? A privateer, entrepreneur, sailor, diplomat, spy, and hero of the Battle of New Orleans.
Royal Street:
The wrought-iron balconied setting for books and plays.
Cornstalk Fence, crafted in Philadelphia in 1834.
Madame John's Legacy (1789):
This Creole home is an example of French colonial architecture, having survived the fire of 1794. Exterior shots were used in the movie "Interview With the Vampire."
Faulkner House Bookstore:
Author William Faulkner lived in this building in the 1930s.
Nativity in St Anthony's Garden behind St Louis Cathedral:
Most famous of the lacy iron grillwork is the acorn-and-oak-leaf design:
On the Labranche Building:
Dinner at The Alpine Restaurant, the only restaurant labeled as "Cajun" in the AAA Tour Book.

Thursday, December 23, 2010
Started the day with breakfast at Brennan's. A must-do in New Orleans, but don't forget to cash a bond or something. (Sorry, kids, we ate your inheritance!) Kent had a Bloody Mary. Brynne had a Crab Omelette. Despite being made with 6 eggs, it was more like crab with a little egg. Kent had the Prix Fixe with Oyster Soup Brennan (tasted like they just pureed oysters and added nothing else!)and Eggs Bayou Lafourche (pouched eggs on Andouille Cajun sausage and Holland rusks with Hollandaise sauce). Holland rusks are slices of yeast bread baked until crisp. Tamiko started with strawberries with double cream, then Shrimp Sardou (spicy fried shrimp on artichoke bottoms in a bed of creamed spinach with Hollandaise sauce).  Although we observed the preparation of Bananas Foster and Crepes Fitzgerald which required flaming alcohol, we did not order them. We shared Creole Chocolate Suicide Cake (drowning in double cream!) and Louisiana Chocolate Pecan Pie. The waiter brought Brynne a bowl of strawberries with double cream, on the house! (We think she was still passing as 12!) We actually took leftovers home!
Brynne on Royal Street:
Brynne and Kent on Royal Street:
Tamiko & Kent on Royal Street:
Hurricane Katrina Memorial across from the Convention Center includes a sculpture by Sarah Heller who used a dead oak tree, called "Scrap House."
The New Orleans Arena (1999):
The Louisiana Superdome (1975), the largest fixed dome structure in the world:
Today we drove east on I-10 to visit the Pensacola Stumpes for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 3. Audubon Zoo (12/22/2010)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
John James Audubon, the artist and naturalist, stands in front of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
He is controversial with birders, as he shot the birds so that they would stand still for his drawing of them. This statue actually shows Audubon with a powder horn.
Greater flamingos:
Elephant Plaza:
Signature fountain in the zoo:
Asian Domain:
Asian Elephants and a cool Elephant House:
Sun Bear:
Asian Domain landscaping:
Babirusa and Asian Otter:
Better view of the Babirusa:
White Bengal Tigers:
Awesome plant:
with its awesome flowers:
Discovery Walk:
Mixed Macaw?
Blue-and-yellow Macaw:
Lowland Gorilla:
Mother and child Orangutans:
Stacked turtles, and ducks:
Mallards and ?:
African Savannah:
African Wild Dog:
Louisiana Swamp:
Brown Bear:
Raccoons in the trees above us!
American Alligators:
River Otters:
Bayou Santa:
Refracted White Alligator:
South American Pampas:
Nuzzling Maguari Storks:
AustralAsian Flight
Masked Lapwings:
Zoo grounds:
Whooping Cranes:
Next: Back to New Orleans.