>Celebrations and The Big Easy Days 1 and 2

>Tuesday we stopped in Jackson to take my mom to lunch (belated Mother’s Day)… and happily, my two nieces (my brother, Mike’s daughters) were able to join us. We went to AJ’s Seafood… really good food, by the way. Here’s Aubrey and Chelsea. Aubrey just graduated from law school on Saturday, and Chelsea (who just finished her freshman year at Mississippi State) celebrated her 19th birthday on Monday. So we had a big time altogether… three generation of Johnson women.

Our first night in New Orleans (for me, the first in 25 years!) was lovely… we had a great time and delicious food at Commander’s Palace with some nice folks .The chef is an ex-military guy. And this “birthday girl” at the next table, is showing off her Fleur De Lis creme brulee! (Her boyfriend is one of the cooks.) Anyway, it was a great evening. In the taxi on the way back to our hotel, the driver pointed out the home of Anne Rice. You can read her notes about Hurricane Katrina here. I’m planning on going on a tour of the Ninth Ward Friday.

This morning I headed out for Magazine Street… riding the bus for about 3 miles, and then walking a few more… finding wonderful little boutiques and great atmosphere everywhere I went. Here are a few shops and houses and interesting people along Magazine Street. The smell of the honeysuckle on these vines stopped me in my tracks as I strolled along in the 85 degree, high-humidity weather. (turned cloudy and breezy in the afternoon)

This man in front of a Poetry place (?) was interesting… after shopping (yes, I did buy a couple of things) I walked up a side street, through the Garden District, to St. Charles Avenue. This was my favorite house in the Garden District. (the blue one) And this one, along St. Charles, was awesome (left). I rode the trolley back to Canal Street, and then walked to Jackson Square. I was disappointed that there were only a few “artists” around the square… but I did find some interesting people…like this man, who made hats from some sort of plant leaves… and I bought a new cowboy hat (forgot to take mine) to block out the sun. That “rose” on my hat is made from palm leaves… which I bought from another arisan near the square. I walked past Cafe Du Mond, but decided to wait until a morning visit for their beignets, which really would go with my 20-ounce frozen margarita! Instead, I relaxed down by the River for a while… listening to the water lap the steps and feeling the breeze on my face and watching the steam boats and barges go by. I thought about how I could get on a boat and ride it straight up the river to Memphis… I don’t know where “The Natchez” goes… but she was sure pretty to watch. Ooops… it’s almost 8 pm… i’m in the Conceierge Lounge on the 21st floor of the New Orleans Marriott (free internet) watching severe thunderstorms building outside the window… I’m heading to our room to watch “American Idol” and see who gets cut. I think it will be Syesha Mercado … leaving the two Davids as the final two. What do you guys think? I’m pulling for David Cook, the rocker (far right)because, well, he rocks. MORE TOMORROW OR FRIDAY! (P.S. It’s Thurs morning and I just posted the link to the results from American Idol… a sad goodbye and best wishes to Syesha!

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