Summer 2009

New Orleans

1 June 2009

General Information

Local Map

Photographs and Commentary
Click on picture to enlarge

We have been to New Orleans on numerous occasions and explored some of the area around the city. In all of those visits we never attempted to follow the Mississippi River down to its delta. Today we decided to do so.

We followed the west bank of the Mississippi down to its mouth... or at least as far as we could drive. Because of the meandering nature of the river in the vicinity of New Orleans, we drove southeast to get to the west bank of the river (zoom in on the map above to see the routing in more detail). We crossed the river on the Ponchartrain Expressway bridge into Gretna and Belle Chasse, where we picked up highway 23. Once on 23, it is hard to get lost since there is no other highway here. We took highway 23 almost to its end. Once out of the suburbs, the terrain is flat and the sights are limited. Although we are fairly close to the river through much of the length of highway 23, you could not see it because of the levee. It appears that the major industries here are related to the extraction and refining of oil. There are refineries, offshore maintenance service companies and helicopter bases to ferry personnel to and from the offshore rigs. The other major industry we noticed was related to commercial and recreational fishing. One of the things we saw along the route was the many new mobile homes and what were either new homes or rebuilt homes. In 2005, the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed directly over this area with winds of 135-145 miles per hour (see . We believe that all these new homes were replacements for those destroyed during the storm.

This evening was devoted to music, Cajun and Jazz. We first went to dinner at Mulate's, a Cajun restaurant across from the New Orleans Convention Center, that has live music. After a leisurely dinner we walked to the French Quarter and Preservation Hall. Preservation Hall is dedicated to "protect and honor New Orleans Jazz which had lost much of its popularity to modern jazz and rock n roll." It is a small venue with limited seating. You have to get there early in order to get a seat on a bench. Get there late and you will wind up standing or sitting on the floor as I did. The band plays a number of sets a night and we sat through one 45 minute set (I don't think my knees could have handled a second set). This was not our first experience (we stood through a set the last time) and it is likely that we would go back again on future visits to New Orleans.

All pictures by Susie Hess

Cattle Range

Cattle range off Highway 23

Chevron Refinery

Chevron refinery

Ship traveling up the river

A ship traveling up the Mississippi. The levee obscures part of the ship and it is apparent that the road is below the level of the river.

Boat Harbor

A harbor with commercial fishing boats seen from the only elevated portion of the road south of Belle Chasse. The Mississippi is in the background.

abandoned mall

Empty mall which we assume is a victim of Hurricane Katrina


Superdome viewed from the Ponchartrain Expressway

Band at Preservation Hall

Jazz band at Preservation Hall

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