Thursday, April 8, 2010

DAY 3 (Monday, March 29)...

This morning we were determined to have our breakfast at the Cafe Du Monde.  When we had passed it the day before and there was a huge line, so we needed to make sure that we were there early enough to avoid the crowds.

The place was full when we got there, but we were still able to get a table.  Seems that most, if not all of the servers are from Asia and are mostly ladies.  They pile of powdered sugar that they put on the beignets is crazy.  You never need that much sugar and Jerome was remarking about how much they must go through in a year. Boo Boo and I used some in our coffee, but we noticed that an oil slick appeared on the top of our coffee from the deep frying oil.
We started heading out of the city for our journey around the lower portion of Louisiana.  On the way out, we stopped at the Mardi-gras World, where they house all the floats for the big Mardi-gras parades.  There is a free shuttle to bring you from the French Quarter to the warehouse, or you can park for $5.  It was going to cost us about $15 per person to take the tour, but the funny thing is, they walk you right through the warehouse, right through the mass of floats before you get to the place to buy the tickets.  If you're only interested in seeing big colorful floats, then you don't really need to buy a ticket.  You have nearly free reign.  So, we stayed for about a 1/2 hour, taking pictures and looking at all the floats - we even got to see people working on the floats.  These guys were using Styrofoam to create their figures.  It was neat and right on the river, so you could see freighters going by.

On our way out to see the rest of Louisiana; in the direction of Baton Rouge.  First stop, The San Francisco Plantation.  Located on River Road, which is a winding road along the Mississippi.  This was one of many Plantations that we would stop and photograph, or stop for a bit of a tour.  On one tour we learned that the only difference between a Plantation and a farm is access to the river.  You can only call yourself a Plantation if you are on a river and can ship your goods using that river (or body of water).
As were were driving around, we happened upon something interesting; men at work building stuff - but stuff we had never seen before.  It was this large flat land area that had rows and rows of long strips of what looked like cement blocks - all lined up and stacked.  There were men and machines at work making these blocks, but these were no ordinary blocks - sort of like cinder blocks and unlike cinder blocks.  There were many machines that did different things like pour the cement, flatten the cement and then men would fill in the areas that needed more cement.  I think we counted 32 rows of 12 stacks of long lines of cement blocks.  The machines that most of the men were using seemed to be handmade tractors, where they fabricated machines using lawn mowers or ATVs - only on very tall tank-like treads.
We stayed and watched them work for 20 minutes or so, making our guesses as to what they were making.  Turns out, my guess was pretty on par.  I thought it had something to do with the levies.  And it did turn out to be the Army Corps of  Engineers (PUT NAME OF FACILITY HERE).  We asked at our hotel later and found out that yes, they make these cement blocks for making dams and for shoring up the levies.

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