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We spent the morning in Vacherie, touring the Oak Alley and Whitney plantations for two vastly different experiences. Oak Alley is stunning – the picturesque row of huge oaks lining the front entrance to the main house is a sight to behold. The tour focuses on the lives of the plantation owners – the guides are dressed in historical costumes and go to great length to make visitors feel like they are being transported back in time to the period. Mint juleps are served on the porch to the throngs of tourists wandering by.
After an interesting and educational tour of the St. Louis cemetery No. 1 (s/o Nick Cage, bad omens and his cult-y pyramid grave) in New Orleans earlier this year, we walked towards Treme for one of the most anticipated meals of our trip: a taste of America’s best fried chicken at none other than the institution that is Willie Mae’s Scotch House.
Just across from the historic Jackson Square, you’ll find the equally historic Cafe du Monde serving crowds day and night, 24/7 every day of the year, except for Christmas. Beignets are the only food thing on the menu here, and it’s been this way since 1862. To drink, you’ve got the choice between chicory coffee (a Cafe du Monde specialty), chocolate milk, milk or fresh pressed orange juice, keeping options sweet and simple. Two lines snake from the front front of the house all the way down the block – despite the sweltering New Orleans heat, there is a clear sense of commitment from the people in line.
Earlier this month, we spent the better part of a beautiful day out in the Louisiana swamps, quietly cruising around the little hidden parts of the Atchafalaya bayou for some of best bird and gator-watching the state has to offer. Huge trees with thick, ribbed trunks densely populate long stretches of the swamp, with long tendrils of Spanish moss clinging onto branches in all directions, gently swaying with the breeze. From far, they almost look like cobwebs, a perfect haunt for the famous ghosts and otherworldly spirits of Louisiana. Further adding to the unique landscape are sharp stumps jutting up from the water in clusters, the remainders of clear cut trees from years ago.