Travel and Growe - Gary & Cindy Go To ...

The Crescent City and The Capital

St. Louis Cathedral (New Orleans)

Cindy and I went to see the Pope in October.  No, not THAT Pope.  Not the one that lives in Rome. The one that lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  What, you say, "There's no Pope in Louisiana."  Clearly, you haven't been in the South.  Because in Loozianna Faith, Family and Football are the Holy Trinity and the Head Football Coach is as near as you can get to a secular Pope.

But, before we get to that part of the story, let's take a trip to the City of Dreams, The City That Care Forgot, The Big Easy, The Crescent City - 'Nawlins, a/k/a New Orleans, USA.

Gary and Cindy Help New Orleans Celebrate Its 300th Birthday.

Music In The Streets

Jackson Square All-Stars (New Orleans - 2018)

Of course, it comes as no surprise that the city that gave the world jazz is still giving everyone in the city music day and night - in the clubs (lots of them and relatively cheap) and on the streets. Hang around for a few days and you begin to get a sense that there's a very fine line, in terms of talent, between "stars" and people who are playing for pennies. Just a personal note - after stopping to listen to a street performer, throw in a couple of bucks not loose change.  Afterall, you spent thousands of dollars to get here, let yourself go a little.

Jackson Sq./St. Louis Cathedral (2018)
Giant Spiders (NO 2018)
Yes, Halloween is BIG in New Orleans
Ol' Man River (2018)
Jackson Square (2018)
Cindy and The Mask (2018)

Little House On The Bayou

If you like big, sprawling mansions take the St. Charles streetcar (they are NOT "trolleys"; although everyone will know what you mean, they also will know you're a tourist with a capital T) to the end of the line through the Garden District (one of the most beautiful residential areas in the US) for blocks and blocks of mansions.

If you're spending time in the French Quarter don't fail to note the Creole Cottages and all the little gingerbread Victorians that fill the Quarter.  They might look modest (or positively decayed in some cases) but housing in the Quarter is wildly expensive and lots of these seeming shacks run into the seven figures and are just spectacularly modern on the inside.

New Orleans also is home to the first townhouses in North America - The Pontalba Apartments.

Built in the mid-19th Century these wonderful old brick buildings flank Jackson Square and feature balconies with some of the ciy's most ornate cast iron work.  Most of the iron work in NO is "cast" (made using forms/molds) as opposed to "wrought" (largely hand made using a hammer and a very strong, artistic person).  The obvious difference is "cast" iron can be far more intricate and the patterns are easily replicated.  Either way, they're fascinating.

The Pontalba buildings are these days mostly private residences and consequently not subject to private viewing.  I've always wondered what they actually look like inside.  No more.  

If you buy a ticket for a tour of the French Quarter at the "1850 House" (ground level on the left side - as you face the river in Jackson Square) you also get access to one of the Pontalba Apartments that presents as it may have looked in the 1850's.  Impressive.


French Quarter (2018)
French Quarter (2018)
Spooky House, NO (2018)
Detail (2018)
Detail (2018)
Garden District (2018)
Garden District (2018)
Garden District (2018)
The Pontalba Apartments (2018)
Cindy In The Pontalba (2018)
Pontalba Parlor (2018)
Note Floor to Ceiling Windows (looks out to Jackson Square)
Pontalba Dining Room (2018)
Pontalba (Master Bedroom)(2018)
Pontalba (Childrens' Room)(2018)
Andrew Jackson (Jackson Square) New Orleans (2018) A duplicate statute of Old Hickory is across the street from the White House in Washington, DC


Tiger Stadium (LSU) From a Mile Away

So, after a few days it was on to Baton Rouge/LSU.  While I truly enjoyed my stay at LSU (Law School back some time ago) keep in mind that Baton Rouge is to New Orleans as, well, Scranton, PA is to Paris.  BR is pretty much a company town.  Actually, two companies:  Exxon (home of one of the largest oil refineries in the world) and Louisiana State University (LSU) site of perhaps the most beautiful college campus in the country and home to Louisiana's most important treasure (i.e.) the LSU football team and its mascot - a live Bengal Tiger.

Although we've been back to school a number of times since I graduated from Law School in 1975, it had been over 40 years since I'd been to a football game.  Then the stadium was enormous (with a capacity around 70,000) and tailgating was enjoyed by lots of fans.  Now the stadium dominates the skyline and on game nights is itself one of the largest cities in the state with a capacity of 102,000+.  Tailgating has risen to an art form, so much so that thousands of fans never actually go to the game, they just show up on Thursday, eat and drink for two days and on Saturday watch the game on TV from the comfort of their land-cruising 40 ft. RV.

As for the Tiger (LSU has had a live tiger mascot since 1936) this is Mike VII.  The Tiger's lot in life has improved quite a bit since I was a student. He gets the best veternarian care and resides in an expansive (15,000 sq. feet) new habitat.  LSU doesn't buy tigers or breed them.  They're gifted from rescue facilities that are otherwise unable to keep them.  I understand the objections to keeping wild animals caged.  If Mike didn't have his current job, he probably would have been euthanized.  Would that be better?  I don't have an answer to that.

Mike VII (2018)


Tiger Stadium (2018)

They say it never rains in Tiger Stadium for a football game.  Well, it rained.  But since it was 70 degrees it wasn't so bad.

We won the game.  We tailgated. We were down on the field (a rare honor)  We met Coach Orgeron (an even rarer honor) We saw the campus.  We saw Mike.  We bought some LSU stuff.  And we owe it all to our hosts and their family, all of whom could not have been more gracious.

Tiger Stadium (2018)
Miss Cindy Tailgating (2018)
Tailgating @LSU (2018)
Tailgating RV's (2018)
Mike The Tiger's Habitat (2018)
Me In The End Zone - Geaux Tigers! (2018)
Billy Cannon (2018)

Billy Cannon's Redemption

This is Billy Cannon.  He is, unquestionably, the man who put LSU football on the map.  He won the Heisman Trophy in 1959 as college football's best player and his iconic run against rival Ole Miss on Halloween night is perhaps the most famous play in college history.

He went on to a career in professional football and later became a dentist in Baton Rouge.

He also had about $6,000,000 in counterfeit $100's buried in his back yard.  In the late '80's he confessed to his involvement in the counterfeit scheme and served 2 years in Federal prison.

Later he went back to dentistry as the head of the medical program at Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana and, according to all accounts, was beloved by the inmates. 

Angola is the largest maximum security prison in the country.  It houses over 6,000 inmates, nearly two-thirds of whom are serving life-sentences.  Over 100 inmates are on death-row.

It can't possibly be an easy place to work.  He worked there for nearly two decades.

Cannon's fall from grace was stunning and left his fans (i.e. just about every person in Louisiana) in shock.  Even more amazing might be his reclamation. Cannon passed away in May, 2018.

So, that's Looziana 2018.  Laissez les bon temps rouler! "Let The Good Times Roll."


James 06.05.2019 05:21

I love traveling and through this article, I come to know that how I can enjoy this thing. SPO I will take a trip like this after coming back from my tour.

Gary Growe 15.05.2019 14:44

Thank you for your service.

Weiser 02.05.2019 07:48

I just like to say that New Orleans is just wow.

Philio 15.11.2018 22:57

I love these Gary. Grab C and travel more.... -p

Iris Freeman 15.11.2018 22:40

Gary, So interesting was wondering when you would send it. You do such a fabulous job of writing Loved it Thanks so much love to you and Cindy, Aunt Iris

Dave Licata 22.11.2017 17:18

Dear Gary and Cindy:
Great job!
My wife and myself are looking to visit Poland next June. I married the former Annette WADOWSKI.

Richard McGee 12.06.2017 13:49

Hi Gary and Cindy,

Thank you for including me in your website with your travel log.
I hope to get to Maine this year and so would like to stop by to say hello.

Dave Licata 09.06.2017 22:16

Very Nice.

Ana 27.02.2015 15:36

Hello Gary,

I really enjoyed exploring your blog. You have supplied some really great tips and "food for thought". I look forward to new posts!

Gary 27.02.2015 17:36

Ana, thank you so much.

Dave Licata 25.08.2014 05:40

My wife and I are headed for New Zealand this Fall any tips?
Dave in Lockport.

Magnetman 12.05.2013 17:58


Gary 12.05.2013 23:33

Glad you enjoyed it.

Philio N. Stoanne 12.05.2013 00:22

Now that you've shaken the yoke, I expect to hear you've chased down a lot more far-flung corners of our shrinking planet.

WTF! There's a character limit!!!!!!

G. 12.05.2013 23:32

Far flung? Well, there are lots of places in Italy that we've never been to. Terra del Fuego? No time soon. But thanks for the comment.

Cathy wedge 22.03.2013 22:04

Thanks for sharing. Can't wait for more travel blogs.

Gary 23.03.2013 16:01

You're very welcome. More travelogues should be posted over the next few weeks.

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Latest comments

08.08 | 00:42

Beautiful pictures guys...looks like you had a marvelous trip...heavenly gardens and fountains! Love Jess & Don... :)

07.08 | 21:20

Is Savannah really that nice all year round? You've got a knack for making a silk purse.... Anyway, I'm convinced; Savannah's on my bucket list. -p

15.05 | 14:44

Thank you for your service.

15.05 | 06:21

Quite interesting for me to know that.