Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 5: Oak Alley Plantation / Swamp Tour / Sugar Bowl

This is the only day we rented a car. Our original plan was to go to Oak Alley Plantation, the swamp tour and then go outlet shopping. We rented the car because the places we wanted to go was far away.

The first attraction we were heading to was the Oak Alley Plantation. There were a few plantations to choose from. We picked this one because it was a larger and more beautiful one. It was an hour drive away from the French Quarter, where we were staying.

It was so beautiful. We arrived at the side of the house. We walked to the front and we saw the Kodak moment. This was what we saw in the marketing brochures for this plantation. It was the house with a long walkway and lined with oak trees, hence the name Oak Alley. Each side is lined with 14 oak trees for a total of 28 oak trees. There was a tour every half an hour. We were greeted with tour guides dressed in period costumes. Inside the house were items reflecting the time period. Outside the house they had a small concession stand. We shared a Mint Julep (two parts bourbon (whiskey) blended with one part homemade mint syrup). It was something different. It was quite good. Being the cheap drunk that I am, I got a tiny buzz from it. The land the house was on was quite large. Behind the house, they had a small civil war tent set up.  It was quite neat to see it.There was also a small video monitor with civil war videos playing. We watched it for a few minutes. On the other side of the grounds was a small cemetery of the last owners of the house. It was kinda creepy but neat. After walking around the grounds and soaking in life of the 1800's, it was time for lunch. We went to the Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant. It was a hop and skip away from the house.

For me it was the best restaurant experience in New Orleans. The restaurant wasn't a fancy restaurant. It was a very plain jane type of restaurant, very basic. It wasn't very busy. There was a table of three beside us and they had their laptop on and watching a funny show on it. It was a bit disturbing at times. We were all relaxed to enjoy our meal. After our food arrives we all pull out our cameras to take pictures of the food. We tried our best to order local food, like fried catfish, crawfish stew over fried catfish. and duck fingers (breaded duck breast tenderloin fried and served with a raspberry - habanero dipping sauce). The food was delicious. The service was ok.

Our second stop was the swamp tour. It was about 30 minutes away from the plantation. The tour was supposed to start at 2:15pm. It was the last tour of the day. We had to make it! From the plantation to the swamp, the GPS took us for a ride. We took a few detours and took longer than we anticipated to get to the swamp tour. We thought we were going to be 10  mins late. We called them to let them know we were on our way. We got there right when the tour started. The swamp tour was

riding in a boat through the swamp. It was something different. I was eager to see the alligators in the swamp. Once we started the ride, the tour guide said he hasn't seen alligators in the last few rides on the swamp. It was no Disneyland ride. There were no mechanical animals to scare us. If we were lucky we would see real alligators. No luck today! The tour guide has a baby alligator as a pet. He brought it on the boat to show us. This is me and the baby alligator. We headed to the Sugar Bowl right after the swamp tour.

 We were excited to see the Sugar Bowl. It was the biggest thing happening that day. It was a college football game. It was Michigan versus Virginia Tech. Around town we saw many people wearing Michigan or Virginia Tech clothing. We totally scored by getting cheap tickets the night before. Thank you guy on the streetcar for telling me where I can get cheap tickets! We didn't realized how busy it was going to be. The plan was to pick up the tickets at around 5pm and then do whatever then head to the game closer to 7:30pm. When we got to downtown to pick up the tickets, it was a zoo. It seems like everyone was there for the game already. I have never seen so many people come to the game that early. The were actually heading to the fan zone first. The fan zone reminded us of the Olympics. There was so many people. There was a concert stage. There were booths selling alcohol and food. It was a huge party outside before the game. It was time to head into the Superdome. We were standing in line. The guy in front of us told us we can by pass the huge ass line by lining up in the woman's line.
We were a bit confused by what he was saying.When we saw the sign, we understood what he said. The male line was HUGE. The female line only had a few people. This was the first time we saw something like this. We went thru the line in a jiffy. After we went thru the line, we realized why it was separated. The male line had male security to search them. The female line had the female security to search them. We had pretty good seats. It was lower bowl seats. We got to our seats to watch the game. Before the game started, there was the marching band performing to pump everyone everyone up. In the stadium, if you were sitting on the left side your seat had a yellow pom pom to cheer for Michigan (their colors are navy and yellow). If you were sitting on the right side, you would've gotten a burgundy pom pom to cheer for Virginia Tech (their colors are burgundy and yellow). The four of us didn't know much about football and didn't know what was going on with the game. We stayed until the half time show. It was really cool to watch the two teams marching bands and the cheerleading teams. The marching band had about 300 people. It was huge! We left after the half time show. It was enough football for us.

After the football game we wanted to eat dinner. The other day we met this lady at Starbucks and she gave us some restaurant recommendations. We had a GPS with us. We went thru the list to see which restaurants were close by and open. The restaurant on the list which was closest to us was Luke's. Luke's is a Chef John Besh Restaurant. We got there just in time. We got there about 9ish and it closes at 11pm.  The picture is of jumbo shrimp and grits. We also had a dish of smoked pork shank, Mangalitsa belly and bratwurst. It was very German not very 'local' to us but it was something different. We also had parmesan crusted skate wing with some root vegetables. We ate a great meal there.

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