Our week in Gautier started off with a day of rain. And it didn’t just rain, it poured! It started about 1:00 am and was a steady downpour until 5:00 or 6:00 Saturday evening.
After some exploring around the Gautier, MS area we went to Mobile, Alabama on the third day. Lovely town. Next the big day in New Orleans. What a place. Again we made the mistake of only spending one day there. Lots more time is really needed to see this beautiful city.
A day trip to Dauphin Island, AL and then another rainy day spent at the resort in Gautier. Finally a very interesting drive from Gautier, MS to Perry, FL along the gulf coast. Hurricane Michael was devastating as the pictures will show.
A day of touring around the Gautier/Biloxi area. First we walked around the Mississippi National Sandhill Crane Wildlife Center and saw....nothing. So off to the Gulf Islands National Seashore where we saw a few Egrets, Herons and a turtle.
So down the road to Biloxi with a stop on the beach where there were hundreds of seagulls including "Black Skimmers". Odd looking birds.
Next stop was the last home of Jefferson Davis. If the name sounds familiar but your are not quite sure, he was the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The home is quite amazing. Construction began in 1848 and today it still stands, having withstood the war and many hurricanes including Katrina. The furniture is the real stuff owned by Jefferson Davis. Even the ceiling paint is untouched and still looks great. The grandfather clock on the front foyer is over 300 years old, still works keeping perfect time and has never been repaired.!
We decided to drive over to Mobile, Alabama today. Wonderful city, again full of history. Founded in 1711, the downtown streets are narrow, one way roads, lined with building from the middle to late 1800's. The park in the center of town has a lovely fountain and more super friendly squirrels than I have ever seen. We managed to go into a theater built in 1885 as a vaudeville and burlesque theater that was converted to film in the early 1900's.
Then we hung around long enough to get a few shots at night that turned out not bad.
New Orleans. So much to see, so little time. Impossible to do in one day but we gave it our best shot. First we rode the complete route of the Double Decker bus. It was cold (for here) at 13 C.
Then we made the decision that there was not enough time to walk the Garden District, go into all of the places we would have liked to so we simply decided to spend the afternoon and evening in the French Quarter. Splendid! Even cut short we took almost 800 pictures. I have narrowed it down to 84 here, which is too many but.........
I am not shy about asking for access to places we would never see without permission. If you don't ask, you don't get. Almost everywhere we were not only given permission but were greeted warmly and given tours. Such as Antoine's Restaurant. The Maitre 'D gave us the grand tour. This is the longest, continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. , since 1840! It has been owned by the same family for our generations. In fact, the Maitre 'D is the third generation from his family to work in the restaurant. One of the rooms (in the comments with the photo) is the room where the Mardi Gras starts each year. Where the King and Queen kick things off.
Then the St. Louis Cathedral - New Orleans. Also the street performers. Wonderful.
We walked all over the French Quarter. Most of the buildings, hotels, restaurants, homes etc. were built in the early to mid 1800's. Simply amazing that they are still around. Most have fallen into disrepair, restored, fallen and restored again. The streets are wide enough for 2 cars (buggies) and the architecture and atmosphere is magical.
After a late lunch/early dinner we waited for dark. I was able to get some after dark shots of the famous "Bourbon Street" and in the Four Points Sheraton Hotel. Sweet.
Today was a short (but quite interesting) drive to Dauphin Island, Alabama. A draw bridge and a long causeway/bridge to the island as well as a few stops along the way.
Dauphin Island boasts Fort Gaines, a bird sanctuary and miles of beaches. Fort Gaines, built in 1821 was the scene of another significant Civil War battle. Unfortunately, because of the cool, cloudy and rainy weather there wasn't much to see in the bird sanctuary. And the clouds prevented what might have been a spectacular sunset. Oh well, we got some decent shots of the fort, the sanctuary and the ocean. It is interesting that they have to plow the sand off the roads just like we have to plow the snow. Large piles of sand along the road.
Then dinner at a picturesque restaurant/marina on the way home. It has been run by the same lady for 50 years and at 90 she is still going strong.
When it rains here........it rains. Hard. All day long. So, a day staying home.
We have been blessed to have a variety of visitors to our patio this week. We didn't get pictures of the all but in summary, a few Blue Jays, plenty of squirrels, a couple Towhees (no pictures), several Northern Mocking Birds and a family of Northern Cardinals.
An interesting travel day, but a sad one. The day started out very well with a good shot of downtown Mobile, Alabama in the clouds. Then just outside Mobile, we came across Battleship Memorial Park where the USS Alabama is now a museum. No time to take a tour, but we got some great shots of her in the fog.
Then on down the Alabama coast into Florida. It didn't take long before we started seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Michael that hit in mid October. Simply unbelievable.
200 miles of utter devastation. Forests with every tree broken. And the towns. War zone is an understatement. Mexico Beach, took the brunt of Michael and really doesn't exist anymore in any real way. They are working hard to restore power, the road was open but very poor. It is hard to take pictures while driving in the rain but you will get a sense of this disaster. In no way do I want to minimize the Calgary flood but this is another level altogether.