What a FABULOUS day Miss Ginger has had in NOLA today! She worked here on Friday and stayed the weekend to spend time with her favorite (lesbian) cousin, JC, and we have just had an incredible time so far! Last night we got together after work, and decided we wanted authentic Lousiana seafood, so we went to Deanies, right here in the French Quarter. JC had never had a chargrilled oyster, so Miss G knew that had to be on the menu! Yumm!!!
After our night of dining and drinking, we tentatively planned our Saturday, and man, what a Saturday we had!
We started the day on Canal Street at the Audubon Insectarium, one of the newest incarnations of the Audubon Nature Institute. The Audubon Society, now know as the Audubon Nature Institute, is as precious to the South as the Smithsonian is to the nation in general. The Institute began with a humble bird exhibit in 1916, and has gradually grown to a full-fledged treasure with a complete zoo, parks, an aquarium, an IMAX theatre, and now an Insectarium, located in the historic US Customs Building. Some of the insects were gross, many of them were gorgeous, and all were fascinating and educational. The Audubon Insectarium get a bigs thumbs up from Miss G!
Looking at all those bugs made us hungry (?!) so we headed off in search of genuine creole brunch. We decided upon the Old Coffee Pot Restaurant, where we were most pleased with our Eggs Jonathan and Eggs Sardou, plus a couple of the best bloody marys ever!
After brunch, we headed over to the National WWII Museum, another one of NOLA's national treasures! You may wonder why the nation's WWII museum was built in New Orleans, instead of Washington, DC, but the answer makes a lot of sense. The museum began as the New Orleans D-Day Museum, and was intended to commemorate the contribution that New Orleans' own Higgins Industries contributed to the war effort. Andrew Jackson Higgins was a boat builder here in New Orleans, whose original industry was to build swamp boats for local trappers and fisherman. During World War II, Higgins' production. like everyone elses, was shifted to the war effort. Higgins retooled his fishing boat design to accomodate a drop-down ramp at the bow, and the LCVP (Landing Craft for Vehicles and Personnel) was born. The Higgins boat was tested and demonstrated in Lake Ponchartrain as a watercraft that could beach, retreat, and re-beach thousands of times. A tank could be driven from it's drop-down ramp to the beach, and troops could be debarked four abreast, upright, in rapid sequence. The Higgins boat made the invasion at Normandy possible, and was crucial to the America's victory in Europe The D-Day museum was originally designed to commemorate that contribution.
Congress recognized the importance of preserving this important slice of American History, and recognized the museum as the nation's only National World War II museum. Since then, it has grown to include additional exhibits in the main collection, plus a multi-media "4-D" theatre experience that is like IMAX on steroids! It was particularly meaningful to JC and I, since both of our Dads served in WWII, and we were both bawling as we left the theatre! Definitely a not to be missed experience!
Finally, we ended the night with more seafood, more wine, and more bonding. It was truly great to see my favorite cuz!