The Crescent City

Layla Apodaca, Reporter

“Knock three times on the slab and ask a favor. Draw the X, place your hand over it, rub your foot three times against the bottom, throw some silver coins into the cup, and make your wish.” But, it won’t come true.  One of my guides gave us a little insight to the secrets of New Orleans.

Here is where I realized this was going to be an otherworldly experience. New Orleans,  the metropolitan area of the state of Louisiana, where deep fried dough was born and invigorating Voodoo rituals are performed.

During my visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, I learned so many new things and gained so many new perspectives. The world as I knew it was totally different.

Before I went to New Orleans, I did some background research to prepare myself for the visit. It currently has a population of 391,495 and is the 46th largest state in the US. At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States.  The city is so multicultural and it’s not hard to see why.

The cultural influences date to the French and Spanish colonial periods and the introduction of African slaves during the 18th century. Africans, enslaved and free, shared their cultures with American Indians and also had many encounters with European settlers.

The city is often described as a Caribbean city and not as a Southern city, since the culture is so unique and distinct from other cities down South.

The streets are small and the people are crazy. The amount of pedestrians is overwhelming, lots of people are  dancing, singing, painting and sleeping in parks.

        Vegetation in Louisiana is a lot different than it is here. There’s amazing scenery of coastal bayous surrounded by lush, dense trees. Unlike Durango, there are no mountains, but it’s very lush.

           On the first day I toured the Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. In most places, people are buried underground and have a tomb stuck above their head. In the St. Louis cemetery, the deceased are buried above ground. In stone crypts and mausoleums, the dead are placed in either individual, family, or society builds. The reason that the deceased are placed above ground is that the earth is extremely wet and the casket would float in a pool of water that resides underground.  Only in New Orleans could cemeteries be major tourists attractions.

          Next, I took a tour of the Whitney Plantation. Our guide was an African American woman that was very passionate about her history and she gave me a whole new look at the dark part of history: slavery. We learned about slaves and their owners in school, but I saw what slaves had to do to stay alive. I saw the homes they lived in, beds they slept on in comparison to the luxurious lives of the plantation owners.

The next morning my mom and I  got up and and had the best biscuits and gravy of our lives, at Wakin’ Bakin’. Then we decided to go see the Mississippi River, since New Orleans is right at the curve of the river It cost $2 to ride a ferry across to Algiers Point, and on the other side of the river, my mom realized she had no dollar bills. So unfortunately, we got lost walking around Algiers Point looking for an ATM.

On the final day, we woke up early, packed our things and headed to get breakfast on the way out of town. I had told my mom I wanted to save this one place for the last day because so many people told me I absolutely had to go there while in New Orleans.  Café Du Monde, the original french market coffee stand. It’s known for its delicious café au lait and beignets. It was a long drive home, so we left after eating the yummiest donuts.

Overall, New Orleans was a life changing experience. I had never been so far from home, and it was very different than the life that I’m used to.  I’m curious about what else there is to see in New Orleans, because I didn’t have the chance to see all the beauty and culture it has to offer. After such an enriching trip, my family and I are planning another vacation to New Orleans so we can relive the time of our lives.