Au revoir, New Orleans.
Thank you kindly for your endless hospitality and raucous sense of humour delivered to a soundtrack of jazz and backdrop of buildings that represent your French and Creole history as well as your modern American present.
I will remember your fondness for arctic airconditioning with a smile. Of how I had to actively seek out the heat and humidity of the conference centre courtyard every few hours to get warm when my next Australian summer rolls around and I swelter in its heat whether I'm indoors or out.
I will also smile because though we speak with such different accents, I only had to use my Starbucks name once because you all had such good memories with who ordered what, no names needed ever to be written on coffee cups.
I never knew red velvet biscotti existed until I visited you and I'm glad I gave it a go.
Your 24 hour pharmacies downtown were pleasant places to spend my last night getting a few extra gifts for everyone back home.
I was a little sad to discover that you don't believe cheese flavoured Chex Mix is a thing but I'm bringing everything else you had home with me anyway.
It was only a lightening speed walk through of the cosmetic aisles last night and here is what caught my eye:
a line of Instagram ready make up from Physician's Formula
and the latest rose tinted blushes from one of my favourite drugstore brands, Milani.
Yes, this is all the non food stuff I bought. A few travel pots of Aquaphor (aka miracle dry skin healer) and some mouth wash for the plane. With the dollar being what it is there wasn't anything else I really needed that I also couldn't get for less in Australia. I hear the AUD could head further south to 40 cents by the end of the year!?!?!? Unsubstantiated scare mongering but a headline I think flashed past me this morning as I was scrolling through my twitter feed.
A few days ago, we took advantage of a break in the rain and took a streetcar uptown to the Garden District. It costs $3 for an all day ticket and remember to put some muscle into it when opening the back door to alight from the street car.
It was only a 20 minute ride but it felt like a world away.
It was so green, peaceful and quiet walking down the streets of beautiful, stately houses.
One of the main points of interests is the Lafayette Cemetery whose high white wall is to the right of this photo.
The district originally consisted of large parcels of land that housed plantations, residences and enough extra land for the beautiful gardens that exist to this day.
The houses are a combination of early 19th century mansions and Victorian 'ginger bread' style houses.
I even spotted a carriage (minus its horse) parked in someone's back garden.
According to Wikipedia, a whole host of famous people live here - Anne Rice, John Goodman, Sandra Bullock and ... Beyonce and Jay Z!
Benjamin Button's house is also meant to be somewhere in the area....
There is a building that used to house an ice skating rink in the area. It has now been converted to an arcade of boutique style shops.
This striking blue verandah hidden behind a nest of ferns belongs to a bed and breakfast.
And this is part of the garden of The Mother of Perpeptual Hope Church.
Some more photos of the details like the metalwork of the gates and terraces of the grand houses in the area.
I love how the owners of many houses have kept the original style of lamps on the walls surrounding their houses. Most lamps have LED bulbs in them which were even switched on during the day. It's lovely to see the faithful preservation of some parts of the history of this area.
And on that note, I shall leave you. It's just about check out time and I need to get all my bags and myself down to the lobby soonish.