A Plantation, a Preserve and lots of seafood – NOLA

At the River Walk in New Orleans were 22 plaques describing interesting facts about the mighty Mississippi River.  One thing we learned is that this mud-laden water has flowed over 2,350 miles and takes about 66 days to get from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.  Our crossing of the Mississippi River was a unique trip, according to one of the plaques.  Because Louisiana is the only state divided by the river, and New Orleans the only city that straddles it, this is the only place you can cross the river without crossing a city or state line.  Oh yeah, we felt unique after leaving New Orleans.

Mississippi River

On other days our excursions around the area took us to a Plantation and a Preserve.

Between New Orleans and Baton Rouge are nine majestic historic plantations known collectively as the New Orleans Plantation Country.  The roots of these lavish estates began in 1718 with the founding of New Orleans.  Most plantations produced sugar, which provided their owners with the kind of vast wealth it took to build these huge estates.  To keep their place in history, the homes have been authentically restored to their original style.

We chose to tour the “Grande Dame of the Great River Road,” the Oak Alley Plantation, which is a protected National Historic Landmark.  It is named after its distinguishing feature, an alley or canopied path created by a double row of massive live oaks about a quarter mile long.  They were planted in the early 18th century, long before the present house was built.  The alley runs between the house and the Mississippi River.

Alley of Oaks

Mint Julep seems to be the favorite drink in this area, and they had a little bar set up at the house.  It was still early in the morning, but we didn’t want to seem out of place.  So, with a Mint Julep in hand we strolled the grounds after the guided tour and admired the majestic oak trees close-up.

On another day we took a trip to the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Barataria Preserve, which is 14 miles south of the state park where we stayed.  The preserve’s 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 300 species of birds – lots of them.  After a brief stop at the visitor center, we meandered down the boardwalk trails (Visitor Center Trail and Palmetto Trail) and dirt trails (Bayou Coquille Trail) which wind through the preserve.  Here is the trail map, or you can enjoy a self-guided tour or explore with a cell phone tour.

The swamp critters we encountered are quite fascinating.

American Bullfrog
American Bullfrog



American Alligator
American Alligator – Steve finally sees his first ‘gator!

The rest of our days at Bayou Segnette State Park were spent cooking seafood, for just outside the park is a bustling Seafood Market.  And we got busy, cooking and eating, and on other days we simply enjoyed the frequent visits of the Northern Cardinals, seven of them at one time!

After this stop, we need to double up on our exercise!




  1. I enjoyed the pictures except for the sea food. I think all animals should not be eaten. I guess I’m kind of an animal rights activist. Keep enjoying your great adventures! I love reading your blog.

  2. Another super informative post for those heading that way. Thanks!

    I love seafood! So glad to here there is a market near by.

    Take a few pictures of the campground area before you leave, please. Do they have full hook ups? I hope you didn’t mention this earlier and I forgot.

    • Like any state parks, there is no on site sewer. I recommend this park if you prefer peace and quiet. The park is huge, wide space between sites, quiet and lots of birds and you can bike/walk around.
      There are RV parks walking distance to the city too if you like to experience NOLA at night or explore more.
      Nina has a camp review of this park too.

  3. FRESH seafood…..and I can’t wait to visit a plantation! Not sure about Gulf Shores or Pensacola…but East of Destin, you can go to Topsail State Park and do the Hwy 30A route…the beaches are dreamy, the most amazing restaurants ever, and a bike trail from the state park all the way from one end to the other. My favorite place ever.

  4. Thanks for the addl ideas for things to do in NOLA.

    Haven’t been to Gulf Shores, yet. But, don’t miss the Naval Air Museum on NAS Pensacola … anyone can go; just have picture ID to get on base. Fort Barrancas is also on the grounds of the base, and is interesting to check out. If you’re there on a Tuesday, go early to watch the Blue Angels practice (at least it was Tuesdays when we were in Pensacola last fall; you can check the website). McGuire’s Irish Pub has a good “naked fish and chips” … but only for lunch. Joe Patti’s is the go-to seafood market in Pensacola. If you’re staying at Ft Pickens while in Pensacola (or even if you aren’t), Ft Pickens on Santa Rosa Island is a great place to not just visit the fort, but also to walk on the beach and enjoy the Gulf.

  5. This is a definite must see city for us. Your photos and talk of all the wonderful food make it very enticing. Safe travels to you. 🙂

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