Orlando, Florida to New Orleans:
We flew into Orlando from LAX on April 16, 2004. We picked up our rental from
Budget at the airport (Ford Explorer, a mid-size SUV). That afternoon we drove to
Cocoa Beach (near Cape Canaveral) as we were going to meet the next day with some
friends of my parents who they knew from their time in the States in the 60s and 70s. They
live in Mims, FL, which is in Brevard County, not that far from Cocoa Beach.
The next night we stopped at Tallahassee, the state capitol of Florida. From there, we drove
through Fort Walton County Florida, home to some very nice beaches along the Gulf Coast
of Florida, in the area known as the ’Panhandle’. For some reason that was explained to us
and I forget now, these beaches have a very white sand and are considered among the nicest
beaches in the USA.
We stopped for the night at Mobile, Alabama - not for any particular reason but that it seemed a
good place to stop if we intended to drive to New Orleans the next day. As it turned out,
we found an interesting thing to do the next morning, at the USS Alabama site in Mobile Bay.
They have the battleship USS Alabama tied up there, which I think is a sister ship to better
known vessels such as the USS Missouri and USS Iowa. As well, there is a submarine
(USS Drum) and a good collection of warplanes of various types. I’m an aviation enthusiast,
so I loved it.
We loved New Orleans – it was one of our favorite cities in the whole trip. We stayed at a
place on St Charles Ave, in the Garden District. You could get the St Charles Trolley right
outside our hotel – only a few minutes ride into the French Quarter. Very cheap, too.
While in New Orleans, we explored the French Quarter, Bourbon St etc, and also did a
riverboat cruise on the Natchez. We joined a tour of the famous cemeteries, which was really
informative and interesting. Our guide was a nice woman with a real Southern accent who was
very knowledgeable about the early history of New Orleans. We also visited a few churches on
this trip, as well as a Voodoo temple.
It’s well known that the food is great in New Orleans and we totally agree. We tried all the local
food such as catfish, jambalaya, gumbo and lots of other dishes as well. They also had great markets
there, where we bought all sorts of hot sauces, as well as souvenirs like alligator foot key rings and
After we left New Orleans, we stopped near Baton Rouge to do a swamp tour. We had intended
to do one while in New Orleans, but it didn’t work out that way. Anyway, we’re glad we did the
one near Baton Rouge, as it was an excellent tour. The guide on the tour was very knowledgeable
and well –informed on all the wildlife that inhabit the swamp areas. Americans in general seem to
be crazy about Steve Irwin (‘The Crocodile Hunter’), and as soon as they realized we were
Australian, they assumed we knew all about crocs. Actually, the guide had visited tropical
Queensland in Australia, so was well aware of the differences between crocs and alligators.
The alligators found in Nth America are nowhere near as dangerous to humans as are our crocs,
particularly the large ‘saltwater’ variety that are common in the tropical regions of Australia.
Most of the people on the swamp tour were kids from a high school nearby, who were most
interested in our strange accents and the fact that we came from the same place as Steve Irwin.
So we ended up having to hold baby alligators and even feed a chicken to a full-grown alligator
back at the wharf where they had an enclosed areas for them.
Kids at Beach - Fort Walton County, Florida
USS Alabama, Mobile, AL
Dom & Zac –On board USS Alabama
At USS Alabama Site - Mobile, Alabama
B52, USS Alabama site, Mobile AL
B52, another view…
SR71 Blackbird - Mobile, Alabama
WWII Warbird - Mobile, AL
Yep, he’s towing that little red car behind that huge RV (Recreational Vehicle).
This is a common sight on America’s highways. Submarine USS Drum in
background, Mobile, AL
New Orleans Parade
Riverboat 'Natchez', New Orleans
Dom & kids with statue of Andrew Jackson, New Orleans
New Orleans from Riverboat
Spanish Navy Sailing Ship, New Orleans
Interior View –Our Lady of Guadalupe Church - New Orleans, built 1826
Interior View –Our Lady of Guadalupe Church - New Orleans
Entrance to Cemetery, New Orleans
New Orleans Cemetery –Used in the movie ‘Easy Rider’
New Orleans Cemetery
DJK and Bourbon Street Sign
Caity with beads, New Orleans
Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Caity with Alligator - Swamp Tour near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
DJK feeding Alligator, Louisiana