As I sit under the eucalyptus trees, listening to the magpies in 28 degrees celsius, I will fully admit that I am running behind on the Farewell Tour blogs. We are back in Australia, it’s 2018 and the rest of the Farewell Tour updates will be more of photo gallery style with a few comments thrown in instead of the usually more rounded post that contains some information and detail about what we’ve been doing.
|City we’re visiting||Nashville & Memphis||State||Tennessee|
|Motto:||Agriculture and Commerce||Bird:||Mockingbird|
|Main rivers:||Mississippi, Tennessee||16th State Settled:||1 June, 1796|
Next stop, the home of Graceland (Elvis Presley’s former home) and surprisingly (to us!), one of our favourite cities on this trip.
Sampling some Memphis BBQ was high on our list and we hit the jackpot at Central BBQ, as recommended by our Airbnb host, Larry. Larry was awarded the Eagle Scout award in 1979, served 3 tours of Afghanistan and whipped Master P into line without batting an eyelid. We were frankly scared not to take his advice. (just joking, he is a legend)
After chatting to the kids about Afghanistan, giving them some legit Taliban money, a few cardboard coins that are issued to serviceman over there as legal currency (so that it doesn’t rattle in their pockets) and a few rather sordid and graphic tales, Larry recommended a stop at the Bass Pro Shop. We had never heard of it but given it is housed in a huge, glass pyramid in downtown Memphis, it’s hard to miss.
A tour of Sun Studios, where the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were discovered (known as the million dollar quartet) and recorded some of their earlier music and more recently U2, John Mellencamp, Def Leppard and Bonnie Rait.
During our Memphis travels we came across a flyer for a local antique market that happened to be on our way out of the city when we left. Obviously our luggage didn’t allow any large purchases but Miss E and Master P scored some little trinkets and we found some interesting pieces.
And off we went, on our way to New Orleans.
|City we’re visiting||New Orleans||State||Louisisana|
|Capital:||Baton Rouge||Nickname:||Pelican State|
|Motto:||Union, Justice & Confidence||Bird:||Brown Pelican|
|Main rivers:||Mississippi, Red||18th State Settled:||30 April, 1912|
Prior to entering New Orleans we stopped at the Joyce WMA Swampwalk that takes you into a swamp on a raised boardwalk. The boardwalk was destroyed in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac but has been rebuilt and opened again in 2012.
We stayed at an Airbnb in Algiers Point, across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter of New Orleans. Just a $2 ferry ride across to the city.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World was definitely a must do on our list, especially as we were visiting this city outside of the Mardi Gras season. And I say season deliberately because, as we discovered, Mardi Gras actually takes place over about 6 weeks rather than just 1 day as most people probably believe. The opportunity to come to a warehouse containing both old props and floats, and new designs being prepared for the next Mardi Gras simply can’t be missed.
Mardi Gras, like Christmas, is a whole season – not just one day. That being said, Fat Tuesday is the biggest day of celebration, and the date it falls on moves around. You’ll find that Fat Tuesday can be any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9. Carnival celebration starts on Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany), and picks up speed through midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter, and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a spring equinox. There you have it. Voila! If you’re still confused, get out a calendar that has the holidays printed on it. Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday!
Excerpt taken from http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com
Learning some about the history of Louisiana would not be complete without covering the era of plantations and slavery. There are a number of beautiful plantation mansions around and after a spot of delicious lunch at The Cabin in Burnside, we took a drive to look at some of these beautiful homes from a bygone era.
We visited the Creole Laura Plantation where we were able to have a tour inside the main home and historic slave quarters with an extra bonus. The story told by our lovely tour guide Kristen was taken from the personal journals of Laura Locoul Gore, the fourth mistress of the plantation. Her memoirs provide an unusually honest record of life on a plantation, including how the slaves were treated, the Creole traditions that dictated the handing down of property (including slaves) and what happens when the ins and outs of the family dynamic can influence these things.
Creole is the non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that flourished in Louisiana before it became a part of the United States in 1803 and continued to dominate South Louisiana until the early decades of the 20th century. Native birth, the French language and Roman Catholicism were the benchmarks for identity in this Latin-based society that included people of white, black and mixed-race ancestry.
Culturally, influences from three groups, namely, west Europeans, west Africans, along with significant input from Native Americans combined to become Louisiana Creole culture.
The Creole functioned in an elitist structure, based on family ties. In its philosophy, economics and politics, European custom and modern thought were thrown out and, in their place, a strict, self-serving pragmatism was born out of the isolation and desperation that characterized Louisiana in her formative years. The earliest, tragic lessons of survival in Louisiana created a family-oriented world that would, for centuries, put little value in public education or public works and even in the rule of law.
Creole Louisiana was a place where class, not race, determined social status, where rural life conformed to rigid disciplines, where human bondage created wealth, where adherence to the family business and tradition was paramount, where women ran businesses and owned property, where democratic ideals and individualism were held in contempt and where, until the 20th century, people spoke French and lived this way, separate from the dominant White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant American culture.
Exerpt taken from http://www.lauraplantation.com
The tour took us through the cellar under the main floor where wine and huge urns of olive oil were kept, into various parts of the house which were resplendent with antiques from the time period, even some that are original to the home, the outdoor kitchen, slave homes and even another home on the property, built for the aging matriarch that has since fallen into complete disrepair. It was a fascinating and sometimes confronting account, particularly regarding the fathering of dozens of children by the white plantation owners with slave girls (some not more than 12 years old).
Creole Plantation home – The Laura Plantation home reflects the way that most Creole homes were painted.
I have purchased the book Memories of the Old Plantation Home which is the full version of Laura’s journals and I can’t wait to read it.
Loved these three cities and their surrounds. Off to Texas next!