April 10th - New Orleans, Louisiana

Today was the first day we have had of real rain. Heavy rain during the morning meant we spent most of the time walking around the French Market. I bought a book about Hurricane Katrina which has recently won the Pulitzer Prize for news journalism. I wanted to learn more about how the city was devastated in August 2005 and how it is re-building itself.

We then took one of the river cruises aboard the steamboat, Natchez, A two hour ride down and then back up the Mississippi. The trip was really worthwhile. Along the way we passed St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of New Orleans, the oldest in the United States.

We then saw some of the damage done by Katrina. Wharves that were totally burnt out by exploding chemical containers that were turned over in the storm.

We also saw the historical site of the Battle of New Orleans as well as many industrial complexes along this mighty river.

As we approached the end of the trip we had a wonderful view of the New Orleans skyline.

We arrived back at the dock in time to go to the Imax theatre and see a movie made about Katrina. Seeing the storm damage on a 50ft screen was quite unbelievable. One shot in particular left a lasting impression. A house had landed on top of an upside down pick-up truck! All you could see of the truck was the bonnet and headlights.

This evening we will sample some more of New Orleans Cajun cooking as well as the very special night-life. Tomorrow we head north for Mississippi and the historical town of Vicksburg, famous for the civil war battles fought there.

I can't end this post without a mention of my football team - Chelsea FC. A fantastic win against Valencia in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after being a goal down. I managed to follow the match on my mobile phone whilst cruising the Mississippi!

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