Depart from Natchez State Park, MS
This was the big day. Tonight I'd sleep in a hotel bed in New Orleans!
Finally out of Mississippi and into Louisiana! Only I neglected to take a picture of the bilingual sign welcoming you into Louisiana (in my defence I was hungry and cranky having had only Chef Boyardee 10 hours earlier...).
Arrive in Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge is the Louisiana state capitol. Its capitol building has the distinction of being the tallest of any state. And they let you visit the observation deck before 9h on a Saturday. Awesome!
The WWII destroyer U.S.S. Kidd is a floating museum on the Mississippi. I have to admit that I felt almost guilty having driven my Japanese Domestic Market car with fake Japanese license plate to visit a boat that had seen heavy fighting in the Pacific theatre against you-know-who. Weird thought.
The River Road generally follows the Mississippi river all the way down to New Orleans. It changes highway numbers quite often, but you can be pretty sure you're on it if there's a giant grassy levy on your right. In fact, you really don't see anything at all of the river on the River Road since there's a giant wall making sure that the river doesn't flood the ground you're on. If you really followed the course of the river all the way to New Orleans, it would take a really, really long time because the river constantly snakes around in great bends. I cut out the bends whenever a road permitted this.
While the view to the right is always a big grassy mound, to the left you see one giant industrial plant after another. It seems like every multinational petroleum or chemical company is represented. The other curious thing is that most of the railway locomotives are CN (Canadian National). But since CN controls the Illinois Central Railroad, this does make sense.
I don't think it's possible to follow the river all the way to New Orleans. At one point the River Road did not cross a flood canal and instead gave out onto US 61. But eventually it was possible to make it back to the river. One interesting thing that you notice when your GPS gives you elevation is the following. I saw as low as -4m, but couldn't stop to take a picture:
Arrive in French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Finally, after seven and a half long days of driving, the Levin and I had reached our goal: the New Orleans French Quarter. The drive in through the Garden District was lovely and I was quite impressed with the overall vibe of New Orleans. Exploring the French Quarter would only add to that feeling.
Arriving by chance on a Saturday, the night life on Bourbon Street was indeed quite lively. And afterward the nice cozy bed was a welcome change from the Therm-a-Rest!
Driving Summary: 369km over about 7 hours