Our flight to New Orleans was easy and comfortable. We accommodated the request of the flight attendants by singing for the other travelers before we landed. After picking up our bags, we headed straight to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where we noticed the waterline from Katrina was at least seven feet up the wall.
At St. Paul’s, Vivace joined the Centennial Children’s Chorus from Colorado and the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir from Virginia for a beautifully performed Pre-Festival concert before checking into the hotel and settling in for the night.
On Friday, our first full day in New Orleans, choristers gathered in small groups to explore the French Quarter. After lunch, we all met to tour the Presbytere (http://louisianastatemuseum.org/museums/the-presbytere/), where we absorbed a moving exhibit about Hurricane Katrina, 10 years after the storm devastated this city. It was stunning to see the images, heart breaking and heartening to hear the stories, and fascinating to learn about the science and politics behind this disaster.
After the Presbytere, we toured the Cabildo (http://louisianastatemuseum.org/museums/the-cabildo/) and learned about Louisiana State history. It was our great luck that the museum had a special exhibit about the history of Rock and Roll in Louisiana. And it was our even greater luck to enjoy a real New Orleans jazz experience with performers sharing their music in Jackson Square as we left the Cabildo.
Friday wrapped up with dinner and the first mass choir rehearsal.
Saturday started with a mass choir rehearsal, followed by lunch at the Hard Rock Café. In the free time after lunch, some took a trolley to visit historical New Orleans cemeteries and some further explored the French Quarter. Everyone got caught to some extent in a giant downpour the likes of which Seattle could not have prepared us to fathom. Some offered impromptu concerts while waiting out the rain.
Our hot and tired girls got to sit and cool off at the Louisiana School of Cooking for dinner, where we learned how to make crab bisque, etouffee, pralines, and bananas foster with the Mississippi Boys Choir.
We took in the views of the great Mississippi River on the way back to the hotel. We are all looking forward to more music and more adventures in New Orleans!