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On day three in what I like to think of as heaven on earth, we woke up to a stunning sort of day with much less humidity and truckloads of sunshine and blue sky.  After breakfast we got right to it – we headed downtown and took in Riverwalk, with all of its shops and distractions.  It felt great to make vitamin D and enjoy the soft breezes.   There was an added treat of hearing the sounds of the steam calliope from the top of the steamboat Natchez echoing throughout the park.

After some lunch and lots more walking, we hopped on the St. Charles trolley for a 2 hour ride through the city.  For a buck and a quarter we got to see downtown and the beautiful houses in the Garden District, including this cozy little place that I spotted for rent at 3539 St. Charles!  Those of you who know me best know that I keep threatening to just stay here one of these times…

Once the trolley ride had circled us back around, we went back to the Quarter and happened upon a block party on Chartres St.  Rebirth Brass Band was playing in the street, churning out some very funky jazz grooves.  We listened for a while and then we went into Laura’s Candies to do some shopping for people back home (Tina and Janet, your sweets are on their way!) and then did some more wandering around the Quarter.  We had dinner at a great little open air place called Gumbo Shop on St. Peter.  I finally found some vegetarian beans and rice (it’s nearly impossible to find beans and rice in this city without andouille) while Shawn enjoyed a catifsh salad.  After dinner we headed back up to the block party to hear a very cool reggae band called The Revealers.  We even danced!  Yes, in front of other people!  The vibes were infectious.

As it started getting darker, we did a bit more wandering and then, by car, explored a corner of the city known as Treme (yes, as in the HBO show).  There’s lots of residential houses here, and also the beautiful Louis Armstrong Park and the famous St. Louis Cemeteries.  It was getting pretty dark – too dark to explore Treme – and since we’d packed so much into so short a time, we were getting pretty sleepy.  We decided to have an even earlier night, curled up in our room for some nice quiet and down time.

This morning, as I look out our third floor window, it’s looking like we are in for another stunner of a day today.  Jazz Fest begins today, but I don’t think we’ll be there today.  Our plans are to take in Jazz Fest tomorrow and Sunday (more acts that we want to see on those days) and today will be yet another day of exploring the Quarter and some other pockets of the city.   So, time for breakfast and for another fantastic day down in The Big Easy!

Oh, and yet another great thing about this city?  WWOZ 90.7 FM.  We’ve had the rental car radio trained on this frequency ever since we discovered it and haven’t heard a single note that’s made us want to move the dial.  The best radio station I’ve ever had the pleasure of tuning into.  Seriously.  Go check ’em out online!