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Spring Breaks in the South

Saturday, March 30, 2013 10:00 PM

J and I recently got to take a couple of breaks from the lingering winter in Maine and spent time in warmer climes. First we visited New Orleans, where a couple of friends of ours are living for a year while one of them has a temporary job placement there. As we planned our trip, more and more people signed on — mainly the same college friends I saw at Lake Tahoe last summer — until about a dozen of us converged on the city for food and drink, live music and a parade.

The Mardi Gras exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum
There are musicians pretty much everywhere in the French Quarter.
One of the many gorgeous mansions in the neighborhood where our friends live
We managed to get a private room at Antoine's Restaurant, where we ended the meal with the Devil's Coffee.
The Jazz Vipers playing on Frenchmen Street
Offerings to a voodoo priestess at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
The Keep 'N It Real parade (Check out the drummer boy!)
Dancers with the parade

Last Saturday, J and I flew down to Naples, Fla., to spend the first part of Passover with his family there. The holiday didn't start until Monday night, so we spent our Sunday visiting Everglades National Park. First we stopped at Calusa Days, where rangers demonstrated the tools and folkways of the Calusa people, who lived in the Everglades before the Spanish arrived. Then we went to the Shark Valley Loop, where we biked 15 miles to and from an observation tower and saw dozens of alligators, birds, turtles and fish along the way.

After Sunday, we spent most of our time in Naples at the hotel, eating and playing games with J's relatives. It was too cold — low 60s and extremely windy — for either the pool or the beach, but we did visit the zoo one afternoon as well.
J tries to start a friction fire at Calusa Days.
J throws an atlatl. I was better at this — I killed a wooden deer!
A little blue heron
The alligators were very placid while basking in the sun.
It was very, very, very windy.

The monkeys were cold, too.

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