Day Two: Big Al and NOLA

Day Two With Big Al
by:  Katie McNab
Hello from Alexandria, Louisiana!
Yesterday we had a very fun and exciting day I’m our Ag Ed Club Trip, “Agriculture in the South”. After arriving late on Friday night we woke up Saturday morning to head about an hour out of New Orleans to a place called Airboat Tours by Arthur Mthrn. The 30 of us split up between two airboats, just like the ones you see on tv all the time! Over an hour and a half we cruised around the swamps checking out the plants, animals, and beautiful sights. This picture is one I just happened to snap off the side of the boat while we were talking about the trees.
swamp
I think the favorite part of the air boat tour for most of the students was “Big Al”, a 13 foot long alligator that we met about halfway through the adventure. The men that drive the boats and do the tours have been driving across their acreage for quite a number of years. At some point, they found Big Al and in the words of our guide, “we kept coming out here and after a while this gator realize we wasn’t gonna hurt him, so we kept gettin’ closer” (image that in a very southern accent!). Our tour guide actually stepped off the boat on to the little piece of land that the gator was on and tapped him on the nose a couple of times. Big Al just wiggled about three feet away and then stayed there. Our guide explained to us that the gators are just coming out of their hibernation like period of burying themselves in the mud, so they move a little slower than usual. He also mentioned that there was no way he would have gotten that close if it was mating season!
After the tour, we went back to New Orleans and split into smaller groups to head to lunch. 8 of us students headed down to Bourbon Street to find our first authentic southern food. A friend and I split the fried seafood platter that consisted of deep fried catfish, deep fried oysters, deep fried shrimp, deep fried hush puppies, slaw, and sweet tea. It was absolutely delicious! But, needless to say, I think I filled my “deep fried quota” quite well for a while! Today’s meals consisted of a little less grease!

Yesterday afternoon was our time to explore New Orleans in small groups. My group walked to the French Quarter, a famous area of New Orleans near the Mississippi that is filled with lots of little vendor stands. Many of the people there were selling homemade goods. We also walked abut farther to see our great Mississippi.

This trip has been absolutely wonderful so far. It has been great getting to know my fellow Ag Ed Club members better and to explore the culture and the agriculture of “the pelican state”.
Stay tuned for more updates from other students!
Brought to you from 70 degree weather by Katie McNab, a sophomore in Agricultural Education-Leadership and  Communications.

New Orleans

Traveling to New Orleans was an experience within it self. The warm weather had made the trip all that more enjoyable since the weather in Minnesota was full of snow.  The day started out great with an air boat tour that took me through a roller coaster of fun. Seeing an alligator in person, flying through the water and experiencing some of Louisiana’s environment was something I will never forget. Big Al, the alligator, took me by surprise and allowed me to see one for the first time in person. I was thankful that I was able to experience this and take some great pictures.
After the tour was over we headed to downtown New Orleans. We walked down the noteworthy,Bourbon Street, and experienced a whirl wind of events. We ate at a wonderful restaurant and ate crawfish gumbo and jambalya. Our waitress put on the southern charm and the experience of the south was great. After eating we headed to the water front and the French Market. The water isn’t as clear as it is in Minnesota but it was really fun to see the cruise boats and bridges that were near the water front. The French Market was by far my favorite. Shopping? What more could you ask for? I found some great deals on gifts to bring home to my family and friends.
New Orleans has proved to be a great experience so far and I am so excited to see what the rest of the trip has in store.
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