Lake Effect Fun

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Last weekend my little sister, Tallulah Bee, and I joined our humans for a beautiful walk along the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront. (Yes, I know that Tallulah is slightly out of focus in this photo. But I look really good and this blog is still all about me . . . so there.) Lake Pontchartrain isn’t really a lake. It’s an estuary, connected to the Gulf of Mexico through a series of outlets. It has brackish water–part fresh and part salt–because it is fed by several freshwater rivers. It even experiences slight tidal changes. Have I dazzled you with my knowledge? I’m just getting started.

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Lake Pontchartrain is a big lake–about 630 square miles–but it’s pretty shallow–only about 12 to 14 feet deep in most places. It’s crossed by a really, really, really long bridge called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which connects what’s known as the South Shore (where we live) to the New Orleans suburbs on the North Shore. The Causeway is 23.83 miles long, making it the longest continuous bridge over water. And speaking of water, the water in Lake Pontchartrain has faced its share of environmental challenges in the past, but thanks to the efforts of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation the water quality is improving and swimming is allowed in some locations. Tallulah seemed pretty interested in that swimming option, but my humans managed to hold her back. Good thing, because it was windy and chilly and I would not have been happy about jumping in to retrieve her.

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One of the prettiest spots along the lakefront is the Mardi Gras Fountain. Dedicated in 1962, the fountain is surrounded by ceramic tile plaques depicting the crests of New Orleans carnival krewes, the groups that parade during our Mardi Gras season. The fountain was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005; but, with the help of $1.3 million from FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, it was refurbished in 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working the day we were there (I have no idea why), but you can click here to watch a beautiful video of the Mardi Gras Fountain in all its splendor.

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Even if the fountain had been working, I’m not so sure that I could have completely enjoyed it because of a certain little irritating distraction.

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Could someone please do something about that pesky stick-shredding puppy so we can continue with our lakefront tour? Thank you.

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Our last stop along the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront offered a lovely view of two buildings that have risen from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The building with the red roof is the New Canal Lighthouse, Louisiana’s only working lighthouse. Dating back to 1838, it was rebuilt by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and now houses a museum and education center that covers the history of the lighthouse, the ecology of the Pontchartrain Basin, and information about the coastal issues that face South Louisiana.

The building behind Tallulah’s head is the rebuilt Southern Yacht Club. The Southern Yacht Club traces its history back to 1849, making it the second oldest yacht club in the United States (second to the New York Yacht Club). Its third clubhouse, built in 1949, had modest wind and water damage caused by Hurricane Katrina; but it was destroyed by a fire that burned unchecked in the hours after the storm. The new clubhouse opened in 2009. I have a feeling it’s probably not pet-friendly.

Tallulah and I took one last look at Lake Pontchartrain before calling it a day. We’re happy to have added the lakefront to our list of fun new walking spots, and we cannot wait to visit again.

A Sunny Sunday in City Park

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This past Sunday, we had our first hint of autumn. It was a gloriously cool and crystal clear day. So my sister and I decided to take our humans for a walk in New Orleans’ City Park. (I know what you’re thinking: “We can see your human daddy’s hand holding your leashes. You’re not walking your humans. Your humans are walking you.” Tallulah and I just let the humans think they’re in charge. But back to our City Park visit.) We started our adventure in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Being the fine art lovers that we are, Tallulah and I wanted to go inside the museum, but we were there just before the opening so we enjoyed the beautiful exterior.

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Our favorite part of the museum’s exterior was this fun alcove with the most fascinating gates we’ve ever seen and a beautiful modern art sculpture. Tallulah clearly loved the sculpture.

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 According to Walking New Orleans by Barri Bronston, City Park “boasts the oldest grove of mature live oaks in the world, and some–like the McDonogh and Anseman Oaks–are approximately 600-800 years old.” Naturally, Tallulah and I had to take a break on one of the park’s benches to gaze at those beautiful oaks. Tallulah also enjoyed the Spanish moss that hangs from the beautiful oaks, but that’s another story for another day.

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We visited the Goldring/Waldenberg Great Lawn (I had to tell Tallulah that racing across the beautiful lawn and having a dig fest would be a very bad idea) . . .

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. . . and then headed over to City Putt. Tallulah and I looked this way and that for the giants that play putt putt with these huge golf balls, but we couldn’t see them anywhere. What a relief!

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We plopped ourselves down in front of Storyland  and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and waited for the gates to open. But our humans grew restless and insisted that we find someplace for them to have a little bite to eat.

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And that’s how we ended up in front of Morning Call. Our humans refused to share their beignets and cafe au lait with us. That’s alright. Tallulah and I managed to bump their hands enough that they got powdered sugar all over their clothes. That’s what you get for not sharing, humans.

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As we finished our trip to City Park with a walk around Big Lake, Mommy took a moment to snap a few special pictures of us. She loved the way my coat blew in the cool morning breeze.

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And this shot of Tallulah reminded Mommy of my sister’s Florida roots (her canine mother and grandmother are Lakewood Golden Retrievers from Melbourne, Florida).

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Before leaving City Park, Tallulah and I took one last look at the Peristyle, a Grecian-style open-air pavilion that was built in 1907. Even though we’d enjoyed a full morning exploring our lovely urban oasis, we’d only touched the tip of the park’s 1,300 beautiful acres. We promised our humans that we would bring them back to City Park, but we were all a bit tired . . .

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. . . and it was time for a nice, long nap.