Wikipedia aerial view of New Orleans showing the CCC Bridge. The French Quarter is to the right of the CBD buildings.
Our arrival in New Orleans was a little unusual in that we crossed the Mississippi River by the ferry between the suburbs of Algiers and Chalmette, rather than the more obvious route via US-90's CCC (Crescent City Connection) two gigantic twin steel cantilever construction bridges. This routing cost us a whole $1 extra in tolls (since the toll on the bridges was removed about a year ago) but allowed us to visit Chalmette on the way in.
The Chalmette-Algiers ferry is doughnut shaped, and vehicles can drive right around its deck, so unloading and loading can take place simultaneously.
Here, we visited the battlefield and memorial for the Battle of New Orleans (1815) between the British and the Americans, well after the War of Independence. The War of 1812 (et al) was declared by the Americans to counter persistent British meddling to hinder US westward expansion after the Louisiana Purchase. We're of the age to remember that 1959 hit song The Battle of New Orleans and now we have seen the field where it took place. We've seen some of "the briars and the brambles" that the British had to retreat through! The statistics of the battle are amazing (only 20 American casualties compared to 2000 for the British), but looking at the battlefield and how well the US was dug in and defended, it's possible to understand how it happened. As is usual, the preservation of the battlefield and the establishment of the visitors centre by the US National Park Service, is just fantastic!
The Chalmette memorial includes a plot dedicated as war cemetery. It contains mostly Civil War soldiers, very few War of 1814 soldiers, and none of the 2000 British casualties.
When we were finished exploring Charmette and a nearby Bayou, our Garmin navigator led us to our downtown New Orleans hotel through some of the areas which suffered most during Hurricane Katrina. They still look pretty bad - poor, damaged and distressed. We have no idea what is being done, if anything, to assist people with affected property in these poor areas. It's amazing to contemplate that much of New Orleans is actually below sea level due to progressive subsidence of the delta flatlands, "soft sand, silt and clay", so that when the levee system failed, 80% of the city flooded. The average altitude of the city is half a metre below sea level! Unurprisingly, there is debate over whether human intervention in the form of engineered levees (to supplement natural levees) is accelerating subsidence. Whatever, New Orleans appears doomed to more disasters as subsidence progresses and global warming increases. Half of the city's population moved out after Katrina, but it appears that many are moving back.
Our final approach to downtown was right through the French Quarter, and we could see what a delightful area it is. We looked forward to exploring it. Parts of many roads are closed for various maintenance, restoration and improvement projects, so our poor old Garmin got confused, but we got to see a lot of the French Quarter in finding our way. We checked into our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, and then it was time to return our RAV4 to Hertz, its owner, and become full-time pedestrians again.