French Quarter a vacation dream for Michelle Obama


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama says she's been to New Orleans many times but never made it to the French Quarter, a place where she'd love to vacation.

In an interview aired on CBS' "Sunday Morning," Charlie Rose asked President Barack Obama and the first lady where they'd like to go on summer vacation.

"Michelle's been scouting out some places. When we went to India, for example, Michelle said, "Boy, I'd love to travel even more around here," Obama said.

Michelle Obama added, "I have to say though, there are still wonderful places here in the U.S. You know, we're trying to check those off. We saw Mount Rushmore. I took the girls. We've tried to go to every national park.

"But the truth is New Orleans, I've been there several times, but I've never been to the French Quarter. Because when we're there, we're usually working," Michelle Obama said. She said that means going in "some back way, freight elevator."

Rose interviewed the president and first lady the White House on Thursday.

When Rose asked if there was a Mardi Gras in her future, Michelle Obama said, "That's right. A jazz fest of some sort is out there. So there's still a lot of places here in the U.S., where we — we still haven't really experienced."

The city's biggest and best-known music festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, is at the Fair Grounds Race Course, about 10 minutes from the Quarter. It's held the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, and drew 450,000 people this year.

Earlier in April, the French Quarter Festival has all kinds of music on stages around the Vieux Carre. The Satchmo Summerfest brings concerts and lectures to the old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter in early August.

And the French Quarter is, in a sense, a national park. The Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve has headquarters and a visitor center in the Quarter and five other units scattered around south Louisiana. Two — the Chalmette Battlefield and the Barataria Preserve in Marrero — are in the New Orleans area. Farther afield are the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, 60 miles from New Orleans; the Acadian Cultural Center 125 miles away in Lafayette and the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, about 150 miles from New Orleans.

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