National Geographic : 1950 Jul
You Can't Miss America by Bus San Antonio's Sight-seeing Buses Always Remember to Stop at the Alamo Here in 1836 James Bowie, David Crockett, William Barret Travis, and 184 others stood siege by Santa Anna and his army of 4,000 Mexicans. When the fort's walls were breached, the Texans fought hand to hand, muzzle to muzzle. Rather than surrender, they died to the last man; but they accounted for 600 to 800 of their enemies. Forty-six days later, "Remember the Alamo!" became the battle cry at San Jacinto, where Texas won its independence. We rode past shrimp and oyster canning plants, trawlers, and luggers. Almost inci dentally I caught glimpses of grand old man sions under enormous oaks gracefully draped with Spanish moss. One imposing red-brick home, older than a century, still retains its former slave quarters. Another old mansion is Beauvoir, last residence of Jefferson Davis, who wrote here The Rise and Fall of the Con federate Government. It seemed that most of Biloxi had put off fishing trips to get on the same bus to New Orleans. For the three-hour journey I sat on my portable typewriter in the aisle. The mod ern coach followed the Old Spanish Trail around the Gulf coast (page 4). Old France in New Orleans New Orleans is a snare without delusion, a city beyond description. For several days I forgot about that part of it outside the Vieux Carre, or French Quarter. This section cradled New Orleans and trapped me. Its narrow streets overhung with balconies, its lacy ironwork and gas lamps, art shops, antique stores, and book stalls, Cathedral and cafes, smells, bells, colors, and even the human attitude-all reminded me of M\arseille, sometimes of Paris. I sat in a cafe, once a blacksmith shop where Pierre and Jean Lafitte are said to have forged the trade as a blind for their piratical activi ties. One of the proprietors talked with me. He had attended Annapolis and cruised the world. Tired of spending money in restau rants, cafes, or bars, he decided to have a place of his own. But he never lost his love of foreign atmos phere; hence he settled where he did. "If you ever want to get away from the United States," he told me, "just come to New Orleans."