Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Orleans in 36 hours.

We had only 36 hours. 

And 2 kids. 

We'd never done New Orleans with kids. 

Or together for that matter. 

New Orleans is a bit like Vegas in that way - everyone has their own way of doing it and their own favorite haunts. 

This time, however, was New Orleans Family style. 

We started with the infamous Café du Monde. For those of you, like my hubs, who never strayed far enough from Pat O'Briens to visit this venerable New Orleans institution, it is, in it's simplest terms, a coffee shop on Decatur Street. My family was amazed they only served their coffee two ways -- black or au lait -- and had only one other item on the menu -- beignets.  After sampling the beignets, however, everyone understood the simple beauty of Café du Monde. Yum. 

It being only 9:30 am when we completed our pilgrimage to Café du Monde, we decided it was a safe hour to peruse a bit of the French Quarter with the kids. We walked around Jackson Square and admired the amazing street artists. We ventured a bit further into the Quarter and found a store with great carnival masks. Little Miss Thang was immediately taken by the aqua feathered number. Mais bien sûr.  

We even happened upon Zoltar the fortune teller. My kids have never seen the movie Big, but the hubs and I giggled and handed each of them a dollar. Zoltar did not make either of them "big", but he did dispense valuable philosophical advice which went completely over their heads.

Later we ducked into the Audubon Nature Institute to cool off and watch Deep Sea IMAX 3D. It was narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet and was absolutely amazing. It featured some of the strangest and most exotic creatures on the planet and explained their symbiotic relationships and the delicate balance required to maintain their environment. It left me utterly in awe of God's creation!

And speaking of exotic creatures, we had only one thing on the mind for lunch: oysters. And we don't mess around when it comes to oysters. On the half shell and served with a Bloody Mary. It's the only way to go. And while Acme, is the name most {tourists} know when talking oysters in New Orleans, I had it on good authority {my brother} that Felix's Oyster Bar is the way to go. I'm not certain how the kids felt about their chicken strips, but the oysters were fantastic!

We rewarded the kids' putting up with our oysters jaunt {I do actually know how the kids' felt about their chicken strips and it wasn't favorable} with a post-lunch Pinkberry treat. I loved my chocolate with rasberries and blueberries. The kids toppings may not have been quite as healthy, but don't tell them it wasn't ice cream.

As we walked around New Orleans throughout the day we were initially surprised by, and later completely desensitized to, the sight of grown men wearing red dresses. And not just one or two men. Entire groups of men. And women too, to be fair, but that is hardly a shocking sight. Apparently Saturday morning was the annual Red Dress Run, a charitable event.

That, of course, explains the morning sightings. The fact that we continued to see men in red dresses walking home from dinner is well . . . just part of what makes New Orleans, New Orleans!

Kids or not, New Orleans is a city unlike any other. And besides the obvious -- actually enjoying the company of my children -- the plus side to having kids with me meant I awoke on Sunday without even the slightest twinge of a headache {or was the obvious part?!}.

And, honestly, I had just as much fun!

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