Monday, August 10, 2015

NOLA - Check!

W eating smoked oysters
At the beginning of every August, when camps end, the weather is god awful hot and the kids are bored with their friends….this mama is READY for school to begin!  Thankfully
Homewood schools go back early, August 12th.  We planned one last hoorah to New Orleans the weekend before school went back to just offer something fun and different for the kids.  In addition, Kris lives there with her family, so we had fun visiting with them. 

Friday, after a back to school breakfast at the school, we packed up and drove down to NOLA.  The kids all traveled well and we arrived mid afternoon.  After getting checked into our hotel, we took the children to the rooftop pool to burn some energy.  Kris, Paul and their girls met us there.  After an hour of swimming, we headed back to our room to change into clothes before heading out for dinner at Drago’s.  Steve adores their smoked oysters, and I wanted some fresh seafood.  It was a little chaotic with six children under the age of 8, but we survived.  Afterward, we headed back to the room to hit the hay early since we had a busy Saturday planned.

They hope to see some alligators!

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early to shower and grab breakfast before heading out on our swamp tour.  The tour was located about 30 minutes away on a popular swamp.  We had a large pontoon boat with a cover, which provided a little shade and plenty of good vision for the alligators.  It was very beautiful out there with all of the trees and wildlife; however I could never live there as some folks do.  During our two hour tour we saw about 8 alligators, some of which we fed so we could see up close.  The kids (and us) had a ball!
come here lil alligator....
"Do you have a snack for me?"
"Yum, a hotdog!"
not the same 'Sugar Shak" that we are used to...

After the swamp tour, we drove back to NOLA to grab lunch.  We met Kris’s parents there so I could say hello and then we went to walk through the new house that she and Paul are building.   Before we headed to Mardi Gras World, I wanted to take the kids to a cemetery.  I think they are so beautiful and unique in NOLA, and I wanted them to see it for themselves.  Having never been to a cemetery at all, they had a lot of questions, but they were not scared.


Since it was blazing hot, we decided we needed a cool treat!  So we were off to Hansen's for some of their historic sno-balls!  We each got one, and sampled each other's.  This place has been around since 1939, and is still in its original location....one that is VERY small without air conditioning.  The lines are always long for the shaved ice and flavored syrups, and now I know why.

Girls all dressed up!
After our delicious dessert, we went to the Mardi Gras World to learn more about the history of Mardi Gras, with balls, floats and the specific parades.  Though I think the kids liked sampling the king cake and seeing some of the new floats for Mardi Gras 2016, I don't think they got as much out of it as we did.  The 20 minute video that played at the beginning was very informative.

Walker was petrified of tiger

 
Jackson Square
That night we ate dinner with the Viguerie's at their yacht club, and then we headed back to our hotel.  Like Saturday, we had another full day planned with beignets at Café Du Monde, walking around the French Quarter, visiting the New Orleans Aquarium and finally.... riding the famous street cars.


23 years of friendship with this girl!

beignets were a hit!
 
Walker's 1st visit to an aquarium, which he LOVED!
They loved the street car!
 
Thank goodness this man came with us!!

As you can see, we really packed it all in during our quick weekend in NOLA!  The kids had a ball, and I'm thrilled we could really concentrate on them seeing and learning about the city, and what makes it so unique.  The theme of the trip was "Everything New Orleans."  Of course, it was wonderful visiting with Kris and her family, and they were terrific hosts...helping me put it all together and doing much of it with us.  Maybe next time we will time our visit around Mardi Gras so they can experience NOLA in a whole new way!

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