Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Orleans

By now, you probably think all we do is travel. Apparently, this year it's true. Until the trip to California in January, I'm not really sure when the last time we took a vacation was. Our trip to New Orleans was not a trip unto itself, but merely an ending to our North Carolina trip. We planned to stop in NO on our way home, as it was only about 60 miles out of our way. (Okay, technically 120 miles if you count both ways, but who's counting, right?) Years ago, my mom was a traveling nurse, and we spent about 3 months living in New Orleans at the end of my 4th grade year. I remembered parts of the French Quarter, the Riverwalk Mall, Charity Hospital (where my mom used to work), the Audubon Zoo, and most importantly, the taste of beignets. Oh, how I love beignets! So I was anxious to see what it looked like all these years later, and especially after Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane and subsequent flooding really did a number on the city, but the people have done a great job of restoring it to its former glory so far, although I'm sure it will take many more years.

The first set of pictures is our hotel, The Place De'Armes. They took a building in the middle of the French Quarter that was at least 100 years old and transformed it into a hotel. Once you walked through the lobby and a short walkway it opened onto a lovely courtyard. Our room was on the second floor overlooking the courtyard. It was simply beautiful. The best hotel I have ever stayed at and I would recommend it to anybody. I would really love to take a romantic weekend there. Anybody willing to watch four adorable children? Anybody? Anybody?

The next slideshow is of the French Quarter. I love the architecture of this place. Probably one of the reasons I know I would love Paris! We walked from our hotel along the boardwalk, through the Riverwalk Mall(where we enjoyed a snack of beignets!!!), and all the way down to the Mardi Gras Museum. We didn't think it was as far as it really was, and we ended up walking probably 4 or 5 miles. The museum was closed. :( Luckily, we were able to see some of the floats in the entrance, and the people were nice enough to give us a ride in their bus back up to the street car stop. The children were THRILLED with the street car ride even though we only went 2 stops. We were planning on eating at the House of Blues, but it was closed too. :( That one I didn't understand. So we ended up walking again. We finally made it to the Hard Rock Cafe and decided to stop there. It was okay, but we've eaten at those several times, and would have liked to eaten somewhere more...native, I guess. Non-franchised. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all exhausted and just fell right to sleep. The next morning, though our hotel had pastries, we walked down to Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Did you know that they only sell beignets? No other food. So, back up the street to a cute little cafe (can't remember the name to save my life right now) where I simultaneously had the most delicious breakfast sandwich and the most expensive breakfast ever. Seriously, we're talking $80 here. And the kids split plates. Umm hmmm. Happily, I've recreated that sandwich many times since then, so I suppose it was worth it. We walked through more of the Quarter, bought a dozen beignets for the road, and checked out of our hotel.

The last set of photos is of the Garden District. We drove down St. Charles place and back up again, snapping photos of just about every gorgeous house we could see, much to the chagrin of the people behind us. Some old guy even honked at us! LOL Oh well, we had a great time there. It was a great end to our summer vacation!

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