On the first day of summer vacation we took off on our southern tour!  Back in December when I was planning the trip, the cheap flights at 5 am seemed like a good idea.  However, getting up at 2:00 am didn't seem like the best way to start our Family 50 trip.
But the kids were all excited and ready to go.  Unfortunately on our second flight, the tummy bug made it's debut with Karlie and she got very sick on the plane.  But we managed to contain everything in the snack bag and keep calm and carry on.  She is a tough chick.
 Our trip got off to a rough start.  I had booked our big SUV in October and confirmed it a few days before we left.  However, before we boarded our flight from Houston to New Orleans, Hertz sent me a confirmation to pick up a 5 person SUV.  After more than 30 minutes on the phone and being transferred to all departments, mama got mean.  I had to eat some poor Hertz guy for lunch.  I told him my flight was taking off and I would be on the ground in 1 hour and I had better have a full size SUV when I landed!  Sure enough, once we landed and I switched my phone off of airplane mode and I had a confirmation for a premium full size SUV.  Funny, when I was nice they didn't have ANY  6 person vehicles at any of their Hertz locations near New Orleans.  Nobody messes with my plan!
Once we got to New Orleans things started to look up.  We rolling in style and Karlie was feeling better.  We were all excited to walk the streets of the French Quarter!
 We were starving, so first up was a NOLA classic, the Muffuletta.  Unfortunately it was on the opposite end of our hotel and was almost 45 minutes of walking then another 30 minutes in line.
 They were delicious and worth the walk!
Max was in heaven at the Central Grocery where the Muffulettas are made.  Spices galore!
We had walked all over the French Quarter in search of lunch.  It wasn't quite what each of us were expecting.  It was like San Francisco meets Paris.  Some of the beauty of Paris but a lot of the dirty, smelly, and weirdness of San Francisco.   Jackson Square around the St. Louis Cathedral was beautiful with horse drawn carriages, artist stands, musicians, and tended gardens.  The Cathedral is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the US.  Unfortunately we couldn't go inside because a wedding was going on.
 Max and I did enjoy being able to carry a beer as we walked along the streets and window shopped.
 But all of our favorite part of NOLA was sitting along the banks of the Mississippi.  
The kids loved playing on the rocks and found these four rock recliners to kick back in.  I do a fact sheet for each of the sates as we travel, so while relaxing I told the kids some interesting facts about the Mississippi River.
The length of the Mississippi River is  approximately 2,320 miles (3,730 km), slightly shorter than the Missouri River.
The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers combine to form the longest river system in the USA and North America. It is also the fourth longest in the world.
At its widest point, the Mississippi River stretches out over 7 miles (11 km) in width.
I checked out Mark Twain books for Hailey and I to read on the plane.  But that was as much reading as we fit in.
 We were excited to take the ferry across the Mississippi, but disappointed that it was a normal ferry and not a steamboat like this. :)
 In stark contrast to the crowded, loud and smelly French Quarter, Algiers Point was quiet and unassuming.  It is the second oldest neighborhood in NOLA.  We grabbed a soda and headed back across the Mississippi to the Quarter to grab some dinner.
The kids were fascinated by the street performers.  Many gold and silver statue people and even some storm troopers.

We ate at Oceana's.

One of our favorite things to do on our Family 50 is try food from each state.  The kids are such good sports about trying one bite of something new.  We all tried alligator bites.  I can tell you it doesn't taste like chicken.  More rubbery like calamari.
 Max had the Louisiana special and everyone but me tried a bite of turtle soup.  It was at dinner where the tummy bug decided to have a second act with me.  I managed to keep it together until we reached the hotel.  The kids rarely see me sick, so everyone was a little worried.  Unlike Karlie that hardly made a peep as she was sick, I sounded like a sumo wrestler battling it out.  But the bug was fast and furious and jumped onto Max and Hailey next.  They spent the night huddled around the toilet having deep conversations and waiting for the bug to move to its next victim.
We stayed at the Le Pavillion Hotel in the French Quarter.  It was lovely and the staff very friendly.

It was the fanciest hotel the kids have ever stayed in.  They loved the crystal chandeliers.  Even the elevators were fancy.

 As their web site says: "In a world of steel-and-glass skyscrapers and cookie-cutter design, the age of grand hotels seems long gone. A rare exception: Le Pavillon Hotel. A place where guests can instantly conjure the days of genteel luxury, romantic evenings and glittering nights. We invite you to join us here at "the belle of New Orleans".
 Karlie wanted to send Nana a post card from the golden mailbox.
 The next morning before moving onto Mississippi, we had one last walk along Jackson's square to have the famous beignets (French doughnuts) and coffee at Cafe Du Monde.
It was the first time Hank has ever had a doughnut!  He was so happy!  Three cheers for eggless doughnuts!  The beignets are definitely worth all the hype.  I will be ordering their mix for sure.  After a rough day in NOLA, this was a sweet and happy ending in Louisiana.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Oh no! The stomach bug! Reminds me of our trip to Turks and Caicos. Did Hank and Kaitlin escape it? Loving the pics :)