After searching for about half an hour, we finally found some affordable $3 parking down on Canal street and then we made our way to the National Historic Landmark (The French Quarter district) after a few short blocks (1 km)...
We got downtown around lunchtime, and one of the few things on this entire trip that I was adamant about doing was eating authentic New Orleans food... so we found McDonalds!
Don't worry, we didn't eat there. ;) We ate here at the recommendation of some locals:
As usual, they seated the young family of four as far away from other customers as possible. ;)
We don't mind, we totally understand... while we were getting seated Selah knocked a plate off the table which resulted in a loud shattering, which of course makes everybody look.
About 10 minutes later, Simon broke another...
Anyways, Aaron really enjoyed the jazz music (he played the trumpet for many years):
and he snapped a pic of Selah being a sweetie. :)
I always wanted to try some authentic creole gumbo, so I ordered the Alligator Sausage and Fresh Seafood Gumbo:
This was my first time ever trying alligator, or gumbo in general...
I've gotta say, it was very yummy, but probably not something I'd order often.
Aaron ordered the Fish of The Day, which turned out to be a super yummy Lemonfish/Cobia dish:
The kids shared some exotic grilled cheese, fries and shrimp pasta:
Now that was some great food and atmosphere which I'd definitely recommend!
The restaurant was along the famous Bourbon Street. There are normal street signs in the French Quarter, but they also inlay the names of the streets into the sidewalk intersections...
There are street performers and jazz musicians peppered throughout the French Quarter...
And of course, what Bourbon Street is famous for, it's debauchery:
We turned off Bourbon street after a few blocks and came across the Dr. Seuss art shop (we're all huge Dr. Seuss fans!)
We pretty much just wandered around The French Quarter just taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells.
I love this tiny little police car! We also saw some mounted police while at lunch (which I did not get a picture of). Now that's the right way to police a place like this... not intimidating in any way and very environmentally friendly. :)
There appeared to be a lot of what I guess are apartments above the shops below. This would be the perfect place to live for a single 20 something.
All throughout the French Quarter were gas lamps like the one below... so cool! The ambiance was amazing! I just soaked it in!
I felt like I was back in Europe! Which I guess makes sense since this place has Euro roots.
We eventually found our way to Jackson Square:
Did you notice that this one was a UNICORN with wings and sparkle encrusted hooves!? She was such a good sport! :)
The kids got to participate in a magic show:
I'm not sure the kids knew what was going on exactly, but he was pretty good, as were the artists throughout the square:
Originally, before we even set off on our adventure, we were planning on driving straight to New Orleans and staying for a while. But then I Googled when Mardi Gras was this year... the same time we planned on being there, February 9th. For those who don't know, Mardi Gras parades and events go on for several weeks leading up to grand Mardi Gras parade on Fat Tuesday (the 9th), the day before Lent.
I'm not one for crowds. In fact, I loathe them. Aaron does not enjoy them either. So that's why we decided instead to head straight South through Alabama to Florida and wait out the Mardi Gras festivities. Ha! Little did we know, Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the Gulf Coast, including Pensacola (where we stayed for 2 weeks during this time). I was tempted to take the kids to the local family friendly parade in Pensacola, to experience the culture of it all... I really was. I was torn. Do I have them experience this cultural experience that ignites so much excitement and fun in so many people? But then I came to my senses and decided instead to have Selah make her own mask and not even mention the parade...
Anyway! We ended up visiting The Big Easy one week after Lent started. Ahhh, much better! All we have to deal with is the remnants of the crazy crowds...
By far, The Big Easy is now the coolest city I have EVER been to. I'm not kidding. How have I never been here before!? I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy it this much. To be fair, the magic did die off a little bit after walking around for 4 hours, since it had the typical musty grey water aroma, as well as the dirty streets, homeless and tweaked out people, and the annoying peddlers that you find in any big city... But it is still now my favorite!
And guess what I saw on our way home!?
That's right, another tiny house! :D <3 <3 <3
Thanks Louisiana for exceeding my expectations! I'm sorry I never visited sooner! Now we are Texas bound!
February 19, 2016