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Friday, June 22, 2012

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore! {New Orleans Trip Report}

We've been away for our summer vacation.  It's a two in one this year.
This week has been the annual nation meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has been held in New Orleans this year.  In the past, Ray and I have always attended by ourselves, but now that the kids are older we're using it for an opportunity to travel together to some different cities.

Today I'm sharing a few sights around town, as well as some suggestions of places to visit.  We tried to make budget and kid-friendly entertainment choices, as well as experiencing some of the rich history that New Orleans has to offer.  

Riverwalk-There is a giant mall that runs beside the river that provides a nice break from the elements outside.  In addition, there is a trail that runs alongside the river for quite a ways that is a great spot for strolling, recreation, restaurants, snack stands, or just pausing to watch the boats coming and going.  Periodically a cruise ship will also float by.

Steamboat Dinner Cruise-What a fun evening!  I believe this might be a pricey excursion if you're on your own, but some of our fabulous Oklahoma Baptist entities subsidized most of the cost for our large group.  If you can do it, it's a great opportunity to see the city from a different perspective, with a delicious buffet dinner thrown in to boot!  Thanks to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Baptist University, and the Baptist Foundation for such a lovely evening and fun with so many friends!

How's that for some chippy paint?  Took this one just for you guys, my bloggy friends!

 My brother-in-law and nephew were also along for the ride.
The kids loved having Graeson around!

French Quarter-The French Quarter has quite a reputation, but can be (mostly) family friendly if you navigate it carefully.  We stayed closer to the Jackson Square side, which is surrounded with shops of all kinds, restaurants, and live entertainment everywhere you look... some cool, some really strange.

However, especially with kids, I would recommend staying away from Bourbon Street and surrounding streets. No sugar's just nasty, stinky and gross.  There's plenty more of the French Quarter to enjoy without going there.

Cafe du Monde-French Beignets (or fancy doughnuts as the kids called them!) covered with more powdered sugar than you can believe!  Perfect spot for a little snack, coffee, and conversation.  A must do!

Preservation Hall-I've been to New Orleans twice before, but this is the first time we've done Preservation Hall.  It's a tiny little room with wooden benches and floor cushions to sit on, but then the musicians come in and you hear about 45 minutes of fantastic jazz up close and personal.  So awesome, the kids loved it too, and worth every penny.

Hansen's Sno Bliz-This place has been here forever, and there's nothing fancy about it.  It's a slow process, but you've never had a sno-cone like this one!  Choose from a zillion flavors, add ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, candy bar toppings...whatever makes your mouth happy!

St. Charles Street Car-Ride for miles through the city along this historic street 
full of stately old homes.  

Audubon Park-Walking and biking trails, fountains, ponds, golf, and a zoo.

Magazine Street-6 miles of quaint restaurants and shops.

Lunch at Regenelli's-we were starving after a morning full of walking!

And, the best souvenirs ever...Penny Presses!

 Have you been to New Orleans?  What are your favorite haunts?  Next time I'll show you some of the charming homes that I admired.  Have a great weekend, we've moved on to part two of our vacation-more on that next week!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow, what an awesome trip! I have been trying to convince my husband to take a trip down there, to no avail, probably because he know that the only reason I really would like to go is to eat some yummy beignets from cafe du monde...ha..ha! The pizza also looked just as good. Hope you guys are having a blast, kids sure do look entertained.

  2. So glad you're having a great time! I know it must be extremely hot and muggy though. That's what the bayou does for you. :-) I've been to Nola many times and it's changed dramatically, IMHO, since Katrina. The Bourbon Street area is horrid and very scary to me now. You were right in staying on the other side of the French Quarter.

    To me, there's no food as good as Cajun style! I love it, love it. The beignets and chicory coffee are to die for too. There's really so much history there and many areas that are extremely interesting.

    Looks like the next stop is the beach ~ yay! Enjoy every moment.

  3. I felt like I was on vacation with you with all those great pics. So much fun! I went there YEARS ago as a child (I was about 7 or 8) and I remember the French Quarters...that and my sister getting really sick after eating WAAAAY too much shrimp. Not pretty.

    Hope you all had as great a time as it looked. The pic of your husband doing the "surfer" hand sign at the snow-cone shop made me laugh. :)

    Enjoy part two!

  4. Sounds wonderful, Jennifer! Thanks for all the recommendations, this is a city I'd love to go to someday. Hope your second week of vacation is just as fun as the first!

  5. I LOVE New Orleans. We live in North La. so it is not hard for us to get down there a good bit. We try to do something different each time. I am going this Friday, and my sisters and I are going to the theaters at Canal Place. We've never done the steamboat dinner cruise though! And you are so right about Bourbon Street. My hubby and I stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel on the corner of Bourbon and Canal last time we were there for a convention and someone got shot right below our window!

  6. New Orleans is a place I would love to visit some day - so much to see and do and overflowing with culture. Looks like you had a fabulous time.

  7. Looks like you're all having a wonderful time, I've never been so I loved your recap. The 'fancy donuts' would be high on my list of to-dos! :)


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