Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Trip to New Orleans

On Wednesday we returned from our first real family vacation in New Orleans.  We stayed 4 nights. Here are some random thoughts about it. 

Loved our hotel location, we stayed at a Country Inn & Suites on the edge of the French Quarter.  I also loved that the hotel had a free breakfast buffet, we wandered downstairs every morning around 6:30 and everything was ready.  We were definitely spoiled by that. The only thing I didn't like was the hotel pillows, they were only about two-thirds the size of a standard pillow and too soft, so your head wasn't supported.  Husband Jeff's only complaint about the hotel was the coffee, it wasn't good at all. 

On Monday morning my standard weekday morning 5:45 a.m. wake-up alarm on my phone went off because I forgot to turn it off. Disappointing. 

Sonny D was great on the airplane, patient and ok with all of the rules.  We had a portable DVD player and he watched movies on that and played on the iPad. 

It's hard to convince a 3.5 year old to go to the bathroom before we leave the hotel or restaurant to walk around the city.  On one occasion we asked him to go potty but he wouldn't do it, then 20 minutes later as we're walking around he says he has to go potty.  Uggg.  That's stressful since you have no idea if that means he'll be ok until you find a decent bathroom or if he needs to go NOW.

Around Town
Husband Jeff and I loved the architecture, the ironworks, the balconies, the shotgun houses, gas lamps, and old buildings.  

I was really glad we got unlimited passes for bus/streetcars. Nice to hop on and off and not worry about having the right money. Plus it was a much better deal, a single ride is $1.25 and the unlimited pass is $3 per day.  So if you want to ride more than two times in a day, the pass is a better deal. We ended up riding the streetcars all over the place, sometimes just for entertainment. I was surprised how many locals rode the streetcars (figured it was only tourists on there) and so many of them used cash rather than having a pass. 

I use Google Maps to create maps of things to see and restaurants to eat at, but I think I'll switch back to Bing for travel maps.  Google Maps doesn't easily produce a helpful printed map, everything looks the same with no distinction between them.  And the "My Saved Places" is not an option in the Google Maps app for the iPhone, so I had to use mobile website version, which occasionally had trouble loading.

It was really hot and humid.  It was common to see men with sweat rags while out walking around the city. We borrowed a washcloth from the hotel to use as a sweat rag and bought folding fans at the flea market to cool ourselves.

I've decided that we need to get a small backpack to carry all the random things we want while out wandering around - maps, camera, phone, snacks, bottle of water, fans, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and a sweater for going in the air-conditioned buildings.

We all loved the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, it was pretty spendy ($23 for adults) but it was so cool! We even had an opportunity to pet some stingrays, Sonny D and I were too scared but Jeff did it.

We got to do everything we wanted for activities, things to do, things to see, and even things to eat. Husband Jeff loved the open container laws, you can walk around with an alcoholic beverage in your hand, so he did that most evenings after dinner.

Before any trip I head to Target and buy things like beef jerky, goldfish crackers, granola bars, etc. to snack on for our journey because I don't like having to figure out things like that while we're on the road.  Plus I'm cheap, I hate being forced to pay exorbitant prices for a piddly amount of junky food like candy bars because you have no other options.  This time I packed too many snacks. I should have known better because this is a city that is focused on eating so we were rarely hungry between meals.  But it was nice to have healthier things to eat to get us to the next meal, kid snack times, etc. And definitely helpful for the plane ride down because the drinks service was delayed due to slightly turbulent weather.  

We had to stop at Cafe Du Monde for cafe au laits and beignets.  Sonny D requested (and got) his own decaf coffee and drank most of it.  He also ate his completely powdered-sugar-covered beignet without making a mess. 

One day we went to Central Grocery for lunch, the home of the muffaletta sandwich.  I'm glad we did it.  The sandwich is huge, we each ate only one quarter of it. 

We also had po-boy sandwiches, crawfish etouffee, local redfish, snowballs (like a snow cone but much better), barbeque shrimp (no BBQ sauce or grilling involved, and the heads are still attached), gumbo, and many other things. 

Mosquitoes. One evening I was sitting by the pool while Sonny D and Husband Jeff splashed around and I was completely bitten up by mosquitoes.  We also tried eating outside in a neighborhood but I was getting so bit up that we had to move inside. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!